Castleknock College Union

Philip P. Murphy, class '41

1922 - 1999

Mar 30, 1999
Philip P. Murphy, class '41 -

Dr Philip Murphy, who died on 30 March 1999 at the age of seventy-seven, expressed few wishes about how his passing should be marked but one of them was that it would be mentioned in the Chronicle. Philip was the third of five brothers to attend the College. They were from Blackrock, Co. Louth. Their father J.H. Murphy, also a pastman, was a solicitor in Dundalk. Philip's five years in the college were memorable ones for him. In later life he enjoyed telling stories of the foibles of his teachers but tor someone who was always undeservedly critical of his own performance as a student, his proudest moment came when Bert Kearney publicly congratulated him on passing his matriculation at the end of fifth year. Most of all he enjoyed playing rugby. He was wing forward on the senior team in two successive years, 1938-39 and 1939-40. He scored a try in the 1940 semi-final against Roscrea but injury prevented him from playing in the cup final, in which event Castleknock was defeated by Blackrock. The team captain, Fr Liam O'Rafferty, recently recalled that Philip was always "intelligent, tough, courageous and reliable" on the football field. In the 1940s he continued to play rugby, this time for Dundalk Town.

After school Philip studied medicine in U.C.D. and after graduating in 1947 worked for a time at St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, where he was engaged in research work with Professor Oliver FitzGerald. He then went to America where he spent several years on the staff of the Newton Memorial Hospital, New Jersey. He made many friends in America and used to enjoy travelling up to Montreal in Canada for skiing.

In the early 1950s he returned to Co. Louth and set up in general practice in Dundalk, though for many years he also worked in the anaesthetics department of the Louth County Hospital. In the style of many doctors of his generation he worked single handedly, often from morning until well into the evening, and was on emergency call almost all the time. He was always especially concerned with the care of the elderly.

In 1956 Philip married Barbara O'Hare of Newry. They had four children, James, Philip, Elaine and Conrad, the three boys following in the family tradition at Castleknock. His happy family life was a source of great joy to him and his love, devotion and loyalty to his wife and children were very evident to all who knew him. In 1992 Dr and Mrs Murphy retired to Blackrock, Co. Louth, where they enjoyed gardening and took an active interest in bridge, meeting many new friends. Philip also always enjoyed reading history, an interest he owed to Fr Donal Cregan, and in 1989 finally travelled to Egypt in whose archaeological heritage he had taken a special interest. The highlights of the last few years of his life though were family weddings and the arrival of his four grandchildren. One of the other great interests of Philip's life was golf. He was a member of the Dundalk Golf Club, which his father had helped to found, over seven decades. He once won the captain's prize in Dundalk and on another occasion reached the last sixteen of the West of Ireland championship. He passed on his love of golf with great enthusiasm to his children and their friends.

Recording his own father's death four decades ago the Chronicle noted that he was "attached to his faith, his family and to true Christian values" and that he always held fast "to absolute standards in a rapidly changing world." The words were as true of the son as they were of the father. Dr Philip Murphy was deeply committed to his faith and had a great devotion to the Mass and Rosary. He will be missed by all who knew him. Our sincere sympathies go to Mrs Murphy and to all his family on their loss.