Henry Murphy

Posted by Sue Leonard on Saturday 19th September 2020

Henry wrote a bit when he was at university, but then life intervened.

“After college, I went to India with Voluntary Service Overseas. I stayed for a year, teaching English near Calcutta.

When he returned, he became a barrister. But the idea of writing was niggling away.

“When I was in my mid-forties, I got an idea for a series – A Rumpole of the Bailey kind of thing,” he says. “I set it around a young barrister in Dublin, and I got a book of stories together.”

An Eye on the Whiplash, the first of the ‘Dermot McNamara’ series was published in 1997. The second and third came out in 2000, and 2008.

In 2014, Henry felt like a change.

“I’d had 40 years at the bar,” he says. “My publisher had once said, ‘have you a novel in you.’ I decided to go to Spain for a year, and to try and write one.

“I had no plan to stay on longer,” he says. “But after that year I retired from the Bar. My wife Mary and I are still here.”


Who is Henry Murphy? 

Date of birth:  1949 in Dublin.

Education:  St Mary’s Rathmines; University College Dublin, English; King’s Inns, Law.

Home: Canillas De Albaida, Spain.

Family: Wife, Mary. Six children aged between 45 and 30. Three grandchildren, including twins.

The Day Job: Retired Barrister, now a fulltime writer.

In Another Life: “I’d like to have been a writer throughout – but I’m delighted to be giving it a bash now. And I’d loved to have played more Rugby.” (He toured with the Irish Rugby Team in Argentina in 1970.)

Favourite Writers: Ian Gibson; George Eliot; Henry James; Bill Bryson.

Second Novel: “I have a fourth collection of stories almost ready to go.”

Top Tip: “You need perseverance. Editing is vital. Don’t be embarrassed about tearing it up.”

The Debut: Tilting at Windmills. Orpen Press: €15.00 Kindle: €6.65. 

Mark was almost 64. A barrister, he’d always wanted to write. So, he took a year out in Spain to write a novel, about a journalist going to Spain to write a novel. But with all the distractions of life in Andalusia, will he meet his deadline?


The Verdict: An utter delight. Heart-warming and funny.


Published in The Irish Examiner on 22nd August.

© Sue J Leonard. 2020.

One comment so far

  • I’ve just finished Tilting at Windmills and absolutely adored it. I’ve recently bought a property on the Campo just 5 minutes from Canaillas de Albaida and I was so delighted to
    find Henry’s book in Salamandre in Competa. Nearly died at the price but oh my goodness it was worth it. Any chance of a follow up??

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