John A. Murphy

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For other people named John Murphy, see John Murphy (disambiguation).

John A. Murphy (born 17 January 1927) is an Irish historian and a former senator. He is currently Emeritus Professor of history at University College Cork (UCC).

Murphy was born in Macroom, County Cork, and in 1945 he won a County Council scholarship to study history at UCC. He graduated in 1948 with a first-class honours degree and first place in both History and Latin, then took an MA in Cork before taking up a teaching post at the diocesan seminary at Farranferris in Cork city.

In 1960 he became an assistant lecturer at UCC, and was appointed Professor of Irish History in 1971, holding that chair until his early retirement in 1990. His 1975 book Ireland in the twentieth century was one of the first surveys of contemporary Irish history.

From 1977 to 1982, and from 1987 to 1992, Murphy represented the National University of Ireland constituency as an independent member of Seanad Éireann. As a senator, he was noted for his advocacy of political and cultural pluralism. He was regarded as being politically close to The Workers Party[citation needed].

He was named "Cork person of the year, 2005".

He opposed Ireland's referendum opening marriage to same sex couples. In a letter to the Irish Times published on 13 May 2015, he asserted that he could not be accused of homophobia or bigotry, pointing to the fact that he had supported recognition for an LGBT society in the 1990s at University College Cork, where he taught. In the same letter, he described the proposed constitutional amendment as "grotesque nonsense." [1]


  • Murphy, John A. (1975). Ireland in the twentieth century. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. ISBN 0-7171-0568-7. 
  • J. P. O'Carroll and John A. Murphy (eds), De Valera and his times, Cork University Press, 1983. ISBN 0-7171-0568-7
  • Murphy, John A. (1995). The College : a history of Queen's/University College Cork, 1845-1995. Cork: Cork University Press. ISBN 1-85918-056-6. 
  • Murphy, John A. (1995). Cuimhne dhá laoch : MacCurtain and MacSwiney. Cork: Cork Public Museum, 1995. ISBN 978-1-898168-13-3.