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Corofin Historical & Heritage Association have erected a monument to Fr. John Murphy and the local 40 shilling freeholders for their famous role in the O’Connell Election of 1828. Our picture shows Dr Maccon Macnamara, whose great grandfather Dr. Michael Macnamara attended Fr Murphy in 1831 when he was dying. Photograph by John Kelly

Corofin commemorates inspirational priest

At a well attended unveiling ceremony held in Corofin on Sunday last Dr Maccon Macnamara, President of Cumann Staire is Dúchais Chora Finne officially launched the Fr. Murphy and 40 Shilling Freeholders Memorial at the Creamery Cross.
Dr Macnamara praised the actions of Fr Murphy in seeking to extend equal rights to members of the Catholic Faith and said his actions as one of the leaders in the efforts to elect Daniel O’Connell, in the famous Clare Election of 1828, deserve to be remembered.
Fr Murphy, a Newmarket on Fergus native, served as Parish Priest in Corofin from 1818 to 1831 and proved his dynamism by building a church in the village in 1822, opening badly needed schools and standing up to a political system which allowed for discrimination against a very significant proportion of the population.
When he suffered an untimely death at the young age of 42 he was attended during his final illness by Dr Michael Macnamara, the great grandfather of Dr Maccon.
Cathaoirleach of Cumann Staire is Dúchais, Declan Kelleher said great courage was shown by the 40 shilling freeholders of the day in opposing their landlords’ instructions and voting for O’Connell despite the threat of evictions.
Leas-Chathaoirleach of Clare County Council Councillor Joe Killeen said that Corofin Village was now a village on the march, facing the future with confidence and taking on new challenges in terms of the use of heritage shopfronts, newly planned painted streetscapes and a greater environmental awareness.
The energy shown by Fr Murphy in his peaceful political campaigns could well be replicated nowadays in bringing about a new and vibrant village, Mr Killeen stated.
Ms Carmel Tierney of Kilnaboy Youth Club and Ms Rachel Louise Toone of Scoil Mhuire Náisiúnta outlined the story of Fr Murphy and his promotion of peaceful means as the only acceptable way of bringing about political change.
Roisín Neylon thanked all the parishioners for their generous financial support and also thanked Clare County Council for their grant aid. The Monument was blessed by Rev Damien Nolan and music for the occasion was supplied by pupils of Scoil Mhuire Náisiúnta.

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