Galway Advertiser 1992/1992_08_20/GA_20081992_E1_012.pdf
G A L W A Y
PHILIP MURPHY'S 100 YEARS
BO N H T AD C L L WG O N OD I
I am, in general terms, well disposed towards all types of music and all kinds of instruments. I am fond of a fiddle, pleased with a piccolo, charmed by a con certo and - leaving aside certain barbarian noisemakers like Wagner and Mahler - soothed by a symphony. But there is one exception to the extent of my catholicity of taste. I cannot abide the bagpipe. It is not as if I have not skirl of the pipes had faded a pleasant living room. By tried to like this instrument to a more or less tolerable, now the music had started and it was truly terrible. I and the music played upon distant whine. it. It is not that I cannot ad Kinvara, from the bottom opened another door and mire the technical proficien of the town, in a bit like an found myself in a hallway. cy of inflating a sheeps' enormous pin-ball machine. At the end of it was the They returned to Ireland stomach and thereafter You b o u n c e first into toilet. Quickly looking in 1931, and bought what " d o o d l i n g " upon the air Greene's, then into Connol behind me to make sure I used to be Tierney's pub in holes of the well-named ly's. Another ping to the had not been followed, I High Street. They could chanter used to mediate the right brings you to the went inside and closed the have bought the Skeffington resultant sounds to ear of the Downtown Bar. After fuel door. And I can truly say Arms Hotel for the same listener. I can admire the ing up here, you are ready that the best way to listen to price at the time. skill of the butcher. But that for a corner knock off a bagpipe in full force is at Philip gradually built up does not mean I wish to Sayre's Restaurant, another least two rooms away, with the business into the famous the intervening doors firm spend my time in close pro slight deviation to the right, pub that it is today. He ximity to a slaughter-house. and into The Old Plaid ly closed. worked on his own, without At last it was over and I any barmen. He ran his I have, I say. tried to like Shawl. You're next move the bagpipe. One of my brings you far to the right in made my way down to The business so that he never oldest and dearest friends to Winkles, after which a Old Plaid Shawl. I was sur owed anyone money -- has been playing this instru nearly horizontal thrust prised and delighted to everything inside the bar recognise a fellow Garavo- belonged to him. He was ment since he was a young brings you to Conole's. nian, Seamus, seated at the always proud of the people man. He has mastered the counter. I took my pint and usual repertoire of tunes, who came into his pub, joined him. " A gentleman is so from "Scotland the Brave" especially those to whom he meone who can play the "What have you been do referred to as "Latchikoes." to " T h e Fair Maid of bagpipe...but d o e s n ' t " , ing, t h e n ? " , he asked me. Perth'', and is even familiar This was really an Seamus said, with a Briefly, I told him of my ex affectionate term which with the arcana of the periences with the bagpiper. gravity suitable to such a pibroch , in which no tune meant these people were Wordlessly, Seamus sipped gem of wisdom. at all is discernable, only "cute hoors." his pint. Finally he lifted his endless variations that go on "We will take a bottle for From Conole's you can eyes and looked at me. " D o until the piper is so winded the barman (himself) out of he collapses, exhausted, to bounce off Londis Super you know the definition of this change" was one of his the ground. Much to the market and into Flatley's. a gentleman?" I confessed favourite expressions. He relief of those upon whom And from there you've a I did not. often did this, but always clear shot into Tully's. After he has inflicted his skills. " A gentleman is so bought the drink back. Just recently I have been which you can, if you are meone who can play the Today, Murphy's Pub in unfortunate enough to have still upright, begin the whole bagpipe...but d o e s n ' t " , he High Street is an institution. been exposed to bagpipes in game again. 1 played it said, with a gravity suitable It's simple, elegant, large n u m b e r s . I w a s twice, so far as I can recall. to such a gem of wisdom. attractive shopfront has Late on Sunday who did Perfect, is it not? It reminds brought out to a Festival in Kinvara last weekend and I encounter but my bagpipe- me of poor Boswell confess my arrival coincided with a playing friend, who had ing to Dr. Johnson, " I d o parade in which the music, brought his pipes to town in indeed come from Scotland, so-called, was provided by the hope of exercising his but I cannot help i t " . T o the Liam Mellowes Pipe lungs. He greeted me warm which the great Doctor ly and, hooking his arm in replied, "That, sir, is what Band. I find a great many of your Now I am sure that the mine, dragged me along to a house where he knew countrymen cannot h e l p " . members of this worthy The bagpipe exists. It can band are all fine people, some people, and begin not be un-invented. But "kitting u p " for a session. d e d i c a t e d , as only a I pleaded a previous ap there is absolutely no need bagpiper can be, to their to play it. And apologies, chosen form of music. But pointment, but to no avail. By now the house had however heartfelt, are simp I confess that when I saw ly not good enough. them heading down the started to fill up and, with a drink in my hand, I prepared Morgan O'Doherty Main Street, their orange kilts swaying as they march myself for the worst. It soon came to be. He ed, their faces red with the effort of blowing into their was in fine wind and as he sheeps' stomachs, and their inflated his bag - I have ELEGANT f A S H I O N ; ' cheeks puffed out like they a l w a y s thought it a p propriate that a sheep's had stuffed two golf balls in to them, I took refuge in the stomach should have been employed for this purpose as nearest public house. Which turned out to be the sounds emitted bear a Tully's, where " P a " - a striking resemblance to the genial drawer of pints - was bleat of the animal - as he in busy seeing to his flated his bag, I saw my customers' liquid needs. I chance. There was an open door took my pint to a corner, well away from the door not far from where I was way, and waited until the standing, so I disappeared through it, finding myself in
The oldest holder of a public house licence in Ireland is Philip Murphy of High S t r e e t . He celebrated his one hundredth birthday on Tuesday. He was born on August 18th, 1892 in Gortatleva in Claregalway. He went to school there, and later went to work in Walshe's in Eyre Square. He was involved in the Easter Rising in Galway, and as a result was interned with a large number of Republican prisoners in Frongoch in Wales. After his release, he went to America to work. There he met Delia Clarke, and they married.
Philip Murphy chatting
featured in many books, calendars and paintings all over the world. Inside, the pub has changed very little, though it has expanded a small bit. It still has that indefinable q u a l i t y -- character, and a wonderful ambience and warm welcome. Today it is run by Philip's son Paddy. There are many stories told about Philip Murphy. O n e of my favourites concern a very big, loud and dunk man with an American
to a friend,
accent who came into the pub one night, caused a bit of a rumpus and then ordered a drink. "You have enough taken already, and will get no drink here" said Philip (who was about half the size of this gent). "I'll have you know" says the big man, "That I was once the heavyweight boxing champion of Canada." Like a flash Philip was around the counter with his two fists up in front of him -- "Well, prepare to lose your title
amac!" Go maire tu an chead agus aon, Philip! An interesting question came up during a recent discussion about the origins of the placename -- Coolough. Is it the Irish word Culog -- which means "hidden corner," or is it "Cul Du Locha" meaning the two lakes. Any ideas! T.K.