Friday, 25 October 2013

25 October 1920: IRA Volunteer Joseph Murphy [above] died in Cork Jail, on this day. He had been on a Hunger Strike for 76 days. For decades his fast was the longest on record anywhere in the World. He is buried in the Republican Plot in St. Finbarr's Cemetery in Cork City.

He was an avid sportsman who played hurling for the old Plunketts club in Togher and also enjoyed a game of road bowling on most Sunday mornings.

His life changed dramatically when he, along with many of his friends, joined the local company of the Irish Republican Army in the early stages of the War of Independence. Following a raid on his home on the night of July 15, 1920 he was arrested and imprisoned at Cork County Jail.

Two months later, he was one of a group of sixty Cork republicans - including Terence MacSwiney - who embarked on hunger strike. The mass protest captured the sympathy of the general public and large crowds congregated outside the jail gates each day, many reciting the rosary. However, after a fast lasting seventy-six days, twenty four year old Joe Murphy died.

Thousands attended his removal to the Lough Chapel. The funeral ceremonies were dominated by a strong British military presence and no more than a hundred people were allowed to follow the hearse to St. Finbarr’s Cemetery.

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