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Patrick Joseph (Paddy) Murphy
1902 - 1999

A Great MAYO Man Who Departed This World on 11 January 1999

By John Edward (Ed) Murphy, son of Paddy

Patrick Joseph (Paddy) Murphy was born on 15 September 1902, in the family home in Alt Bunnahowen in the Glencastle - Belmullet corridor in County Mayo. He was the third of 10 children born to Edward and Mary (nee Reilly) Murphy.

Edward and Mary (nee Reilly) Murphy were originally form Aughness (Near Ballycroy) and Shraigh, respectively. They established a farm in the townland of Alt Bunnahowen in the later part of the 19th century. Dad's nephew, Eamonn Murphy, still there, operates the family farm.

My father and two sisters, Mary and Anne, emigrated to America. Anne is still alive, living in Laurel Maryland --- about 20 miles for Washington DC. Michael and Edward remained in Alt, operating the family farm. Ellen, Celia, Kate, and Bridie married and settled in the Glencastle - Belmullet corridor. John, the youngest of the ten children, worked for Bord na Mona and now lives in retirement with his wife in Crossmolina.

After emigrating to America, Paddy settled in Pittsburgh, working on construction sites and in the steel mills. One night he went to one of the Irish dances, so popular to the Irish community in Pittsburgh. At the dance, he met Nora Canny originally from Cahergal Clonbur in County Galway. They married in 1934 at Pittsburgh's Sacred Heart church. I was born in 1936, and two sisters Margaret Ann (Peggy) and Kathleen arrived later.

Mom and Dad provided a loving and stable home life. We learned good moral values by attendance in Catholic churches and schools. They encouraged us to:

•           Acquire good education and training;

•           Be productive in the work place;

•          And  be good members of our family, church and, community.

Our family's social life revolved around Irish music and dance, Gaelic football games, and entertaining emigrants (recent and not so recent) from Ireland.

I still fondly remember Dad's stories about ---

•           His early life in Ireland.

•           Emigrating to America.

•           Married life with mom.

•           Friendship and activities with other Irish immigrants and their families.

•           Their work life in the 1920s and 1930s --- Dad's working in the steel mills and construction sites; and Mom's working as a domestic.

•           The growth of industry and organized labor in Pittsburgh.

•           Depression, the New Deal (Mom and Dad loved President Roosevelt), and World War II.

•           Working at Duquesne University, as a Stationary Engineer and maintenance worker. (His loyal long-term employment gained me a scholarship to Duquesne and a degree in Accounting in 1957.)


Mom died in February 1994. And Dad died 11 January 1999. Both experienced most of the 20th Century. I and my two sisters, and their grandchildren miss both Paddy and Nora. Of course there are many other fond memories and stories --- too many for this brief tribute. But perhaps some of the photos will shed some insight into their lives.

Mary Murphy

Mary (nee Reilly) Murphy with family home in Alt Bunnahowen (near Glencastle) in background (circa 1955). She died in September 1969 at the age of 96 +.

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad before they married. Note on back of photo shows address were Mom worked as "Maid." Notation reads, "Nora Canney, maid" "self and boyfriend."

Patrick and Nora (nee Canny) Murphy. Undated Photo (Circa 1920s or 1930s. Possibly the photos were taken for passports or American naturalization purposes.

Family Photo - 1948

The vintage family photo was apparently taken on Peggy's First Communion day. So the date can be reasonably fixed as the Spring of 1948. Our home was at 317 Semple Street in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, a very working-class neighborhood near Pittsburgh's J&L Steel mill.

Paddy Murphy about March 1998 --- six to nine months prior to his death. Photo was taken on Mount Washington, one of the highest points in Pittsburgh.You can see the Monongahela River and part of the Pittsburgh landscape in the background.

Paddy Murphy- A great Mayoman

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