Civilian James Murphy


Civilian James Murphy (aged 25) of 20 Walshe’s Avenue, Blackpool, Cork city (Fever Hospital Hill, Cork city)

Date of incident: 10 Nov. 1922

Sources: Death Certificate (Cork Urban District No. 4, Union of Cork), 10 Nov. 1922; CE, 11, 13 Nov. 1922; FJ, 13, 14 Nov. 1922; II, 13 Nov. 1922; Evening Herald, 13 Nov. 1922; Murphy (2010), Appendix 2, 338; Keane (2017), 322-23, 419.


Note: James Murphy, a one-armed ex-British soldier, was one of two civilians wounded on the night of 10 November 1922 in the immediate aftermath of a sniping attack on the Victoria Military Barracks by IRA soldiers and in the context of a follow-up patrol by Free State troops in the Blackpool district of Cork city. Murphy was among a group of civilians standing at the corner near Messrs Murphy’s Distillery while a National Army patrol was carrying out searches a short distance away. It seems that Irregulars fired on this patrol, and that stray bullets hit Murphy and the other civilian, who was only slightly wounded. Murphy, on the other hand, was almost beyond help when he was brought to the North Infirmary with a gunshot wound in the right side of the chest near the liver. He died less than four hours after admission from shock and haemorrhage following his severe abdominal injuries. Witnesses at the subsequent court of military inquiry seriously doubted that the shots that struck the two civilians could have come from Victoria Barracks. (The public house outside which Murphy was shot was at the bottom of Fever Hospital Hill.) The court found that Murphy’s fatal abdominal injuries were ‘the result of a wound from a bullet fired by some person unknown in armed opposition to the National troops’, and that this person was guilty of wilful murder. See CE, 13 Nov. 1922.

James Murphy was in 1911 one of the four co-resident children of the widow and linen weaver Lizzie Murphy of 3 Walshe’s Avenue in Cork city. Living with her were three sons and one daughter. James Murphy (then aged 14) was the eldest of these three sons.

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