• Murphy surname history

    Murphy surname history

    Murphy is the anglicised version of two Irish surnames, O Murchadha (in modern Irish O Murchu) and Mac Murchadha, both derived from the popular early Irish personal name Murchadh, meaning "sea-warrior". Mac Murchadha ("son of Murchadh) is exclusive to Ulster, where the family were part of the Cenel Eoghain, the tribal grouping claiming descent from Eoghan, himself a son of the fifth century founder of the Ui Neill dynasty, Niall of the Nine Hostages, who was reputedly responsible for the kidnapping of St. Patrick to Ireland. These Ulster Murphys (or MacMuphys) were originally based in present-day Co. Tyrone, in the area known as Muintir Birn, but were driven out by the O'Neills and settled in south Armagh, where they were subjects of the O'Neills of the Fews. In Ulster today, Murphy remains most numerous in Co. Armagh, though it is also to be found in great numbers in Fermanagh and Monaghan.

    Elsewhere in Ireland, O Murchadha (descendant of Murchadh) is the original Irish. This arose separately in at least three distinct areas, in Cork, Roscommon and Wexford. The most prominent of these were the Wexford Ui Murchadha. These took their surname from Murchadh or Murrough, grandfather of Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster, and thus share their origin not only with the MacMurroughs but also with the Kinsellas, the Kavanaghs and the MacDavy Mores. Their territory lay in the barony of Ballaghkeen in Wexford, and was formerly known as Hy Felimy, from Felim, one of the sons of Eanna Cinnseallaigh, the semi-legendary fourth-century ruler of Leinster. Their chief seats in this area were at Morriscastle ("O Murchu's Castle"), Toberlamina, Oulart and Oularteigh. The last chief of the name to be elected by the old Gaelic method of tanistry was Murtagh, who in 1461 was granted the right to use English law, thus entitling him to pass on his possessions to his direct descendants. The arrangement lasted only until the late sixteenth century, when Donal Mor O'Morchoe (as the name was then anglicised) was overthrown, and virtually all his territory confiscated; most of his followers were scattered and settled in the surrounding counties, in Kilkenny and Carlow particularly. One branch, however, based at Oularteigh, did manage to retain their lands, and their succession continues unbroken down to the present. David O'Morchoe (this version of the name was adopted by deed poll by his grandfather in 1895) is the current Chief of the Name, recognised as such by The Chief Herald of Ireland. The arms illustrated are for this family.

    Charles Francis Murphy (1858-1924) was the best known leader of the Democratic Party in New York when that party?s power was at its peak. The period is best known now by the name of the party headquarters, Tamanny Hall.

    Marie Louise O Murphy (1737-1814) was the daughter of an Irish soldier who settled at Rouen. The famous painting of her by Boucher so intrigued Louis XV that Marie Louise became his mistress.

    Seamus Murphy (1907-75) was a well-known sculptor, becoming Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Hibernian Academy. His autobiography "Stone Mad" is a classic.