Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

County surveyor for Co. Westmeath, 1928-1955. Cornelius Murphy, who was born on 2 August 1890 at Cahirkereen, Kilnamartyra, Macroom, Co. Cork, was the fifth son of of Thomas Murphy, dairy farmer of Cahirkereen and his wife Mary, née Cronin.  He was educated at Ballyvoigue National School and the Christian Brothers' College, Cork, from which he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Science in Dublin in 1911. He obtained the ARCScI qualification and the  B.Sc. degree in 1915. He then worked for a year at the Siemens factory in Stafford, England.   In April 1916 he gained  first place in the assistant county surveyorship examination and was appointed an assistant county surveyor for Co. Cork. During the War of Independence his access to explosives in connection with his work enabled him to supply gelignite to the Volunteers in Klnamartyra which was used to destroy an RIC barracks in Co. Limerick.

In 1925, following the rearrangement of Co. Cork into two admininstrative districts, Murphy, who was based in Mitchelstown, was appointed chief assistant surveyor to RICHARD FRANCIS MARY O'CONNOR RICHARD FRANCIS MARY O'CONNOR , county surveyor of the northern district.(1) In October 1927 he passed the county surveyorship examination and the following March was appointed county surveyor for Co. Westmeath, following the death of ARTHUR EDWARD JOYCE  ARTHUR EDWARD JOYCE over a year earlier.(2) He retired in August 1955(3) and went to live in Dublin. After the death of his wife he planned to move back to the neighbourhood of his birth, but in 1961 or 1962, while he was on holiday in Youghal, he suffered a severe stroke and died soon afterwards in a Cork hospital .   He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.   He was married to his second cousin Julia née Downey, of Mashanaglass, Macroom, whom he got to know when he was a patient in a hospital in Cork where she was a nurse.  He had two sons and a daughter.

As a young man Murphy and a friend composed two songs, 'A trip to Gougane' and 'The Kilnamartyra Waterworks' which have become part of the oral tradition of the Kilnamartyra area, although sometimes wrongly attributed to others.(4)

ICEI: elected associate member, 1 March 1920;(5) raised to member, 1928.

Addresses: Work: County Surveyor's Office, Courthouse, Cork, <=1926-1928; County Hall, Mullingar, 1928-1955.
Home: Golf View, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, 1921-1924; Charlestown House, near Mullingar; 164 Stillorgan Road, Donnybrook, 1958.


All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from Murphy's grand-nephew Thomas Finbarr Murphy (Jul 2009), from Brendan O’Donoghue,The Irish County Surveyors 1834 to 1944 (2007), 259-260, from the Midland Reporter, 15 Mar 1928 and from ICEI membership lists in TICEI and Thom's directories.   A photograph of Murphy and his three children, sent by Thomas Finbarr Murphy, is in IAA, Jones file M150A.

(1) Interim report of the special committee appointed to examine into the administrative work of Cork County Council (B.O'D.).
(2) Midland Reporter, 8 Mar 1928 (B.O'D.).
(3) Westmeath Examiner, ? Oct 1955 (B.O'D.).
(4) Copies of these songs, supplied by Thomas Finbarr Murphy are in IAA, Jones file M150A.
(5) TICEI 46 (1919-1920), 149.