Mrs. Murphy, fiddler

Mrs. Murphy, fiddler

All,
Can anyone tell me anything about Mrs. Murphy, a fiddler who, I gather, was a contemporary of Ellen Galvin.

Also, do any of her archival recordings exist anywhere on the Web that’s available for downloading?

many thanks,

Re: Mrs. Murphy, fiddler

I learned a tune off Pat Mitchell some years ago, it was a Paddy Cronin hornpipe, which he told me he learned off a recording in ITMA of mrs Murphy who lived on the Cork/Kerry border and played the fiddle.

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Re: Mrs. Murphy, fiddler

Hey Michael, you’re on the hunt, eh? I got your ITRAD request too. I’m wishing I could assist and hoping I can benefit from your findings! Good luck sir!

Re: Mrs. Murphy, fiddler

thanks SWFL…i’ll keep searching and let you know! ;)

Re: Mrs. Murphy, fiddler

Murphy’s not exactly an uncommon name in Ireland. Could you narrow it down a bit more geographically ? Also, I’m sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t know what years would be meant by being a "contemporary of Eileen Galvin".
I seem to remember a Rose Murphy who made a recording for the Topic label when she was quite elderly. She played fiddle and accordion, but I think was from Clare. I have the cassette tape, but would need to check on that name. She might fit the bill. I don’t think anyone’s posted that particular recording here yet, but I will when I get the time.

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Re: Mrs. Murphy, fiddler

Kenny
I think Rose Murhpy might be the one. Ellen [not Eileen] Galvin was from Clare. I belive they knew each other.
We’re talking women here who would have spanned the 20s, 30s, 40s. Mrs. Galvin died in 1961 I think. She won many fiddle competitions. Ah!
here is some dope from the Web on Mrs. Galvin

Background: Ellen Galvin of Moyasta
Ellen (Nell) Galvin (1887-1961) as she was locally known was born Ellen McCarthy, and lived at Ballydineen, Knockalough Co. Clare. She was born in 1887. Around the 1920’s and 1930’s there was a famous blind Piper named Garret Barry living in Inagh, Co. Clare and he was a regular visitor to the McCarthy home. Nell was one of his pupils and she played both the Concertina and Fiddle at a very young age.
At the age of 14 the Blind Piper insisted that she would be entered for her first "Feis" Competition in Ennis and she won the competition playing the fiddle. At the age of 18 she was again entered for the Munster Championships in Ennis on both the Fiddle and Concertina (as she was undecided as to which instrument she would devote her time to.) Here she brought off a remarkable double, winning on both instruments. Her title was later confirmed in Kilkee where the adjudicator was Mr. Seamus Clandillon, later to be nominated as the first Director of Radio Éireann.
The late Dr. Vincent O’Brien later gave her an audition in Dublin for Radio. This was in 1937 and she successfully broadcast on a number of occasions at that time when Radio Éireann was simply known as 2RN.
During those years Nell had married Patrick Galvin of Moyasta and was the mother of five children - three boys and two girls. Stephen R.I.P her youngest son played both timber flute and piano and played with his mother Nell with the Kilfenora Céilí Band as guests and a reel played by them that had no name was named "Mrs Galvin’s Reel" by the Band and that name still holds today.
She played with some of the greats in Traditional Irish Music such as Willie Clancy, John Kelly, Dr. Bill Loughnane, Mrs. Crotty, Sean Reid, Garret Barry,
She held the distinction of being the first Clare Woman to broadcast Traditional Irish Music from 2RN in 1937.
She died on 5th September 1961 aged 74 years.
A Committee has been set up in Moyasta to commemorate her musical life and the first weekend of September (31st August, 1st September and 2nd September, 2007) has been set aside for this purpose

Re: Mrs. Murphy, fiddler

I’ll look at the cassette sleeve notes tonight - which I seem to remember are quite extensive - and get back to you.

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Re: Mrs. Murphy, fiddler

super thanks Kenny.
here’s some information from Phillippe at Celtic Grooves in the U.S.:

Murphy is a pretty common name, but my first guess would be that this could be the Mrs Murphy born Rose Ann Conlon, who was a younger sister of famous melodeon player Peter Conlon, and who was recorded for the 1977 Topic LP "Milltown Lass." She played fiddle and melodeon. However, Breathnach also lists a fiddle player named Mrs. Murphy, from Glennagoul Co. Cork, as one of the contributors to his Ceol Rince na hEireann collections.

