Michael Joseph Murphy was born in Eden Street,Liverpool,in June 1913.His parents were Michael ‘Buck’ Murphy and Mary Campbell,both natives of the Dromintee area of South Armagh.In 1922,when he was eight and a half years old,the family returned to Dromintee.
He attended Dromintee National School and when he was just fourteen years old he left school and went to work as a farm worker with local farmers. He developed an interest in storytelling, the imaginative language and the folk beliefs of the people around Slieve Gullion. He began to write down stories and sayings;take photographs and to publish in local and provincial newspapers.He read widely and by 1938 had begun a career in broadcasting.
After the publication of his first book ‘At Slieve Gullion’s Foot’, in December 1941, he joined The Folklore Commission and went on to record what is probably the largest collection of oral tradition ever collected in the English-speaking world.
He campaigned, as a socialist republican,against the social,political and environmental problems in Ireland;published ten books;wrote six plays and scores of short stories.
He retired from The Department of Irish Folklore,University College Dublin,in 1983 and died in 1996 in Walterstown, Castlebellingham,Co.Louth. He is buried,along with his wife, Alice, in Darver cemetery.
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