TC Murray - Novelist & Playwright Of Immense Talent In 20th Century
Born in the Muskerry barony of Macroom, Co. Cork, Tom Murray came from an era when storytelling and great folklore stories were prominent in households all over Ireland. Locals gathered at neighbours homes and often exchanged tales as a leisurely activity until after the fall of midnight and young Tom Murray relished such events.
One of a family of eleven children, his parents were from the gaeltacht speaking district of Kilanamartra and spoke Irish. They moved to Macroom to open a shop, flour and meal store and they also owned a town pub.
Tom acquired a deep passion for drama and a great Irish cultural tradition and went into the teaching profession as a young man.
Teaching in Cork schools at Carrignavar, Carrigtwohill and Rathduff and as Principle of the Model School, Inchicore, Dublin, he strived to bring to his pupils his own love of poetry and writing. It was within his own talents as a writer and playwright, that Tom Murray came to national prominence.
In Cork city he co-founded the Cork Little Theatre Company with other authors such as the famed Daniel Corkery and Con O’Leary and the heroic Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence McSweeney, who died on hunger strike at Brixton Prison, England in 1920. The group became known as The Cork Realists.
The new theatre soon blossomed and many who threaded its boards became household names in the 20 th century.
Murray won a bronze medal for Literature at the 1924 Paris Olympics for ‘Birthright’ a play central to hurling.
Amongst the many famous published worksof Tom Murray, the following best sellers contributed
to his eminence as a writer of renown.
‘Autumn Fire’ ;
‘The Briary Gap’ ;
‘Birthright’ ; and
Tom wrote over fourteen plays, novels and poems and many were translated into German, French, Japanese, Welsh and Breton.
As a novelist and playwright, Tom Murray was honoured by the National University Of Ireland with a Doctorate In Literature in 1949.
He was Director Of The Authors Guild Of Ireland and a member of the Irish Academy Of Letters and also President of the Irish Playwrights Association.
He continued writing for many years as an alternative to retirement and he spoke of the great joy he encountered as people of many countries found great wisdom and wit in his books.
Tom Murray died in 1959, aged eighty six years and left a legacy of literature to be appreciated by present and future generations around the universe.