Death of Jim Murphy, over the Kilkenny border in Carlow marks end of a way of life

Kindhearted farmer

Jim Murphy on his way up Blackstairs Mountain, Carlow

The late Jim Murphy of Knock, Knockymullgurry, Ballymurphy, Co Carlow on his way to feed livestock on Blackstairs Mountain

The last of the Murphy brothers of Knock, Knockymullgurry, over the border in County Carlow passed away on October 28 and was laid to rest in lovely Ballymurphy, nestled in the sheltered foothills of the Blackstairs Mountains.

The farmstead is part of a vanishing way of life in Ireland. Jim Murphy was the last of his generation and with him goes a life filled with generosity.

I first met Jim some 25 years ago, in the early days of my membership of the Tyndall Mountain Club. Jim could be met coming down from the mountain on horseback after tending to cattle, sheep and horses.

In winter time Jim would fill a handful of old sacks with feed for the livestock, balance them across the back of the horse with bailing twine. Then he would mount the horse, sitting on those same sacks, and proceed up the fields and mountain, led out by a couple of collie dogs.

Jim always had the welcome of the world for everyone and loved the chat. You could park your car outside the farm gate and Jim and the collie dogs would always make sure it was safe for your return from your trek.

The farm, with its dry stone walls, riveted forged gates, trees, heather, furze in bloom and trickling streams, leads up to a lovely green road which takes you up to the gap and the lovely Blackstairs mountain. The mountain overlooks their farm, Ballymurphy, the town of Borris and landscapes of Kilkenny, Carlow and Wexford.

Scarlet and yellow, golden and brown

Winds of October blow the leaves down

Brown is the bracken, golden the sheaves

Rosy the apples, crimson the leaves

Mist on the hillside, clouds grey and white

Autumn good morning, Summer good night

From all his friends in Tyndall and Tullow Mountain Clubs

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