Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Builder and architect, of Dublin. Patrick J. Murphy, a son of TIMOTHY MURPHY TIMOTHY MURPHY , builder, of Dublin, was born circa 1829. He trained as an architect under PATRICK BYRNE  PATRICK BYRNE but, in the words of his obituarist in the Irish Builder, 'early threw aside the drawing board and T-square' to join his father in business. In the early 1860s the firm of Timothy Murphy & Son carried out the controversial second phase of the restoration of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, financed by Benjamin Lee Guinness. The designs which had been produced by RICHARD CROMWELL CARPENTER  RICHARD CROMWELL CARPENTER in the 1840s were abandoned, and the new work was supervised by Patrick Murphy himself. The lack of a properly qualified architect and the unscholarly nature of the restoration attracted some criticism:(1) a long letter from JAMES JOSEPH MCCARTHY  JAMES JOSEPH MCCARTHY in the Dublin Builder for 15 January 1863,(2) pointing out some of the defects of the new work, gave rise to a heated correspondence in the two following issues, which included a letter from Murphy & Son defending their work.(3) The sympathies of the editor of the Dublin Builder, JOHN JOSEPH LYONS JOHN JOSEPH LYONS , were clearly on the side of the restorers.

Patrick Murphy predeceased his father. He died at the age of forty-two on 25 March 1871 and was buried at Glasnevin Cemetery on 29 March.(4) According to his obituary in the Irish Builder, he had been associated 'for many years in every benevolent project, and with whatever would tend to be of utilitarian purpose in connexion with building'; as 'a large and liberal employer of labour' his loss would be felt 'for a considerable time by the operative classes of his native city'.

Addresses:(5) Work: 89 Amiens Street, <=1857 until death; also 39 Seville Place 1862-64.(6)
Home: Upper Leeson Street, at time of death.



All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from the obituaries of Patrick Murphy in IB 13, 1 Apr 1871, 85, and of Timothy Murphy in IB 18, 15 Apr 1876, 102.

(1) See B 18, 21 Jul,15 Sep,13 Oct,10 Nov 1860, 469,597,664,726.
(2) DB 5, 15 Jan 1863, 4-5. McCarthy's letter was written in response to the editorial of 15 Dec 1862 (DB 4, 313) which defended the restoration against a critical account in The Ecclesiologist.
(3) DB 5, 1,15 Feb 1863, 14-16,26-28.
(4)   Freeman's Journal, 30 Mar 1871;  W.J. Fitzpatrick, History of the Dublin Catholic Cemeteries (1900), 129.
(5) From The Post Office Directory (1857), and from Jones's transcripts from Thom's directories.
(6) He does not appear at this address in the Seville Place listings in Thom's Directory for 1863 but at No.13 Seville Place.

3 work entries listed in chronological order for MURPHY, PATRICK J. *

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Date: 1860-65
Nature: Architect of second phase of restoration on behalf of Benjamin Lee Guinness.Cathedral re-dedicated 24 Feb 1865, who wished to design the restoration himself as well as financing it (see Irish Times, 6 May 1889).
Refs: DB 4, 1 Oct,15 Dec 1862, 245,313; 5, 15 Jan,1,15 Feb 1863, 4-5,14-16.26-28; IB 13, 1 Apr 1871, 85; 18, 15 Apr 1876, 102; B 18, 21 Jul,15 Sep,13 Oct,10 Nov 1860, 469,597,664,726 (?alsoB 42, ? ? 1882, 309); there is also a critical article in Ecclesiologist, 1862 (not seen);  Mary Hanna, The National Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Patrick, Dublin:  Conservation Plan (St Patrick's Cathedral, 2006), 18-19;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 604.

Date: 1863
Nature: Celtic revival pavilion for Benjamin Lee Guinness possibly by PJM?. Sheaff says building was probably designed by Guinness himself, but it seems at least possible that PJM, who was Guinness's architect at St Patrick's at that date, might also have realised Guinness's idea for the pavilion.
Refs: Nicholas Sheaff, Iveagh House (Dublin, Department of Foreign Affairs, 1978), 54-55(illus.)

Date: ?
Nature: 'His last energies were devoted to the erection of the new wing of the Mater Misericordiae Hospital  which will long remain an enduring proof of his capabilities as a builder'.
Refs: Obituary of PJM in Freeman's Journal, 30 Mar 1871 (also in IB 13, 1 Apr 1971, ?).