Rory also had a lifelong and passionate interest in the history and heritage of Co. Wexford. He was a founder member of Bunclody Historical Society and was actively involved in researching local and family history. He served as a prominent contributor to Comoradh '98, the bicentennial commemoration of the 1798 rebellion and was a member of the reconvened Wexford Senate.
In the late 1980s and early 90s, he co-directed a FAS Teamwork Scheme under the aegis of Glór na Gael, Bunclody, with Ken Hemingway and others, in the production of a series of booklets recording the gravestone inscriptions of several cemeteries In the Bunclody and adjoining areas.
Much in demand as a compiler of local publications, Rory was tireless in his work on the board of the Askamore Parish Journal, while also frequently contributing to local journals with articles on history and genealogy.
He also penned 'Ten Generations of the Handricks of Mount Leinster in 1992 and 'The Battle of Newtownbarry' in 1998.
With Eamonn Whelan he produced' A Christian calling: religious life and Christian death in Clonegal parish,' in 2000, and later, two volumes of 'The Wexford Gentry' with Art Kavanagh, tracing the origins and history of 24 Wexford families, which were published in 1994 and 1996.
Rory served also as a member of the Uí Cinnseallaigh Society and founded with others the Bunclody Story Telling Society. Also in his locality, he distinguished himself on the Board of the Local Amenities Group acting as secretary, a position he also filled with the Bunclody Horticultural Society, ever since he had been involved as a founding member. He served with this organisation for a total of 48 of its 51 years.
Nor did. his talents and interests, many as they were, end here. A keen follower of the GAA, he served as Club Secretary with. HWH-Bunclody
GAA Club, .as Vice chair of the Wexford Co. Board and as District Chair of the Enniscorthy GAA Committee at different times.
Five decades as a councillor
He was also a member of the Council Council serving a vast number of terms since he was first appointed in 1967, missing out in elections only twice, once in 1971, and the latter time, after being moved from the Gorey to Enniscorthy area a relatively short time before the last Election. He was later co-opted back on the Council, however, after the resignation of Michelle Sinnot.
A special meeting was convened in order to pay tribute to Rory by his fellow Councillors prior to the funeral taking place in Kilmyshall on Saturday morning. Held in the Wexford Co. Council Offices on the Old Dublin Road. Chairman Lorcan Allen said Rory's abilities had gone far beyond the defined role of a councillor. Citing his many achievements, he was joined by his fellow councillors in paying tribute to one who they remembered as a skilful negotiator, a balancer, a gentleman and, above all, a friend.
The Councillors were joined in expressing their sympathies to the Murphy family by Morgan Dunne of the VEC who recalled growing close to Rory after he had joined the Board. Rory had been made Chair after serving for three years, something Mr. Dunne said showed how dedicated a member, and how very appreciated he had been.
Many tributes have been received by The Echo regarding Rory's passing over the past number of days, but one in particular, perhaps summed up his achievements more than any.
Citing his activities with Macra na Feirrne, the directors of the Board of WORD said they will very much feel the absence of "a pioneer in rural development whose example is an inspiration and guidance to us all."
The remains of the deceased were removed from his home at Ballinavocran at 7 0' Clock on, Friday night and taken to the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Kilmyshall. His funeral mass was celebrated at 12 noon on Saturday followed by interment at Calvary Cemetery. Chief celebrant at the Mass was C.S.S.P. Fr. Frank Murphy, Rory's brother, who returned from Recife in Brazil to perform the ceremony. The homily was given by C.C. Fr. Paul Butler.
Speaking at the cemetery, fellow party member, John Browne T.D. described Rory as a friend and a mentor. "His contribution both locally and nationally was immense," said Mr. Browne, before going on to outline some of Rory's achievements with the many organisations on which he served. "He was a great orator and a great contributor, but despite all his interests, he was one of whom it could be said, he never played politics. He had a great love and loyalty to the Fianna Fail party but he was never afraid to cross the political divide if he thought it would be of benefit to the people.
Despite the enormous amount of his time, Rory devoted to public life, Mr. Browne continued that it was well known the deceased was at his happiest when at home with his family.
"Rory was a great family man," said Mr. Browne, "and happiest in the Slaney Valley beside the streams of Bunclody surrounded by his family and friends. He was also a great personal friend to me for the past 30 years and always there in the capacity of an advisor and mentor. I will sorely miss him," said Mr. Browne before extending his own and the sympathies of everyone in the party to Rory's family. '
The deceased is survived by his daughters: Máirín Kehoe (Cametigue, Bunclody); Paula Redmond (Gurteen, Bunclody); Barbara Ann Murphy (Ballinavocran, Bunclody); and Fidelma Murphy (Bunclody and UK); sons: Rory Og Murphy (Church Rd. Bunclody) and Frank Murphy (Enniscorthy and Kenya); and grandchildren: Emma; Shane; Dean; Cathal; Muireann; Bobby; Jamie; Neal; and Aoibhe. Brothers: Phil; Fr. Frank; Stephen; John; Dan; Tony; Tom; Kevin; and Aidan; and sisters: Maureen; Joanne; Irene (Sr. Mary Rita); Pearl and Noreen.
Rory Murphy will rightfully be remembered as a public servant in the truest sense of the word, a selfless and tireless worker on behalf of others, he devoted his life to the public good, with Bunclody, itself, left to stand as a monument to his life and his passing.