Book Reviews, — April 26, 2010 9:13 — 0 Comments

Michael J Murphy’s first works

Michael Murphy senior was a socialist Republican and a friend of Jim Larkin and James Connolly. When his son was nine years old the family moved from Liverpool (where the father had worked as a seaman) to Dromintee. 

Both Michael J’s parents were ‘hired’ out of the hiring fair’ in NorthSt/Market Street and the harsh regime they suffered confirmed the young boy in his own socialist Republicanism. 


The great influences on the developing writer were his storytelling family, his environment in the shadow of Slieve Gullion and the wealth of creative language he met in the local homesteads and roads.


In the early 1930s in his twenties Michael J began to submit articles and short stories to newspapers and popular periodicals. These dealt with country life – the harvest, spring sowing and local customs and folklore. 


Many of these are collected in his works ‘At Slieve Gullion’s Foot’ (1941) ‘Mountain Year’ (1964) and ‘Ulster Folk of Field and Fireside’ (1983). Periodicals he contributed to included Hibernia, The Bell, the ‘Irish Bookman’, The Dublin Magazine, Envoy, Harper’s Weekly and the Father Matthew Record. It was with money that he won from a short story competition in the latter that he bought his first typewriter and his oeuvre quickly expanded.


… more later …

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