John A. Murphy (born 17 January 1927) is an Irish historian and a former senator. He is currently Emeritus Professor of history at University College Cork (UCC).[1]

Murphy was born in Macroom, County Cork,[2] and has said he was very bookish as a boy. He won a County Council scholarship in 1945 to study history at UCC, and graduated in 1948 with a first-class honours degree and first place in both History and Latin. He took an MA in Cork before taking up a teaching post at the diocesan seminary at Farranferris in Cork city.

In 1960 he became an assistant lecturer at UCC, and was appointed Professor of Irish History in 1971, holding that chair until his retirement in 1990. His 1975 book Ireland in the Twentieth Century was one of the first surveys of contemporary Irish history.[3]

From 1977 to 1982, and between 1987 and 1993, Murphy represented the National University of Ireland constituency as an independent member of Seanad Éireann.[4][5] As a senator, he was noted for his advocacy of political and cultural pluralism. Earlier he had been a supporter of Noël Browne's Mother and Child Scheme.[1]

On 13 May 2015, in the run up to the Irish marriage equality referendum, he wrote to The Irish Times, describing the proposed constitutional amendment to permit same-sex marriage as "grotesque nonsense."[6]


  • Murphy, John A. (1975). Ireland in the Twentieth Century. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. ISBN 0-7171-0568-7.
  • Murphy, John A.; O'Carroll, J. P. (eds), De Valera and his times, Cork University Press, 1983. ISBN 0-7171-0568-7
  • Murphy, John A. (1995). The College : A history of Queen's/University College Cork, 1845-1995. Cork: Cork University Press. ISBN 1-85918-056-6.
  • Murphy, John A. (1995). Cuimhne dhá laoch : MacCurtain and MacSwiney. Cork: Cork Public Museum, 1995. ISBN 978-1-898168-13-3.


  1. ^ a b "Cork people see me as an ordinary guy". Irish Times, 3 March 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  2. ^ "This Much I Know". Irish Examiner, 11 February 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Essays in Honour of John A Murphy". Cork University Press. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  4. ^ "John A. Murphy". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 3 February 2008.
  5. ^ "History and the Public Sphere: Essays in Honour of John A Murphy". Cork University Press, 2005. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Marriage referendum". The Irish Times. 13 May 2015.