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Father Joe Murphy Has Passed

Much to our shame, we didn’t really know Fr Joe Murphy, who passed on Saturday.

A major part of Greystones for decades, naturally, there are plenty of people who do remember the former chaplain.

We asked one of them, Kathleen Kelleher, to pull together some memories – and some of Joe’s friends – to get an idea of the great man

Take me home again, Kathleen…

Fr. Joe Murphy had always wanted to be a priest, entering the Holy Ghost Seminary before serving in Nigeria for several years. His time there was cut short though after Father Joe contracted malaria and had to return to Ireland. He always spoke fondly of time in Africa, the wonderful people he met, and the work he so enjoyed.

Moving back to his native country, Joe initially worked in Booterstown and Dalkey before becoming chaplain at St David’s Secondary School in the 1980s and 1990s. He was also the chaplain at the Carmelite Monastery in Delgany.

It meant that there was not one but two generations of Greystones people who knew and loved Fr Joe – those who he grew up with, and those who he had mentored and guided. Of course, the connections in Greystones were always there, and when his brother, Dessie, passed away, Fr Joe returned to the family home in St Brigit’s Park. Where he often held evening mass [above].

Having celebrated the 10.30am Mass in St. Kilian’s Church Blacklion for many years, Fr. Joe never just delivered mass – he set the scene, and treated every service as one of a kind. And part of that was interacting with those who came, greeting each and every person who arrived, and thanking them for attending.

And when it came to the actual sermons, they were legendary – always spoken from the heart, and often without notes. Which may explain why Father Joe was able to deliver the message of God in a way that people understood, and embraced. And put into practice.

“People in Greystones will always remember Father Joe,” finishes Kathleen. “For simply leading by example. He had a very calming effect on people, and I think that’s why he made such an impression on us all.

“He has left behind an awful lot of happy memories, and a whole town of happy people…”

Reposing Tuesday afternoon at the Mission House, Kimmage Manor, from 3pm,  prayers at 4pm. Removal Wednesday morning after prayers at 11am, to the Church of the Holy Spirit, for funeral mass at 11.30am, followed by burial at Dardistown Cemetery.

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