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Born: 29 July 1905, Ahakista, Bantry, County Cork
Entered: 31 August 1923, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 24 June 1937, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1942, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 20 December 1984, Dublin, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin
Editor of An Timire, 1949-71.
by 1939 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) making Tertianship.
◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 60th Year No 1 2 1985
An tAthair Seosamh Ó Murthuile (1905-1923-1980)
Fr Joseph Hurley
Born 29th July 1905. Entered SJ on 31st August 1923. 1923-25 Tullabeg, noviciate. 1925-28 Rathfarnham, juniorate. 1928-31 philosophy (1928-30 in Milltown, 1930-31 in Tullabeg). 1931-34 Clongowes, regency. 1934-38 Milltown Park, theology (ordained a priest, 24th June 1937). 1938-39 St Beuno's, tertianship.
1939-'46 Clongowes, teaching. 1946-'61 Tullabeg, writing. Editing An Timire (Gaelic ‘Messenger of the Sacred Heart') from c. 1950. Same occupations in Gardiner Street (1961-62), Belvedere (1962-68) and Milltown Park (1968-82) where he gave up on the editorship of “An Timire” c 1971. He was listed as an assistant editor, nevertheless, until 1982. The Gaelic form of his name was used by the Province catalogues only from 1976 on; previously the form used was Joseph Hurley. The last 2.5 years of his life he spent in Cherryfield Lodge nursing unit.
Fr Joe Hurley passed to the Lord on 20th December 1984. Having lived with him for twenty early years of our Jesuit lives, I retain very clearly the memory of Joe at our most revealing period of life. As I recall his virtues and few faults, the first thing I must mention is his charity.He never offended in word or deed. I should add here, though, that he did fail in the virtue by omission. He was a heavy sleeper, especially in the morning, and left us the other scholastics to serve his as well as our own Mass. We used to be rather annoyed at this, and we let him see our annoyance too. Joe however took it all both humbly and penitently. Of course penitence should include a purpose of amendment, but he continued to snore and oversleep on occasions. The truth, though we hardly recognised it at the time, was that Joe was quite a genius, a poet and “dreamer of dreams”, and the strict regularity of scholasticate life was not for poets or dreamers of any kind. It hindered, I think, the flowering of Joe's great abilities.
Joe however made his way through the various stages of the well-meant training though without displaying any great love of philosophy or theology. His first and last love was Irish: and to Dark Rosaleen, in that mythical goddess who for him seemed to summarise all Irish history (or rather, her story) with the dark blemishes blotted out, he clung passionately all his life. I should say here that Joe was an intellectual in the French sense. He lived in and on matters of the mind. Being a poet, he spent much time versifying silently as he strolled around. He dreamed in Irish, he spoke it to all who knew it, he pushed his abnormal interest in things connected with it down your throat. It was all this that made Joe both lovable and exasperating. One admired the untiring devotion to a worthy object, but felt angry at having willy-nilly to share the enthusiasm. Of course he used the pen and wrote many articles both in Irish and English, for he was a real scholar in English too. Much of his writing however came later, when he had exchanged the classroom for the editorial office. He taught Irish and some English(which he hated to teach) for about ten years (regency and after tertianship), and he infused a great enthusiasm for Irish . into some - but not all - of his pupils. He really gave them indigestion by his over-emphasis on the subject. The truth was that he was never meant to be a teacher. It was like asking a racehorse to do the work of a carthorse. Superiors saw this after a time, and mercifully (from Joe's point of view) changed him to Tullabeg. This change finally severed my association with him.
As I try to summarise his character as I knew him, besides the charity I mentioned, I recall the good humour he displayed, and the brilliant limericks he composed to our intense amusement. He was always a pleasant companion, and never took offence. He would and did annoy one by his obsession with Irish, which revealed itself sooner or later in all his conversations. He showed no anger or feeling of hurt when he took a 'nasty dig' from a bored listener. It was this refusal to reply in kind, and his continued pleasant attitude to his teaser, which was Joe's most marked characteristic and one of the causes of his amiability.
I must leave it to someone else to draw up an account of Joe's life from 1946 on, as I never lived with him again. I am glad I had for so long an intimate relationship with him, and benefited greatly from it.
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Irish Song entitled 'Abdul an Bulbul-Aimír' Bionn fíor-chlann an fháid go fíochmhar san ár.
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