The Late Michael ‘Bill’ Murphy, Carpenter, Tralee Road, Castleisland

The late Michael B. Murphy (left) with the late Tom ‘The Cobbler’ McCarthy and Johnny Foran watching the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Castleisland.
©Photograph: John Reidy 17-3-1989
The late Michael B. Murphy, chatting to David Young of RTÉ Radio One about the recordings his late brother Connie Murphy made in the Castleisland area in the early 1950s’ on the reel-to-reel machine included in the photograph. ©Photograph: John Reidy 4-7-11

The death has occurred of Michael (Bill ) Murphy, (83) Carpenter, 19 Tralee Road, Castleisland, Co. Kerry and late of Market Cross, Castleisland, Co. Kerry

On July 25th 2018 peacefully.

Beloved father of the late Eileen. Sadly missed by his loving wife Nora, his family William, Patrick in Chicago; Thady and Margaret, son-in-law Mike, daughters-in-law Martina and Josephine, his adored six grandchildren, sister-in-law Una, nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours and friends.

May He Rest In Peace

The name Michael ‘Billeen’ Murphy stood and still stands as a by-word for excellence in the family trade of carpentry.

With his father, Bill ‘Billeen’ Murphy they ran a busy workshop just off the Market Cross on Pound Road.

Display of Skill

Even right up to the mid 1970s you could see samples of their work out on the road outside the workshop.

These included donkey and horse or creamery carts and an occasional coffin – when the need arose locally.

It was the way advertising was done at the time and their work spoke volumes for the gift they had in their hands.

Handles in Pikes and Shovels

On my last meeting with Michael on the street here in town in early April, he revisited those days when a workshop would be busy with different jobs at seasonal times of the year.

There were handles to be made or repaired on pikes and shovels or sleans.

During times of the ‘stations’ windows and doors had to be repaired or replaced around the countryside – or made from scratch in the workshop and carried out and fitted.

Next Fair Day

Often, the money didn’t come until after the next fair day – or the one after.

There was an understanding that nobody had ready access to money through the 1940s and 50s and the tradesmen were often paid with a barrel of salted meat or spuds or whatever was going at the time.

“You mightn’t have a lot of money but you wouldn’t go hungry,” Michael told me.

Things were going well at one time in his youth and Michael bought a suit of clothes – a once or twice in a lifetime occurrence back then.

Dances, Socials and Funerals

“Upon my father’s soul I wore that suit only a handful of times as fellas kept calling to the door looking to borrow it for a dance or a social or a funeral and I don’t know what became of it in the finish,” said Michael.

Michael was a great story teller and was in his element when he’d meet Tom Wren at whatever corner the sun shone on in town on any given day.

“As a young apprentice carpenter in the early 1970s I was lucky enough to be assigned to help Michael along with Patie Tangney during a reconstruction job on the offices of the Bank of Ireland branch here in Castleisland.

Architect’s Specifications

The office space was being extended and realigned and the highly decorative counters and posts had to be recreated to the bank architect’s specifications.

There was flat porter from Patie’s pub across the road and a range of powders from T.H. Murphy’s. These were blended and mixed and tried on scraps of timber until the just right shade of stain was achieved and there was the application of trade and know-how in abundance.

Proud and Skilled Tradesmen

There were no shortcuts taken as the two proud and skilled tradesmen set about their tasks each day. There were no electric or power tools and everything was done with time and patience and a love of the challenge – and with a little edge of friendly rivalry.

I don’t know how they felt at the end of the job but I had to get back to the rough and tumble of the site afterwards and I missed them. They were both gentlemen to work with and it was great fun for the time we were together on the project and there are stories I couldn’t tell here.

May God be good to both of them.

Funeral Arrangements

Reposing at Tangney’s Funeral Home, Castleisland on Thursday evening from 5pm to 7pm. Followed by removal to Castleisland Parish Church.

Requiem Mass on Friday at 11am. Burial afterwards in St. John’s Cemetery, Castleisland.

House Strictly Private Please.

Date Published: Wednesday 25th July 2018. Date of Death: Wednesday 25th July 2018.

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