Tá cuntas ar an leabharbhách seo, a bhí ina easpag ar Chorcaigh, in: Freeman’s Journal 3 Aibreán 1847; Irish Book Lover, Meán Fómhair 1910 ag James Coleman; ag James Buckley san iris chéanna, Meitheamh 1912; cuntas gan ainm leis san iris chéanna, Lúnasa 1915; ag Eoin O’Mahony in The Bell (‘Four Cork Bishops’), Márta 1941; ag Thomas Wall in The sign of Dr Hay’s head..., 1958; in Scríobhaithe Chorcaí 1700-1850, 1982 le Breandán Ó Conchuir. Ag Gabhal na Spurra i Sráid Seandúin, Corcaigh, ar 23 Bealtaine 1772 (Freeman’s Journal 3 Aibreán 1847) a rugadh é. Ceannaithe tae ba ea a mhuintir ag an am sin ach bheadh drioglann agus grúdlann acu ar ball. Bhí sé ina ábhar sagairt i bPáras faoi 1787 ach d’fhill sé abhaile nuair a thosaigh an Réabhlóid. Chuaigh sé go Coláiste na nGael i Liospóin i 1791 agus oirníodh ann é. Nuair a d’fhill sé ar Chorcaigh i 1797 ceapadh é ina shagart cúnta i bparóiste Naoimh Peadar agus Pól sa chathair ar dtús agus ansin ina shagart paróiste ann. Coisreacadh ina easpag é ar 23 Aibreán 1815.

Bhí sé breis is daichead bliain d’aois sular fhoghlaim sé Gaeilge. I litir chuig Philip Barron in 1835 dúirt sé gur thuig sé gur ghá dó í chun labhairt lena phobal agus seanmóirí a thabhairt: ‘Whilst I was pursuing this object, I became acquainted with Long [Ó Longáin], and five or six others in humble circumstances, whom I paid for transcribing for me such Irish pious books, prayer-books, catechisms, etc, as were to be met with—and I have succeeded in my great object, that of being able to examine, from any Irish catechism, those presented to me for confirmation.’ Tuairimíonn Thomas Wall: ‘... it might have been better had he had the enterprise to found a press in Cork for the publication of books in Irish.’ Tá dáréag dá scríobhaithe liostaithe ag Ó Conchúir. Tá a bhailiúchán lámhscríbhinní, tuairim 120 imleabhar (Irish Book Lover, Meitheamh 1912) díobh, i gColáiste Phádraig, Maigh Nuad, iad liostaithe ag Pádraig Ó Fiannachta in Lámhscríbhinní Gaeilge Choláiste Phádraig, Má Nuad. Clár. Fascúl VIII, 1973. Nuair a bunaíodh Comhthionól na Gaeilge sa chathair in 1817 ba é a bhí ina uachtarán air. Bhí sé ar bhunaitheoirí an Iberno-Celtic Society i mBaile Átha Cliath in 1818 agus ina leasuachtarán.

Tá cuntais anseo is ansiúd ar an méid leabhar a bhailigh sé. Is aige a bhí an leabharlann phríobháideach ba mhó dá raibh in Éirinn lena linn. De réir Freeman’s Journal 3 Aibreán 1847 bhí, b’fhéidir, 200,000 leabhar aige. Thug Johann Georg Kohl (Travels in Ireland, 1842) cuairt air: ‘The Roman Catholic bishop of Cork (Dr Murphy) has one of the most interesting collections of books I have anywhere seen. This learned and industrious man has turned his whole house into a library; not only has he converted his sitting-rooms and dining rooms into book-rooms, but even in his bed-rooms every available space is filled with books. His attendants, even his maid-servants, sleep in little libraries; the stair-cases are lined with books along the walls, and the corridors which lead from room to room have full bookcases at their sides. Everywhere books are literally piled up, even to the garrets.’ Tá cur síos ag Patrick Kennedy, siopadóir leabhar i Sráid Anglesea, Baile Átha Cliath, ar a thurais ar na díoltóirí leabhar: ‘Great excitement and pleasure did every visit of the good bishop cause among our old-book sellers, whether they rented shops or enjoyed free standings along the quays. There was arranging and dusting of volumes, and goings backwards and forwards, and frequent questionings as to the hour of his arrival. At last the anxious guardian of literature is gladdened by the apparition of the gold-headed cane, the silk stockings fitting in the buckled shoes, the waistcoat not innocent of snuff, the loose coat, the broad-brimmed hat and the kind good-natured face under it . . ..Then went on for an hour or two, according to circumstances, a succession of enhancing, and cheapening and joking, for our good bishop could afford to joke. He made up his bill as he went along; and when he left the shop, he left behind him cheerful hearts and something to meet the rent or the auctioneer’s bill. The words of the old song might be appropriately applied to the kind hearted Doctor: “He brought the summer along with him”.’ Bhí beartaithe aige a bhailiúchán leabhar a bhronnadh ar Chorcaigh ach go gcuirfí foirgneamh oiriúnach ar fáil. Nuair nár tharla sin cuireadh na leabhair ar ceant in Sothebys, Londain. Bliain a mhair sé agus ar deireadh is de réir meáchain a díoladh iad. Bhí cuid de na praghasanna chomh híseal sin nach bhfuarthas ar an leabharlann ar fad ach tuairim £5,000. D’éag sé ar 1 Aibreán 1847.

Tagraíonn an Freeman’s Journal dá charthanacht: ‘The Roman Catholic charities in this city will have cause to mourn for him, for he was their patron and protector, and in the hour of need often upheld them without ostentation out of his own resources. Many a pensioner that lived for years on his bounty, will now experience the miseries of destitution, for who could fill for them the void his death has caused?’ Bhí baint aige le bunú an Cork Savings Bank.

Ba é an chéad phátrún é ag John Hogan (1800-58) agus an 48 dealbh a rinne sé don ardeaglais a dhírigh aird an phobail air a chéad uair. Bhí sé ar na daoine a chuir an dealbhadóir chun na hIodáile a dhéanamh staidéir.

Deir Eoin O’Mahony: ‘Bishop Murphy was a sturdy man and in politics no craven. As long as he lived, his long-tailed family was kept in order. He would spend his Easter at Clongowes surrounded by thirty nephews and grandnephews who controlled Cork for seventy years until Parnell drove them from power in 1880.’ In Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society,1977 (‘Repeal, popular politics and the Catholic clergy of Cork, 1840-1850’) deir Maura Murphy gur ordaigh sé in 1835 dá shagairt gan páirt a ghlacadh i bhfeachtas Reipéil mar ghasra eagraithe. Is é a dúirt Thomas Davis faoi: ‘a glorious hearty Johnsonian bookworm, but he’s a courtier . . .. I am not yet sure of him.’ B’fhéidir gur náisiúnaí é i gcúrsaí eaglasta. Thuairiscigh an Freeman’s Journal i dtaobh a thurais ar an Róimh in 1816: ‘The object of the visit, we believe, was to protect the Catholic Church of Ireland from the intrigues of the English Vetoists; for Dr Murphy was a determined enemy to those ecclesiastical securities required at the time by the English government.’

Diarmuid Breathnach

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