IT’S been a number of years since The Echo met up with the Murphy quads, who live in Riverstick, Co Cork.
In the early days, those interviews were all talk about the 45 experts who delivered them at the Erinville hospital, born 13 weeks premature and collectively weighing just eight and a half pounds.
We marvelled at mum and dad’s marathon 36 nappy changes a day and 24 feeds, or the four hours it took to get them ready for their Holy Communion day, as they shared details of their busy family life over the years.
“Pure madness” is how mum Brenda described it at the time… but she and husband Pat wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Now old enough to talk for themselves, in their latest interview, the four young women, who are now aged 17, chat about what they want to study in college, the career paths they want to follow, as well as their current part-time jobs and hobbies — from dancing to reading, social media and camogie.
Shauna, Kellie, Amy and Katie, now aged 17, were born on January 22, 2002 — they joined their brother Cian at the family home in Riverstick, just outside Carrigaline and Kinsale.
The girls are about to embark on their Leaving Cert year this September, at Kinsale Community School.
What strikes me when I meet these young women is that they are all so different — the way they look, their personalities, their likes and dislikes. Many people may assume that the sisters are carbon copies of each other, given they were born quadruplets, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Their individualism is something that their parents have nurtured and encouraged over the years and the results are obvious.
The girls don’t know what all the fuss is about, when people find out they are quads — they say they are just like any other four sisters — the only difference being that they are all in the same class!
They may be very different to each other, but they share a common bond and describe themselves as ‘friends for life’ who will always have each other to fall back on.
Here we tell you a little bit about each of the girls...
It seems like no task is too big or too small for Shauna. During our interview her sisters and mum tell me stories of how she can turn her hand to anything.
There’s stories of her pulling up the garden decking in preparation for a patio going down, she’s also credited with doing some of the sisters’ make-up for The Echo photo shoot.
She’ll be the first to get her driving licence shortly — already her sisters are promising her €5 if she brings them to McDonalds, or work, or camogie training!
Mum says that if anything new comes into the house, be it technology or a flatpack, Shauna is on it.
She’s great around the house, helping with dinners — putting all the skills she’s learned in Home Economics to good use. She also likes baking and sewing and recalls winning an entrepreneur of the future award in West Cork for her cushion-making mini- company.
Each of the sisters have their own individual hobbies. Shauna studies dance — hip hop — at Lucy French School of Dance in Kinsale, which she started in primary school, gave up, but picked it up again in third year. She loves the show they do at the end of the year, especially watching the other classes showcase their dancing skills. She is the only sister that does dance, and says it is good to have own thing to do.
Shauna has a part-time job in Centra in Riverstick, where Amy also works.
“The people there are very nice,” she says.
In school she is studying English, Irish, Maths, German, Accounting, Business and Home Economics.
As to the future: “I am thinking of doing an apprenticeship with business, maybe business supply chain or accountancy.”
When I asked her siblings to describe their sister, they said: “She does things for us.”
And she never holds a grudge: “She’ll get angry if you have a fight — then she say ‘I’m making pasta… do you want some...’”
They list off all the endless things she does for them — from make-up, to hair, to making their food. In a previous interview, aged just one, Shauna could be found regularly opening the oven door! So some things haven’t changed...
Camoge is one of Amy’s greatest passions. She plays with Sliabh Rua Camogie and agrees with the 20x20 campaign to encourage more women to participate in sport.
She has been playing with the club for six or seven years — and is the only Murphy sister to do so.
The wing-back / corner back says: “I am the only one that does it, which is good. If they did it, I think I’d kill them.”
She said not many girls are playing any more at her age, but she finds it encouraging that the numbers of younger kids taking part is growing.
“I am involved in refereeing, the GAA Go Games — so it is nice to see there is a load of younger girls joining the club, it’s nice to see them playing camogie.”
When we asked Amy back in 2010 what she wanted to be when she grew up, she said a teacher, and it seems she is sticking to her guns — she wants to be an Irish and German secondary school teacher and study at UCC.