Re: Mrs. Murphy, fiddler

‘However, Breathnach also lists a fiddle player named Mrs. Murphy, from Glennagoul Co. Cork, as one of the contributors to his Ceol Rince na hEireann collections.’

That would have been the one I was referring to. Breandan recorded her and the tapes are in ITMA

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Re: Mrs. Murphy, fiddler

Here’s an entry (below my comments) on Rose Murphy which was sadly deleted from the published version of ‘The Rough Guide to Irish Music’ due to lack of space.

I don’t think she’s the one you’re looking for, Mike, but her own music is well worth seeking out. The Topic LP is long out of print, but it was reissued by Ossian (of Cork, not Ossian USA) in cassette format.

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Rose Murphy, from Bellmount, near Miltown, Co. Galway, was born in 1900 at a time when every townland in the West of Ireland seemed to buzz with music. Her parents had originated from Mayo, her father, John James Conlon playing the fiddle, flute, melodeon and war pipes, while mother, Maria (née Dwyer) also played the melodeon and was reckoned to be a grand step dancer. All Rose’s brothers and her sister learned instruments and/or sang and P.J. (known as Peteen) went on to become one of the most influential recording artistes after emigrating to the USA. A melodeon player too, he first recorded in 1910 and some of his sides, including a notable duet with James Morrison (‘The Tap Room’/’The Moving Bogs’) can be found on the ‘Farewell to Ireland’ boxed set (see p.000). Rose’s own first success came when she won a solo dancing competition at the 1907 Feis and she acquired notable skills too on the fiddle and melodeon. These she shared through teaching around Connacht and also appeared in a travelling variety show before emigrating to England where she lived in Wigan before joining her brothers in South Yorkshire’s coal-mining area. Here she met and married another miner, Paddy Murphy, and they settled in Maltby where, naturally, Rose founded a dancing class which she ran for many years until compelled to retire by worsening arthritis. However, she continued to write tunes and, in 1976, was persuaded to record for the then recently established local station, Radio Sheffield. Two of her compositions, ‘Ladybower’s Reel’ (named after a reservoir in the Peak District) and ‘The Lonely Maid’, appeared on the 1977 album, ‘Milltown Lass’, compiled from these recordings. The record is aptly subtitled ‘Old Time Irish fiddle and accordion’, for Rose’s music is steeped the past, though nevertheless has a timeless aura. There’s a rousing accordion rendition of ‘Drowsy Maggie’ while the lonesome feel of her fiddling is fully apparent on The Whistler and His Dog.

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Re: Mrs. Murphy, fiddler

There’s a photograph of Rose Murphy playing accordion in the Ossian book "The Box" by Hanrahan, I think. Also a recording of her on fiddle in "Round the House and Mind the Dresser" compilation CD of old dance music by Reg Hall.

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Re: Mrs. Murphy, fiddler

I think that between us we may have positively identified your “Mrs.Murphy” , Mike.
There is a fair bit of information on the cassette sleeve-notes, and she is also mentioned in Fintan Vallely’s “Companion To Irish Traditional Music”, most of which has been detailed above.. She was born in 1900, Ellen Galvin in 1870, according to Fintan’s book . She made the recording for Topic at the age of 76.
I’ll be in touch.

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Re: Mrs. Murphy, fiddler

Rose played a B/C box in B when she was recorded aged 77.
On fiddle she played ‘standard’ keys

Peter Conlon (PJ) her brother played mainly one row and later in life a New York D/C# I believe

Re: Mrs. Murphy, fiddler

Hi Mike - copied the insert notes - will send them to you this afternoon.

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Re: Mrs. Murphy, fiddler

I understand Scutcher has written a memoir of Rose Murphy (nee Conlon) has anyone any details?

Re: Mrs. Murphy, fiddler

Or was that the section quoted above that never made it into the Rough Guide for lack of space?.Sean Carney is chasing info for a book on Maltby’s Irish community