Joe Murphy, Cullen & New York

Joe Murphy, a native of Lisnaboy, Cullen, was among other things, the editor of the Irish Echo & Irish Voice, County Cork Association President. He given many people their start in America, and widened the door for many others. He passed away last Saturday. Below is a quick note on his  life, times and contributions, written by the County Cork Association of New York:

The Officers and Members of the County Cork BP&P Association mourn the passing of our esteemed Past President, Joe Murphy. Joe was called to his eternal reward on Saturday, October 5, 2019 surrounded by his loving family at his home in Whitestone, NY after a long illness. Community activist and scribe, Joe was one of the elder statesmen of the County Cork Association and, indeed, of the entire Irish American Community. A native of Cullen, Co. Cork, the youngest of ten siblings, Joe was educated in the local national school, the “North Mon” in Cork City, and St. Augustine’s College, in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. He immigrated to the United States in 1956, first
to California and then to New York City. He continued his academic pursuits at Long Beach State College and at New York City’s Fordham University.
Joe first secured employment in the banking profession, working both for the Bank of America and the Bank of New York. In the 1970’s, he took a position as advertising director with the Irish Echo newspaper, in New York, for which he already wrote a popular weekly column. Joe broadened his journalistic experience as the New York correspondent for the, then, Cork Examiner, and also for RTE. In that capacity, he was proud to work as an analyst, with the late Michael O’Hehir, on the broadcasting of two National Football League finals from New York’s Gaelic Park.

In 1987, Joe helped found the Irish Voice newspaper, and in the late 1990’s, he co-founded Irish Connections magazine. He also wrote a weekly column in the NYC Irish community newspaper, Home and Away. No history of the Irish American Fourth Estate would be complete without a chapter on the Cullen man. Fittingly, in the early 1980’s, the Kerrymen’s Association of NY honored him for his contribution to Irish American journalism.
Joe did not confine his abilities to the sideline. On the GAA pitch, he was a skilled athlete with the big ball. In the 1950’s, he won a County Waterford Minor Football Championship medal with St. Augustine’s College. He also won two West Cork Football Championship medals, while attending Darrara Agricultural College in Clonakilty. In New York, Joe was active, both on and off the field, with the Cork Football Club, serving both as Club Secretary and as President. He also employed his administrative talents in the service of the New York GAA, as secretary and banquet chairman.
Joe was a dedicated member of the Co. Cork Association for 42 years and served as President (1981-84). In 1984, the centenary year of the County Cork Association, he led the organization in an emotional and historic visit to Ireland. Also in that year, together with Rebel stalwarts, he moved the organization to its present home in Long Island City. In 1983 under Joe’s leadership the organization also accepted women as full members. In 1987, Joe, with other members of the Association, was an essential player in the foundation of the IIRM, which went on to secure thousands of visas for Irish immigrants. He also served as the Vice Chairman of the Korean War Irish Memorial Committee, in its long, and eventually, successful campaign to obtain posthumous U.S. citizenship for those Irish immigrant servicemen, who made the ultimate sacrifice in that conflict.
Joe’s contribution, as a community activist, was recognized by many organizations, including New York’s Young Ireland Camogie Club,
The Rebel Cork Association of San Francisco and New York, Millstreet Football Club, and the Cork GAA Board. He was also named in Irish America “Who’s Who”
Joe met his wife the former Judy O’Connor from Ballygar, Co. Galway at a dance at the Red Mill Ballroom and they were married at the Cathedral in Galway in 1975. They resided in Whitestone, NYC. We are grateful for Joe’s friendship and leadership in our Association and in the Irish American Community. We extend our condolences to his wife Judy and his many nieces and nephews who share in Joe’s loss, but joyful in his reunion with his departed siblings – Nellie, Bridie, Sr. Paul, Violet, Jimmy, Matt, John, Fr. Denis and Paddy.

Visitation: Friday, October 11, 2- 5::00pm and 7: 9:00pm, Gleason’s Funeral Home. 10-25 150 th St., Whitestone, NY. Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, October 12 at 9:45am at Holy Trinity Church, 14-51 143 rd St., Whitestone. Interment at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Flushing,, NY. The Co. Cork Association members will assemble at 7:30pm on Friday.
Tá leaba aige i measc na Bfhinni – He rests among the Fenians.
County Cork BP&P Association – Gary Power, President; Denis McCarthy – Past President.

Joe was  President of the County Cork Benevolent, Patriotic and Protective Association in the years 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, and also again in 1993. Interestingly, there are two more Cullen men who served as past presidents: Jeremiah Cronin (1972), and Martin Hickey (1986), as well as Dan Dennehy (1998, 1999) who has Millstreet roots.


Joe was a very close friend of Maureen O’Hara, and was instrumental in inviting her to be the New York Cork Association’s Guest of Honour at the annual St. Patrick’s Banquet in 1985 [Cork Rebel]


Joe served as the Vice Chairman of the Korean War Irish Memorial Committee, in its long, and eventually, successful campaign to obtain posthumous U.S. citizenship for the 28 Irish immigrant servicemen, who made the ultimate sacrifice in that conflict, one of whom was John Corcoran of Coolikerane, who like Joe, had attended Cullen National School. Pictured above are members of the Cork Association of New York, who were on hand for the unveiling of a monument honouring the 28 Irish-born GI’s slain during the Korean War in 2006


[Irish Examiner USA – Tuesday October 3, 2007]

The Quiet Man
By Marc-Yves Tumin

“Now I know what people mean when they speak of great men.”

Last week, I took my favorite train to one of my favorite parts of the city: Main Street, Flushing, a world unto itself.After soaking up some of the bustling street life, I hopped a bus to Whitestone and a cozy house on a tree-lined street of clipped hedges and tidy lawns.

This is a tranquil neighborhood. There’s a seminary up the road. It’s the perfect spot for someone who helps restore your faith in humanity.

He was already a legend when I met him at the Irish Echo, 24 years ago.

They said his generosity was incomparable, his hospitality unforgettable, and the people he’d helped over the years innumerable. They spoke the truth.

Waiting inside was the warmest, most genuine couple you could meet: Joe Murphy and his wife, Judy.

Their home was as neat as a pin, with a spacious backyard and tall trees.

As the afternoon trailed off into the sunset, we downed cups of tea, and wiled away the hours in pleasant conversation.

A delicious home-cooked Irish supper followed, then a baseball game and dessert.

I departed that little corner of Cork with keen regret and, as Joe drove me to the station, I reflected on the wonderful life he’d led.

His father was a farmer, and he was one of 13 children, born in Cullen, Co. Cork, the Texas of Ireland.

He was educated by the Christian Brothers and at University College Cork.

As a young man, he delighted in athletics and aspired to the working press.

He immigrated to America in the Eisenhower era and was employed in banking, before joining the Irish Echo in the 1960s, where he became a popular columnist, advertising manager, and editor Jack Thornton’s right-hand man.

He was secretary of the New York Gaelic Athletic Association and president of the Co. Cork Benevolent, Patriotic and Protective Association, the only county association with its own building.

He relished traveling, running a dozen miles at a clip “for training,” and donating his time and money to worthy causes.

He was a gregarious man with an independent cast of mind. “You must learn to paddle your own canoe,” he’d say.

He was an avid student of history who retained his beautiful Irish brogue and conversed fluently in the Irish language.

He was patient and had a memory like an elephant’s, and possessed a newsman’s knowledge of human events. Above all, he had the common touch.

He counted Maureen O’Hara among his friends. And he was distraught when she narrowly missed becoming the first female grand marshal of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

He had a natural feel for politics. Like Jack Thornton, he was a solid conservative and a traditional Catholic.

When he suspected a friend was hanging his head, he’d hail him to church, saying: “‘Tis important to get in touch with J.C.”

In 1966, Thornton and he almost single-handedly thwarted a plan to move the St. Patrick’s Parade to Central Park on Sundays.

And at a meeting of the Cork Association in 1987, he assisted in the birth of the Irish Immigration Reform Movement. The IIRM was one of his proudest achievements.

He was a gentleman of the old school, with perfect manners: firm and principled but not argumentative.

He was modest, well dressed, and an adept ballroom dancer.

At Irish functions, he’d invariably coax an aged grandmother from the wings and whisk her about the room.

He loved the outdoors and fulfilled the Boy Scout law and oath: He was trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

He was physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

He was a friend (or an acquaintance) of an endless number of people from every strata and walk of life.

He was a bottomless well of information about the community. He was a full man.

We hit it off immediately and I learned what made him tick.

However, by 1987, I’d decided to move on, when he hinted that a new publication was on the horizon.

The Irish Voice was in the works. Michael Smurfit was backing it, and Joe was the ticket to instant recognition and credibility, not to mention paid adverts.

On lunch hours, he and I zigzagged across the city, sizing up offices.

Later, Voice staffers dubbed him “The Quiet Man” and “Joe Smurphy.”

Because of Joe’s friendship with Miss O’Hara and his City Hall connections, the legendary actress and Hizzoner, Mayor Koch, attended the launch of the Voice, assuring its success.

No one could believe our luck.

A few years later, mission accomplished, he retired to a life of writing, traveling, and corresponding with kindred spirits far from home.

Thank God I met him and that he’s hale and hearty. Now I know what people mean when they speak of great men.


[The Irish Examiner -May 2019]

By Paddy McCarthy

I want to begin my column by tell you about a great man and when I say a great man I mean that in every sense of the word. His name is Joe Murphy, who comes from RockChapel in County Cork.

Joe, who lives in Whitestone, Queens with his wife Judy who is from Galway has been incapacitated for the last few years sadly to say. This woman should be knighted as she has looked after Joe ever since he had this dreadful illness and all I can say is good on yea Judy.

Now the reason I am telling you all this is that I would not be where I am today except for this man and so many others as well. Joe encouraged me in everything I have done since I came over from Ireland to New York and he has helped a lot of others as well.

He got me my first job here in New York as a bartender and then he introduced me to the media business for which I am very grateful. Joe was one of the main coils in the Irish Echo as far as writing and advertising and then moved on to start up the Irish Voice with Niall O’Dowd.

He did not forget me and he asked me to join him at the Irish Voice to help him with advertising; well, as you can see, that opened all the doors for me as you can see today. He also inspired me to start my own newspaper even when I was already in the magazine business with a product that had flourished for a few years until the economy took a bad turn.

With his advice here I am with one of the most informational and well-read digital newspapers, The Irish Examiner USA that every day is exciting. I will stop now but before I finish I want to thank Joe for all his confidence in me and I will never forget the great times we had while Out&About. I know he will be able to read this as again he is my inspiration and I thank him again and, everyone who is reading this column please say a prayer for Joe as he could really do with it and he will hear you believe me. Love you Joe!


Read: “Gentelman” Joe Murphy, a New York Legend, passes (Irish Central)

Read: Cullen born writer and Irish activist passes away in US (the Corkman)


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