Civilian Patrick Murray


Civilian Patrick Murray (about 19) of Rushfield, Kinneigh parish, near Bandon (Farnalough near Newcestown)

Date of incident: 4 Feb. 1923

Sources: Death Certificate (Murragh District, Union of Bandon), 4 Feb. 1923; CE, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 16 Feb., 5, 26 March 1923; Evening Herald, 5 Feb. 1923; II, 6 Feb. 1923; SS, 10 Feb. 1923; Keane (2017), 348-49, 421.


Note: The labourer Patrick Murray was one of the two men killed outright when a ‘trigger mine’ exploded on Sunday, 4 February 1923, at Farnalough near Newcestown. Free State troops on patrol in the district of Newcestown had earlier arrested some ten or a dozen men whom they considered to be members of an Irregular column operating in the area. At the end of their searches and raids the Free State troops set off with their prisoners towards Bandon. Before going very far, they encountered a stone barricade that had been built across the road. The prisoners were ordered to clear the barricade, at the centre of which was a conspicuous large stone that aroused general suspicion. Despite these suspicions, the dismantling of the barricade went ahead, and when the large flat stone was lifted, it triggered a disastrous explosion of the mine underneath. Besides the death of the two prisoners closest to the exploded mine, seven other prisoners were wounded (a list was provided), and two National Army Soldiers suffered slight injuries. See CE, 5 Feb. 1923. The relatives of Patrick Murray later insisted in representations to the Cork Examiner that Murray ‘had no connection whatever with any political party’. See CE, 7 Feb. 1923.

A later National Army report for 23 March stated laconically: ‘Prisoners taken out to remove all stone barricades in Newcestown area. Two bombs exploded, but nobody was injured.’ See CE, 26 March 1923.

Noting the ten or twelve arrests made by the National troops, a Cork Examiner correspondent wrote that ‘of these, the majority were members of an unarmed column of irregulars’. See CE, 5 Feb. 1923. But in a letter (dated 11 February) to the editor of the Cork Examiner, the National Teacher Mrs Anna O’Halloran of Gurranes National School contradicted this aspect of the report and asked that her letter be accorded ‘the same publicity you gave [the] original report’. She declared: ‘The seven boys lying wounded in the Mercy Hospital, Cork, had absolutely nothing to do with the irregular movement; neither had any member of their families. One of the wounded, Denis O’Brien, is my brother; the others are friends and near neighbours.’ See CE, 13 Feb. 1923. 

Patrick Murray was in 1911 one of the eleven children of the labourer John Murray and his wife Hanora. Of these eleven children, eight co-resided in that year with their parents at house 4 in Rushfield townland in the parish of Kinneigh near Bandon. Among them were five sons and three daughters ranging in age from 3 to 22. Patrick Murray (then aged 7) was the middle son living at home, with three older sisters. His death certificate of 4 February 1923 gave his age as 22, but his age in 1911 suggests that he was a few years younger when killed. See Death Certificate (Murragh District, Union of Bandon), 4 Feb. 1923.  

The Irish Revolution Project

Scoil na Staire /Tíreolaíocht

University College Cork, Cork,