Lieut. Col. Austin Crowe pictured with his old schoolmaster
Mister Aidan Murray in 1989 at a local history
conference in the Scots Church, Carlow, the event was organised
by Carlow County Heritage Society.
Appreciation of Mr. Murray's life and times from the owner / editor of
the Nationalist and Leinster Times, the highly regarded, Liam D. Bergin,
and an Appreciation from the legendary schoolmaster Sean O'Leary, which
was published in Carloviana 1989 and abbreviated by me in 2008 for
publication on the Carlow IGP website.
Nationalist and Leinster Times.
November 1988. (front page).
Mourns A Brilliant Carlovian.
death on Wednesday, October 26th, of Mr. Aidan Murray, Dublin Street,
Carlow, removed one of the county's most brilliant and colourful
all over the country and even further afield for his exhaustive
knowledge of education, of the arts and the Irish language and culture,
he was also recognised as a man of sparkling wit who had a never-ending
fund of stories and anecdotes.
Mr. Murray taught for over 40 years in Carlow Christian Brothers'
School, held many important posts in the Irish National Teachers
Association and was a delegate to the organisation's annual conference
on several occasions.
also a long-time member of Carlow Vocational Committee.
for music brought him into early prominence through his participation in
the now legendary annual production of Gilbert and Sullivan operas and
as accompanist at the numerous concerts which were so much a part of the
social scene in Carlow in the '40s and '50s.
with St. Fiacc's Graiguecullen men's choir in the early '40s is well
remembered. He brought this talented group to national prominence
through national radio broadcasts and guest appearances in many parts of
founder member of the Old Carlow Society, former co-editor with Liam D.
Bergin of the society's journal "Carloviana" and secretary for many
years of the Old Carlow Feis Committee, he contributed of his time and
talents to every organisation that was for the benefit of the community.
remains were brought to the Cathedral of the Assumption on Friday
evening and were received by the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Dr.
Laurence Ryan, and by priests from various parts of the diocese.
principal celebrant at con-celebrated Mass on Saturday was Bishop
Patrick Lennon who, in his homily, described Aidan Murray as an
out-and-out Carlow man who had devoted himself to the education of
generations of boys who remember him with gratitude and affection.
Enthusiastic For Popular Good
were asked to pick one word to describe Aidan Murray," said Dr. Lennon,
"I would choose the word 'enthusiastic'." Aidan was enthusiastic about
everything that was for the good of the people and the area," he said.
enthusiasm, he bubbled over, his words tumbled over one another as he
tried to bring others to share in his own enthusiasm..."
Lennon spoke also of Aidan Murray's "nostalgia for the past."
loved the majestic simplicity and the haunting beauty of the old church
music -- the Gregorian Chant -- and although he had bowed to the changes
in church liturgy after Vatican II and had given them his full loyalty,
he felt that while there was gain, there had also been loss.
Lennon said it was their prayer that the soul of Aidan Murray would
enjoy rest and that the Lord would welcome him into the embrace of His
at the graveside were said by Rev. Willie Byrne and a guard of honour on
both occasions was provided by boys from the CBS, who also sang the
hymns at Mass. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
AN APPRECIATION -
D. Bergin, owner / editor of the Nationalist and Leinster Times].
Murray, who has gone to his eternal reward, was the life-long friend of
many in Carlow and much farther afield. I count myself fortunate to have
been a close friend of Aidan and his wife and family for the best part
of over half-a-century.
He was a
gifted teacher and a man of rare intellect; an outstanding master in the
classroom and a respected scholar outside it.
Generations of his pupils at Carlow Christian Brothers regarded him as
both a mentor and a friend.
all his life to the young he remained young at heart himself.
firmly to his Christian faith and practice.
friends were all manner of people, famous and not so famous, poor and
rich. They hailed from all over Ireland, Britain, America, Continental
Europe and elsewhere.
still young, he cycled over most of Ireland, north and south, visiting
old friends and making new ones through his love of literature and
He had a
deep knowledge of our heritage from Gael and Gall, from Bardic Poems to
vocal and instrumental "sean-nůs".
as scholarly in Irish as in English, both oral and written.
Murray was an alumus of Carlow Christian Brothers' school and St.
