John A. Murphy was Professor of Irish History at University College Cork, independent member of the Irish Senate during a turbulent period, and an influential contributor to public debate over many decades, especially in relation to the crisis in Northern Ireland.
Thus, it features academic essays by former students, Maurice Bric, Liam Irwin, Maura Cronin and Laurence M. Geary, together with essays and tributes from former colleagues, Joe Lee, Desmond Clarke and Tom Dunne. These reflect Professor Murphy's own diverse research interests, ranging from seventeenth-century politics and ideology, to nineteenth-century religion and society, to twentieth-century nationalism. The essay by his daughter, Cliona Murphy marks, not only the passing of the flame to another generation, but a recent collaboration in research and writing. Contributions by Emmet Larkin, Lawrence J. McCaffrey, James S. Donnelly Jr, and Owen Dudley Edwards celebrate key friendships and honour his role in promoting Irish Studies in the United States of America and Great Britain, and in establishing the Irish Studies International Summer School at UCC. His political contribution is honoured by Conor Cruise O'Brien and Eoghan Harris, while a poem by Paul Durcan, reflections on Irish traditional music by Tomas Ó Canainn and an engaging memoir by Ruth Dudley Edwards and Una O'Donoghue mark other aspects of the public man.
The listing of John A. Murphy's publications include his more important newspaper and periodical contributions, his Senate and other significant public speeches, as well as his scholarly writings..