Family pays tribute to local historian Murphy

THE family of local historian, Gabriel Murphy, has paid tribute to him following his death.

Gabriel, who passed away aged 93 earlier this month, had a keen interest in the history of Fermanagh – especially with his research into the past of Enniskillen Workhouse.

Born in Queen Street, Enniskillen in 1929 to Bridget and Frank Murphy, Gabriel was one of six children along with brothers Tommy, Frank, Dessie and Paul and sister Patricia.


Gabriel met his wife Sheila in Newtownbutler in 1959 and they were married a year later having two children, Barry and Joanne. He would also become a grandfather to James and Rachel.

He worked as an Industrial Sales Rep for Calor Gas, retiring in 1987 and also served as a Justice of the Peace.

But it was the history of Fermanagh that was his passion.

A family statement read: “His main interest was local history and he became interested in this when he discovered the Paupers’ Graveyard in Cornagrade in 1951.

“He got involved in researching the history of Enniskillen Workhouse and contributed a chapter to, ‘Workhouses of the North West’, which was released in 1996.

“Gabriel was one of the people involved in getting a memorial stone erected at the site of the Erne Hospital as a mark of respect to all those who died in the Workhouse.

“He was part of a small group which produced ‘A Dander Down the Streets’ and another which put together ‘Yesterday Once More’.


“His final project, (which was) a labour of love for him, was researching and writing the book ‘Fare Thee Well Inniskilling’ published in 2003, which was his recollections of Enniskillen from 1930 to 2000.”

Gabriel had other interests including playing football for the County team in his early 20s. He also enjoyed playing basketball, squash and swimming and would later run in the Enniskillen 10k.

He was a founder member of Enniskillen Angling Club at Drumcrow and renovated an old wooden boat which he named “Cracklin Rosie” on which he and his family enjoyed many days on Lough Erne.

The family statement continued: “He was very happy to take his place on all types of local committees giving his opinion on how things could and should be run.

“He also dabbled in the dramatic arts and took part in the panto with the Lakeland Players in the early 90’s. He played the part of the giant in ‘Jack in the Beanstalk’.”

Gabriel’s health declined during the last year of his life and he passed away peacefully in the Graan Nursing Home on January 4, 2023.

He is survived by his wife Sheila and his children Barry and Joanne, daughter-in-law Pauline, son-in-law Jerry and grandchildren James and Rachel.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA