Born in Newtownhamilton, County Armagh in 1938, Father Raymond Murray studied at Maynooth College and was ordained in 1962. His first posting was to St Therese’s on the Glen Road, Belfast which at that time went as far as Hannastown and took in Turf Lodge. After that, Fr Murray was called back to Armagh and then went to live in Newry in Barrack Street. As well as his ordinary duties he was chaplain to the Good Shepherd convent and taught in the Technical school in Bessbrook for an hour each morning. He was in Monasterboice for two years before being recalled to Armagh in September 1967.
Besides his pastoral duties as a full time curate, Fr Murray was chaplain to St Luke’s Hospital and chaplain to the prisoners in Armagh Gaol which required him to send annual reports to the Northern Ireland Government.
Father Murray gave evidence at Strasbourg in the case the Irish Government brought against the UK over the Hooded Men, internment and beatings in custody. Over the next 25 years he continued to produce article highlighting the continued abuse of Catholics/Nationalists by the security forces. He wrote three books, Hard Time Armagh Gaol 1971-1986; The SAS in Ireland: State Violence Northern Ireland 1969-1997.
As time went on, the violence receded, eventually ending with ceasefires and the Good Friday agreement. This provided Fr Murray with the opportunity to concentrate his research and writings on other topics. He was a regular contributor to Seanchas Ardmhacha: Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society which he edited for a period. His other works include books on the history of the Archdiocese of Armagh, The Burning of Wildgoose Lodge and books on road bowling in Armagh.
In 1995, along with his friend and colleague, Fr Denis Faul, Father Raymond Murray was made a Prelate of Honour of His Holiness (Monseigneur) on 21 April 1995.
In 2018 Monseigneur Murray celebrated his 80th Birthday.
Further Biographical information:
Parents: Vincent Gerald and Kathleen Winifred Murray (née Marsh)
Education: St Patrick’s College Maynooth BA (NUI) 1958; BD 1961; Queens University Belfast MA 1964: PhD 1993
Clerical career: Curate St Teresa’s Parish Belfast 1962-62: Curate Clonoe, County Tyrone 1963-63; Chaplain Good Shepherd Convent, Newry County Down 1964-65; Curate Monasterboice, County Louth 1965-67; Curate St Patrick’s, Armagh 1967-1985; Administrator, St Patrick’s Cathedral Armagh 1985-1993; Chaplain, Womens Prison Armagh 1967-86; Sabatical year Nurnberg, Germany and Rome Italy 1993-94; Assistant Acting Parish Priest Killcluney, Assistant in Derrynoose 1994-95; Parish Priest Moneymore 1995-96; Parish Priest Holy Trinity Cookstown 1996-2007; Retired, voluntary pastoral activity.
Organisations: Founding Member and Chairperson Die Irsch – Frankische Geselleschaft/The Irish Franconian Society; Member of Association for Legal Justice 1971-1980; Founding Member and Chairperson of relatives for Justice 1990-2002.
Books other than political: Poetry in Irish – Athphreabadh na hÓige 1964; Arán ar an Tábla 1970; Lampaí Dearga 2005. History – ed. Irish Church History Today 2000; Editor; Seanchas Ard Mhaca – Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Society 1986-present; The Burning of Wildgoose Lodge 2005. Editor St Malachy’s Church, Armagh 75th Anniversary (1938-2013). Editor Féilscríbhinn Anraf Mhic Giulla Chomhailc 2011.
It is hoped to digitise these books in the near future and make them available on this website.