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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)


Aidan Murray

Transcribed Oct. 2008 by Michael Purcell from schooldays scrapbook.


Mister Aidan Murray.

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.

With An 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.

4th November 1988. (front page).

Town Mourns A Brilliant Carlovian.

By Margaret O'Rourke.

The death on Wednesday, October 26th, of Mr. Aidan Murray, Dublin Street, Carlow, removed one of the county's most brilliant and colourful personalities. Known 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.

The late 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.

He was also a long-time member of Carlow Vocational Committee.

His love 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.

His work 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 the country.

A 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.

His 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.

The 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

"If I 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.

"In his enthusiasm, he bubbled over, his words tumbled over one another as he tried to bring others to share in his own enthusiasm..."

The Majestic Simplicity

Dr. Lennon spoke also of Aidan Murray's "nostalgia for the past."

He had 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.

Dr. 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 eternal love.

Prayers 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 -

[by Liam D. Bergin, owner / editor of the Nationalist and Leinster Times].

AIDAN 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.

Close all his life to the young he remained young at heart himself.

He held firmly to his Christian faith and practice.

His 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.

While still young, he cycled over most of Ireland, north and south, visiting old friends and making new ones through his love of literature and music.

He had a deep knowledge of our heritage from Gael and Gall, from Bardic Poems to vocal and instrumental "sean-nůs".

He was as scholarly in Irish as in English, both oral and written.

Aidan Murray was an alumus of Carlow Christian Brothers' school and St. Patrick's College, Drumcondra, Dublin.

His 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.

His 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.

He 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, M.Sc.

Aidan 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.

The four 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.

Aidan 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 "belles-lettres".

A 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.

His 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.

I can only touch on his extensive and intellectual gifts in brief.

Those of us who enjoyed his friendship and his quick sense of humour will miss his presence and his stimulating personality.

Thinking of him I quote from the Sigerson translation from Gaelic of the anonymous Lament for Eoghan Rua O'Neill :

"My days shall count but a short, sad space.
Till I, 'mid the saints, behold thy face...
Singing the glory and peace forever;
And we, with our God!" (Liam Diarmid Bergin.)

CARLOVIANA 1988.

Aidan Murray by Sean O'Leary. [abbreviated]

On 26th 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.

Aidan was indeed a unique person. His interests were legion. One wondered how he had time for all his activities.

For 40 years he was a dedicated teacher in Carlow CBS where he took a personal interest in the progress of his pupils.

From childhood, when he attended St. Leo's Convent for piano lessons, he took a great interest in music.

He 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 lecturer.

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 presentation.

For many years too Aidan was a member of Carlow Golf Club and Carlow Rowing Club.

In his 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.

Down the 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.

His death leaves a void in Carlow. [Sean O'Leary].

In the 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".

In a 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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