The first Ulster History Circle blue plaque to be unveiled in Newtownhamilton was watched by a large crowd of local people as well as invited guests who had travelled from other parts of the Island.
Tony Gildernew, the owner of the premises at 12 Dundalk Street, said that he was delighted and privileged to be associated with such an historic building, where on 20th April 1842, the young boy who later was to become the Archbishop of New York, was born.
In his opening speech, Chris Spurr, Chairman, Ulster History Circle, thanked Tony and the Creggan Historical Society for bringing the name of John Murphy Farley to the attention of the Circle, and also the former Newry and Mourne District Council who kindly provided the funding. Chris extended a very special welcome to the American Consul-General, Gregory S. Burton.
Speaking to the crowd, the Consul-General said it was wonderful to be able to commemorate at his birthplace, John Murphy Farley who as an Irishman had contributed so much to the history of America, and who had become the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in America’s greatest city New York.
Before unveiling the plaque to a son of Newtownhamilton, Monsignor Raymond Murphy said he was humbled to have been asked to unveil the plaque, and that the plaque had already attracted a huge cross-border community interest.
From small beginnings, John Murphy Farley had risen to great heights in the Catholic Church but had never forgotten his roots in South Armagh. He had returned to Newtownhamilton several times and had a memorial erected to his parents, as well as donating stained glass windows to St. Patrick’s Church in Cullyhanna and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh.
Irish Television covered the event and after the ceremony, guests enjoyed refreshments courtesy of the Gildernew family whilst listening to further tributes paid to the Newtownhamilton man who for 16 years until his death in 1918 had become the 4th Archbishop of New York, and who was made a Cardinal in 1911 by Pope St. Pius X. Aged 76, John Murphy Farley died in Long Island and was buried beneath the high alter of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Long Island, New York.
He will never be forgotten in his home village of Newtownhamilton.
Photographs from the Plaque unveiling – Left to right
- Local residents of Newtownhamilton and guests listen to the Mayor of Newry, Mourne and District Council, Naomi Bailie, in front of the birthplace of Cardinal John Murphy Farley.
- American Consul- General, Gregory S. Burton.
- Monsignor Raymond Murray who unveiled the blue plaque.
- Kieran McConville, Creggan Historical Society, Mayor Naomi Bailie of NMDC, Monsignor Raymond Murray, Chris Spurr, Chairman, Ulster History Circle, Gregory S. Burton, American Consul-General and Mary Comiskey, Chairperson, Creggan Historical Society.
- Anthony Gildernew, Chris Spurr, Mayor Naomi Bailie,and Mairead Ferguson, treasurer Ulster History Circle.