Murphy, Denis (1833-1896) (DNB01)

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MURPHY, DENIS (1833–1896), historical writer, was born at Newmarket, co. Cork, in 1833. Having been trained in various Jesuit colleges of England, Germany, and Spain, he was admitted to the Society of Jesus as a novitiate in his sixteenth year. He became an active and devoted missionary priest, but soon began to devote his chief attention to teaching and historical research. He was professor of history and literature at the Jesuit colleges of Clongowes Wood, Limerick, and finally at University College, Dublin. His best known work, published at Dublin in 1883, was 'Cromwell in Ireland,' an excellent account of the suppression of the catholic rebellion of 1648-9, which gives evidence of great research, and is destitute of sectarian prejudice. The text is accompanied with good maps, plans, and illustrations. A new edition appeared in 1885. Another important historical work was his edition of O'Clery's 'Life of Hugh Roe O'Donnell,' 1893, 4to, which he was the first to render into English. The parallel bilingual text is preceded by an historical introduction. Murphy also published 'The Annals of Clonmacnoise' (1896) and a 'History of Holy Cross Abbey.' He edited for many years the 'Kildare Archæological Journal,' to which he contributed some valuable papers, and was connected with similar publications in Cork, Waterford, and Belfast. His last published work was 'A School History of Ireland' (in T. A. Findlay's School and College Series), issued in 1894, which is remarkable for containing a eulogy of Charles Stewart Parnell. Just before his death he was at work upon 'The Martyrs of Ireland,' an account of Roman catholics who had been put to death since the time of Henry VIII, a compilation suggested to him by the Irish bishops. Murphy received the honorary degree of LL.D. from the royal university of Ireland in recognition of his historical writings. He was vice-president of the Royal Irish Academy and a member of the council of the Royal Society of Antiquaries in Ireland. He was found dead in his bed, on the morning of 18 May 1896, in his rooms at University College, St. Stephen's Green, Dublin, and was buried in Glasnevin cemetery on 20 May.

[The Irish Catholic, 23 May 1896; Tablet, 23 May 1896; Times, 25 May; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Allibone's Dict. Engl. Lit. (Suppl.)]

G. Le G. N.