Michael Murphy Remembered

A recent item, “Travelling Woman” and the mention of Michael J. Murphy has prompted me to reminisce.

As far back as I can remember, Michael’s book, ‘At Slieve Gullion’s Foot’, has been part of my life. As a toddler I learned to read from it. And even before I learned to read for myself, my father would read it to me. I remember how it stood in my father’s bookcase next to such tomes as ‘The Complete Works of P.H. Pearse and ‘The Forsythe Saga’. It was a well handled and much loved book.

Then in 1950 came a black time in my life when my family decided to cross the water to England. House and contents were auctioned off by W.V. Hogg. Such was the trauma of that experience that it was not until some years later I realized with horror that poor old ‘Slieve Gullion’ had “gone” under the hammer of Willie Hogg! I tried, unsuccessfully, to purchase another copy but was informed that it was no longer in print. I could not even find a second-hand copy.

In 1976 my parents returned to Ireland to spend their retirement years there and my father learned that there had been a re-print of the book the previous year.

Christmas 1976 proved to be extra special as I received a brand new copy of ‘At Slieve Gullion’s Foot’, with love from my father. Michael and my father are sadly no longer with us but I shall always be indebted to them for instilling in me, love, pride and an on-going curiosity of my special place, at the foot of Slieve Gullion.

… Newry in 30s – 40s …

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