WATCH FREE: 50 minute documentary on 1920 War of Independence Patriot Joe Murphy #Cork

26 October 2020
By Mary Bermingham

The 1920’s as a decade saw many historic events in Cork. The Burning of the City Centre was just one. Attention now turns to the famous Lords Mayor of that decade: MacCurtain and MacSwiney


A new documentary and play on hunger striker, Joe Murphy is now live on Cork City Council’s YouTube channel. This community project was supported by Cork City Council and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media

The documentary/play package sheds light on Murphy, a man from Ballyphehane, who sacrificed his life on a hunger strike for fair trials.

Directed by Joe Murphy’s grandniece Shirley Kelleher, the documentary Joe Murphy, The Boy From Pouladuff, tells the courageous story of the young man, his family and their relentless efforts to honour his legacy.

My Unsung Hero is a play about the life of Joe Murphy and is written and produced by Maurice Dineen, co-written by Elizabeth Scanlon and directed by Catherine Mahon Buckley.The play is set around the kitchen table, where Joe Murphy’s mother, Nora Murphy recounts the adventures and challenges she and her son faced throughout the revolution.

In the late 1940s Cork City Council built a large new housing estate at Ballyphehane. Most of the roads in the new estate were named after prominent figures in the Irish War of Independence including local figures and one of these thoroughfares was named Joe Murphy Road in his honour as it was quite close to his home at Lower Pouladuff Road.

New website

A new webpage has been launched. It contains details of the City’s re-imagined (due to COVID19) commemorations programme and a reservoir of interviews with the families of and experts on some of the leading figures in Cork 1920.

Lord Mayor’s School visits

Meanwhile, The much-loved ‘Lord Mayor’s school visit’ was begun by Terence MacSwiney during his mayoralty in 1920. This year, the Lord Mayor, Cllr Joe Kavanagh cannot make physical visits to city schools, due to Covid-19 restrictive measures. Instead, he is offering a tree to every school in the city. The Cork 2020 trees will symbolise resilience, sustainability and hope. He will also give each school a copy of the book, ‘Witness to Murder’ by Kieran McCarthy and John O’Mahony – which is a transcript of the Tomás MacCurtain inquest from March and April 1920.

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