Best-known local outlaw of the 18th century was Seamus MacMurphy of Creggan Parish in South Armagh. His ancestors were the earliest chieftains of The Fews on record.
Originally settled near Caledon they were pushed into The Fews towards the end of the 13th century by the O’Neills. As the O’Neills flourished in Tyrone a branch pushed into The Fews and the MacMurphys became supplanted in that area too.
Seamus was born at Carnally in 1720. He was a very handsome man and a fine poet, present at the famous bardic meeting at Slieve Gullion in 1744. Over-indulgence in alcohol and promiscuity were his vices and were to be his downfall. He was particularly fond of Paddy Daker’s shebeen in Fathom, Paddy of the Mountain as he was known. As you know, Upper Fathom is possibly the most beautiful spot around here with its panorama of mountains, lakes and sea but with all its small roads today, it is still not that easily accessed in winter. Then it had just a pathway where a sentry watched for any sign of soldiers’ approach; a perfect hideout. And then there was Mollie, Paddy’s beautiful daughter, and MacMurphy’s love interest.
Art Fearon, one of Seamus’ lieutenants also had eyes for her. He ingratiated himself into her good books by regaling her with tales of MacMurphy’s infidelities. Paddy of the Mountain had eyes on the