Cork postmaster retires after delivering to communty for 61 years

John Paddy Joe Murphy, dubbed the 'King of Kiskeam' left the post office for the last time over the weekend
Cork postmaster retires after delivering to communty for 61 years

Mary and John Murphy outside the post office in Kiskeam, Duhallow, Co Cork; Mr Murphy is retiring after 61 years as postmaster in the North Cork town. Picture: Larry Cummins

A community in North Cork has come out in their hundreds to honour their postmaster who has retired after an astonishing 61 years in the job.

The local brass band struck up as John Paddy Joe Murphy, dubbed the 'King of Kiskeam' left the post office for the last time over the weekend, with tributes pouring in for the 86-year-old's incredible contribution to his community.

Local Fianna Fail TD Michael Moynihan, who spoke on behalf of the community, said Mr Murphy had become postmaster the same year that John Fitzgerald Kennedy became US president.

He said Mr Murphy's motto was: 'Ask not what Kiskeam can do for you but what you can do for Kiskeam.'

He's been very active in the local Tidy Towns organisation, was involved heavily in fundraising for the GAA club and in building the community centre. 

He also ran the community Lotto up to the pandemic and is a noted local historian who helped many visitors find their roots.

Mr Murphy received a number of goodwill messages for his retirement from all over Ireland and from as far away as Sydney, Adelaide, and New York.

He thanked locals for their support for the post office over the years and pointed out he was the first generation in his family to live under Irish rule, adding that the sacrifice made by people to attain this should never be underestimated.

Mr Murphy said his position as postmaster gave him a unique insight into the trials and tribulations of a rural community.

He said he was “immensely proud” of the community he had served and for the gratitude they had shown him as he retired.

Just before he left the post office for the last time An Post officials audited the accounts, as is customary practice, and thanked him for the work he had done.

Flowers were presented to his wife, Mary, and to Ann O'Sullivan who also worked in the post office.

They along with a large crowd of locals then went to Kiskeam's 'Peace Park' where a bench was unveiled in his honour by members of the local community council.

It is inscribed with his name and thanks him for his years of dedication to the local community.

Parish priest Fr Jim Keneally made a speech there about Mr Murphy's outstanding contribution to life in the area and the band played 'A Nation Once Again' in his honour.

Fortunately, unlike several other villages throughout the country which have lost post offices due to such retirements, there is good news for Kiskeam.

An Post has managed to get another operator for village.

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