Miss Catherine "Kate" Murphy

Miss Catherine "Kate" Murphy from Aghnacliffe, Co Longford, Ireland, was born on 13 September 1893 [1], one of thirteen children [2] born to Michael Murphy and Mary Lyons. She and her siblings were baptised in the Parish of Dromand.

Catherine's mother was often sick, and her father had died when they were young, so their oldest brother was head of the family. He was very overbearing and gave the girls little freedom. Catherine, and her elder sister Margaret Jane had two sisters and a brother already living in America and they wished to go also; but their brother would not permit them to.

Their neighbours bought third class tickets for themselves on the Titanic, and then secretly bought tickets for Kate and Margaret as well. When the boys left for Queenstown Kate and Margaret came with them, pretending that they were planning just to see them off on their journey to America.

Kate and Margaret Murphy boarded the Titanic at Queenstown as third class passengers (ticket number 367230, 15, 10s). Catherine and Margaret shared cabin 161 on E-deck with Kate Gilnagh and Kate Mullen.

Later Catherine and Margaret would talk about how being on the Titanic was one of the greatest things that they had ever been able to do. They remembered having particularly enjoyed parties in the third class public rooms.

On the night of the sinking, Kate and Margaret were getting ready for bed when their neighbours came to their room to tell them what had happened. Neither of them had felt the impact and didnt realise anything was amiss. On their way to the lifeboats Kate and Margaret, as well as Kate Gilnagh and Kate Mullen were held back at a gate by a determined crewman. They were allowed through when James Farrell yelled "Great God, man! Open the gate and let the girls through!" The crewman complied. Kate and Margaret eventually found their way, after being separated from Kate Gilnagh, to the Boat Deck where they were helped into(probably) lifeboat 16. [3]

After their arrival in New York the sisters were sent to St. Vincent's Hospital for recuperation. Their siblings, Patrick, of Yonkers, Annie, of Liberty, and Bridget, (called Briggie) [4], came to collect them. Kate and Margaret were very sad to find out that their neighbours, the Kiernans, had died on the ship, as well as James Farrell, the man who had saved them. The sisters also had to send their mother knowledge of their safety because she was in hysterics that they had supposedly perished.

After the disaster Kate married a man named Guilfoyle and had three children: Marie, Michael and Rita (Rita is still living).

Catherine 'Kate' Murphy Guilfoyle, unlike her sister, never liked to discuss the Titanic. She died in 1968.

1. Catherine's age is often listed as 17. She was in fact 18 in April 1912.
2. Ssome of Catherine's siblings were: Patrick (b. 20 March 1879), Margaret Jane (b. 24 Sept 1886), James (b. 2 April 1881), Bridget ("Briggie"), D. [?] (b July 4, 1889), Michael (b. December 19, 1882), Annie, Mary (b. March 8, 1892), Rose Helen (b. March 16, 1884). Another child named Catherine was also born to Michael and Mary Murphy on June 3, 1889: she appears to have died prior to 1893.
3. Some sources place them in lifeboat 14.
4. Margaret Catherine McGrath believes that it was their sister Rose Helen who came to collect them at New York.

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Noel Ray (1999) List of Passengers who Boarded RMS Titanic at Queenstown, April 11, 1912. The Irish Titanic Historical Society

Erin Garry (great-granddaughter of Kate Murphy)
Margaret Catherine McGrath (descendant of Catherine and Margaret Murphy)

Cameron Bell, Northern Ireland
Noel Ray, Ireland

Articles and Stories

New Titanic Themed Church Stained Glass Window for Lahardane, Ireland's Titanic Village




New York Times  (1912) 


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    (2015) Catherine "Kate" Murphy Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #1056, accessed 2nd July 2015 01:32:03 PM)

    URL : http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/catherine-kate-murphy.html