Patrick's College, Drumcondra, Dublin.
first teaching post was in Bray, where he planned to pursue further
studies towards a degree at UCD. The premature death of his father meant
his return to Carlow to teach at the CBS and direct the family business.
hopes of university study were frustrated. Yet, he never ceased to be a
student of literature, history, metaphysics, music and countless other
subjects, especially the Irish language.
organised Feiseanna and innumerable other social events. His interest in
education, both primary, secondary and tertiary was reflected in his
becoming a long-standing member of the Carlow County Vocational
Education Committee, whose first executive officer was Bernard O'Neill,
also worked actively with CEO Austin Waldron to promote the concept of
vocational education at third-level and saw the first regional college
set up in Carlow.
Murray sons could hardly escape the intellectual atmosphere of their
"two teacher" home, for Madge Murray was a professional teacher also
before her marriage and later studied at University College Dublin. So,
the family grew up in an environment of books and learning.
Murray had built up an extensive and valuable library in both Irish and
English since the 1920s; many of his books are rare first editions.
Until the last months of his life he was a voracious reader of the best
of literature, poetry, history, philosophy, sacred scripture and
capable organiser, he was a staunch member of the INTO and later
secretary of the Retired Teachers' Association.
He was a
founder member of the Old Carlow Society and of the Carlow Arts Council
and was an active member of Carlow Rugby Club.
life's interests were numerous and diverse, stretching from metaphysics
to the sports field. He found time to write many articles, book reviews
and obituaries for The Nationalist.
only touch on his extensive and intellectual gifts in brief.
us who enjoyed his friendship and his quick sense of humour will miss
his presence and his stimulating personality.
of him I quote from the Sigerson translation from Gaelic of the
anonymous Lament for Eoghan Rua O'Neill :
shall count but a short, sad space.
'mid the saints, behold thy face...
the glory and peace forever;
with our God!" (Liam Diarmid Bergin.)
by Sean O'Leary. [abbreviated]
October, Carlow lost one of its most brilliant and popular sons when
Aidan Murray passed to his Eternal Reward in St. James' Hospital in
Dublin. Genuine regret was expressed by all who knew him.
was indeed a unique person. His interests were legion. One wondered how
he had time for all his activities.
years he was a dedicated teacher in Carlow CBS where he took a personal
interest in the progress of his pupils.
childhood, when he attended St. Leo's Convent for piano lessons, he took
a great interest in music.
trained school choirs; founded the Carlow Septet and Graiguecullen Male
Voice Choir both of which were often heard on Radio and in concerts in
many parts of the country; he was a member of Carlow Operatic Society;
he was an accomplished accompanist at concerts and socials; he rarely
missed Musical Festivals in Wexford and other centres, and he had a
comprehensive collection of records, tapes and musical works.
He was a
founder member of The Old Carlow Society, and for some years was Joint
Editor with Liam D. Bergin of "Carloviana".
He had a
wonderful knowledge not only of Carlow and the rest of Ireland but, due
to his extensive travels, of Britain and the Continent.
He was a
veritable encyclopedia of information. He regularly attended lectures,
and was always ready to add further detail to that given by the
He was a
gifted Irish scholar and was one of the organisers of the great
Feiseanna in the '20s and '30s and the St. Partrick's Day Concerts. He
was an avid reader of prose and poetry.
He was a
life-long member of Carlow Rugby Club in which he held various offices.
He seldom missed a big match in Landsdowne Road. To mark their
appreciation of his services Carlow Rugby Club recently made him a
years too Aidan was a member of Carlow Golf Club and Carlow Rowing Club.
shop in Dublin Street which for decades was The Sweet Shop of Carlow,
Aidan was a bright, pleasant and obliging salesman. His fund of stories
and anecdotes was an added attraction for the customers.
years he was an active member of Committees for various objects. He
certainly played a man's part in the life of his native town.
death leaves a void in Carlow. [Sean O'Leary].
same edition of Carloviana, Veronica Crombie, the Chairperson of The Old
Carlow Society, adds:-
" As we
go to Press, we are saddened to learn of the passing of one of the
stalwarts of the Old Carlow Society, Mr Aidan Murray, who was a founder
member of the Society, will be sadly missed not only by his friends in
the Society but by every Carlovian who had the privilege of knowing him.
To his wife, Madge and family we extend our deepest sympathy. I
bhfllaitheas De go raibh a anam".
boxed section it was recorded that Aidan was mourned by his wife Madge,
sons, Ciaran, Aidan, Paul and Oliver, sister, Biddy, grandchildren,
daughters-in-law, nephews, nieces, and relatives.
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