Anti-Treaty Soldier Patrick Murphy
Anti-Treaty Soldier Patrick Murphy (aged about 28) of Blarney Street, Cork city (Carrigrohane near Leemount Bridge)
Date of incident: 9 Sept. 1922
Sources: CE, 11, 12, 13, 15, 21 Sept. 1922; FJ, 22 Sept. 1922; Death Certificate (Cork Urban District No. 6, Union of Cork), 12 Sept. 1922; List of IRA interments (Boole Library, UCC); Rebel Cork’s Fighting Story, 25; O’Farrell, Who’s Who, 218; Cork One Brigade (1963), Roll of Honour; Last Post (1976 ed.), 97; Mitchell (1993), 68; Henchion (2001), 143-44; Borgonovo (2011), 147, fn. 30; Keane (2017), 304, 417; An t-Óglách, ‘War Special’, ‘Day by Day’, 16 Sept. 1922, p. 3, http://antoglach.militaryarchives.ie/PDF/1922_09_16_Vol_IV_No_15_An_t-Oglac.pdf (accessed 7 July 2017).
Note: The shooting of an anti-Treaty soldier at Carrigrohane near the Leemount Bridge (about 4 miles west of Cork) on Saturday morning, 9 September 1922, remained mysterious for almost two weeks, until the return to Cork city of an ‘Irish Volunteer and his civilian companion’, who had been held prisoner ‘by the Irregulars by whom they were attacked’. After their escape they provided vital information about the fatal wounding of Anti-Treaty Soldier Patrick Murphy and about the lesser injury to Murphy’s comrade named Sullivan.
According to this same account, the two escaped prisoners had gone ‘for a cycle spin in the country [on 9 September], intending to proceed to Healy’s Bridge, Blarney. Near the Leemount Bridge they were challenged by a party of nine Irregulars, whose assembly at this place . . . was to raid the mails being conveyed from Donoughmore, Coachford, Blarney, and other centres to Cork. The two cyclists refused to halt when called upon to do so, with the result that the Irregulars fired upon them. The Volunteer, who had a revolver and six rounds of ammunition, pluckily replied to the attack without dismounting from his bicycle. In the exchange of shots Patrick Murphy was hit through the stomach and Sullivan in the wrist. . . . The Irregulars in the meantime had taken shelter behind a wall, and it was from their concealed position that they continued the attack on the two young men, whose ages have been given as 20 and 24 years. When an Irregular advanced with a bomb in his hand, the cyclists, seeing the futility of further resistance, surrendered.’ See FJ, 22 Sept. 1922.
In an earlier account of these events the ‘Volunteer’ was described as ‘a National soldier in uniform, accompanied by a friend in civilian clothes, who was also apparently a member of the National Army’. And the shooting had reportedly ‘occurred at Leemount, just at the cross roads, and practically at the door of the café which stands just where the permanent way of the Cork and Muskerry railway turns off the road, on the way up to Healy’s Bridge’. The Leemount Bridge itself was described at that point as ‘almost destroyed’. See CE, 16 Sept. 1922.
Patrick Murphy died of his wounds at the Mercy Hospital in Cork city on 12 September. See CE, 13 Sept. 1922. His death certificate identified him—incorrectly—as a National Army soldier who had been a farm assistant in civilian life. See Death Certificate (Cork Urban District No. 6, Union of Cork), 12 Sept. 1922. He had been a member of H Company of the First Battalion of the Cork No. 1 Brigade. See Rebel Cork’s Fighting Story, 25. A resident of Blarney Street in Cork city, he was buried in the Republican Plot in St Finbarr’s Cemetery. His name appears on a list of IRA interments associated with the unveiling of a republican monument in 1963. See List of IRA Interments (Boole Library, UCC). His brief entry in The Last Post indicates that he was ‘murdered at Leemount’. See Last Post (1976 ed.), 97.
The National Army magazine An t-Óglách reported in its issue of 16 September 1922 that on 9 September ‘an attempt by Irregulars to isolate Blarney from Cork by blowing up Leemount Bridge was frustrated by the [National] troops’. See An t-Óglách, ‘War Special’, ‘Day by Day’, 16 Sept. 1922, p. 3, http://antoglach.militaryarchives.ie/PDF/1922_09_16_Vol_IV_No_15_An_t-Oglac.pdf (accessed 7 July 2017). Soldiers on both sides of the Civil War in County Cork had reason to be concerned with Leemount Bridge, and this situation may have played a role in the clash very near there on 9 September in which Patrick Murphy was fatally injured and his comrade Sullivan slightly wounded.