Peader O’ Doirnin was for a time a schoolteacher in the Lough Ross area of South Armagh. He was of course a contemporary of McCooey …
… and wrote a satirical piece in his support over the dispute with Father Terence Quinn. This no doubt was a contributory factor in bringing the matter to the attention of Archbishop Blake and in Quinn’s subsequent transfer to Tandragee. He was also friendly with another local poet of the time, Seamus Mor Mac Murphy.
Seamus Mor Mac Murphy
Informers have proved a very effective weapon down through the ages. They were used to their full potential against the Tories, the United Irishmen, the Fenians and rebels down to the present day.
It was one such informant who brought about the downfall of Seamus Mor Mac Murphy, a poet, who was born in the townland of Carnally about the year 1720.
Mac Murphy was also an adversary of the infamous ‘Johnson of the Fews’, the Tory hunter. This is because MacMurphy was the leader of a strong band of Tories.
Together with O’Doirnin he founded a gaelic school of poetry and held sessions in Dunreavy Wood. In the summer of 1744 John Johnson was attacked and barely survived. Johnson became afraid for his life and met with MacMurphy and agreed an uneasy truce.
MacMurphy and O’Doirnain often frequented a shbeen on the Flagstaff, on the mountain route to Omeath. It was owned by a man by the name of Patsy MacDecker. Seamus became involved with MacDecker’s daughter Molly. They had a heated argument and fall-out and Molly swore revenge on her former lover.
One evening after plying O’Doirnin with drink, she inveigled him to compose a satirical poem about John Johnson, entitled ‘The Heretic Headcutter’.
Molly took the poem to Johnson’s home, alleging that MacMurphy was the author. He was enraged. He offered