John Philpot Curran

‘John Philpot Curran was known as one of the greatest Barristers of the 18th Century.  He was known for his wit and brilliant quotations’

John Philpot Curran was born in 1750 in Newmarket at the Community Youth Ministry School (C.Y.M.S) hall. His mother’s name was Mary Philpot and his father’s name was James Curran. John Philpot Curran couldn’t choose between his parent’s surnames so he decided to put both names together and from then on he was known as John Philpot Curran. Throughout his life he was a sickly boy and consequently was unable to participate in any activities. Instead he read a lot to try and obtained a good education, as his family couldn’t afford it.

John Philpot Curran was a Catholic and one day met a Protestant priest named Parson Boyse who took a liking to John. It was unusual for a Protestant to be friends with a Catholic. John was very smart and didn’t refuse Parson Boyse when he offered to pay for his education.   In 1766 he went to secondary school in Midleton and in 1767 he went to Trinity College to become a priest, but after 6 months he changed his course to study Law.  Soon after he became a Barrister.

In 1778 he bought a house in Ratfarnham, Dublin and called it ‘The Priory’ after his homeland in Newmarket.

In 1780 a man named Lord Doneraile physically beat a girl and when a priest defended the girl he brutally horse-whipped the priest in front of a lot of people.  John decided to defend the priest and it was the first time a Lord had been beaten in a case which resulted in Lord Doneraile paying 30 guineas to the priest. In 1783 he became a member of the Grattan’s Parliament because his popularity had grown since the case against Lord Doneraile. While he was in Dublin he met a man named Lord Kilwarden who guided him as a barrister and they became great friends. Lord Kilwarden while fleeing rebels from his home on the outskirts of Dublin, was trapped by Robert Emmet’s rebels in the inner city.  He was pulled from his carriage and stabbed with pikes.

John Philpot Curran’s daughter Sarah was engaged to Robert Emmet. When John heard of Kilwarden’s murder he blamed Emmet for his death. He forbade Sarah from seeing him, but she disobeyed his orders and she was abandoned by her family. Robert Emmet was hung at the age of 25 for his part in the rebellion.

In 1817 John Philpot Curran died of old age and was buried in Dublin. His body was exhumed and reintered in Glasnevin, Dublin

Written on his tombstone is one of his quotes: “Evil Prospers when good men do nothing”I think John Philpot Curran lead a colourful life and is one of the most famous/historical people to come out of Newmarket and indeed Ireland. .

written by,Padraig o sullivan,6th


Category: English, Report
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