In Kinsale Community School she is currently studying English, Irish, Maths, History, Geography, German and Business. Languages are her main interest.
“I wanted to be a primary school teacher but went on TY experience and didn’t really like it. You have to look after the kids! I think I would prefer to do the subjects I like, German and Irish.” she said.
“And more holidays too!” her mum added.
Amy continued: “I always wanted to be a teacher, since I was young.”
She has set her sights on studying in UCC.
“I don’t think I could leave (home) … Shauna does everything for me…” she laughs.
And there is camogie to think about.
“I hate missing training.”
Amy also works in Centra in Riverstick and, due to her sporting connections, knows so many people.
“I get to talk to everyone that comes in. I’d know everyone in there. Everyone knows everyone.”
When I asked her sisters to describe Amy, there was silence… were they lost for words?
“Will I do it myself, “ Amy piped up.
Which led them all to agree that “she can be really funny.”
“I give good advice, don’t I?” she asks them.
“But you never takes our advice,” another retorts.
What they do all agree on is that Amy always takes the longest to get ready.
Funny, bubbly and very talkative is how her sisters describe Kellie, and as our interview goes on, I can see that is true.
But when her sisters jokingly describe her as “loud, argumentative, and opinionated…’ she retorts: ‘That’s mean!” But she’s in total agreement with her sisters when they clarify that she “speaks her mind”.
“I never shut up basically.”
Kellie and Katie, who share a room, are book worms.
Kellie says: “I read a lot. I think we have 216 books.”
In particular she likes mysteries and quotes Sharp Objects as one of her favourites.
“I spend a lot of my time on my phone, too much,” she says — on social media and messaging friends.
Mum describes her as a walking history volume, and great for writing stories.
In school she is studying English, Irish, Maths, German, History, Religion, and Biology. Her favourite subjects are History and English.
“I would love to study History and English, but don’t know if you get a job out of that.”
She gets a giggle when I point out that’s exactly what I studied!
“I was going to say journalism — but I heard it is very tough to get into.”
When we asked her years ago what she wanted to be, she said a cook — when we recalled that during this interview, there was much laughter from her sisters.
“She does the least cooking around here…” one of them quips.
Kellie also has a part time job and works in SuperValu Grange.
“She is the sister everyone likes” — that is what her siblings said when asked to describe their sister.
“Thanks’ says another sarcastically to that.
But then they all agree: “She is everyone’s favorite sister. She gets on with everyone. She really cares and helps you out with everything.”
Katie is an animal lover, she helps out in the grooming parlour next door and brought home a dog, Bailey, the day she finished her Junior Cert.
The family have another dog too, Tia — both pets are treated like humans, the sisters said — they are fed from the kitchen table and get to sleep in someone’s bed.
Katie wants to be a dog groomer when she finishes school, and says one day she hopes to run her own business.
Her interests also include reading, while her favourite subject in school is art — she is also studying Irish, English, Maths, French, Ag Science and Biology.
After finding out about the girls individually, we then have a collective chat about their favourite memories — as suggested by Kellie — that’s the journalist coming out!
There are tales recalled of hitting each other in the head with hurleys and broken arms …
“Let’s focus on the good memories,” one of the sister’s pipes up. “All the birthdays together with our families… Even doing interviews with The Echo — and all the different pictures over the years…”
Here's an archive of some of the pictures taken by The Echo from over the years:
The Murphy Quads, (l. to r.) Kellie, Katie, Shauna and Amy all set for their first Christmas at home in Riverstick.Pic: Brian LougheedThe Murphy quads ready for their second Christmas at home in Riverstick having some fun in the garden (from left) Shauna, Amy, Katie and Kellie. /Pic: Brian LougheedThe Murphy quads from Riverstick looking forward to their third Christmas, from left: Shauna, Amy, Katie and Kellie. /Pic: Brian Lougheed /MURPHY QUADS 05
The Murphy quads celebrating their fourth birthday, from left: Katie, Shauna, Amy and Kellie.Pic: Brian Lougheed