East Kerry GAA Board Honours Currow Freedom Fighter

Attending a wreath laying ceremony on the grave of Kerry IRA No. 2 Brigade O/C Humphrey Murphy in Currow on Sunday last were: Denis Shanahan, Currow; Jerome Fleming, Currow; Aoife Fleming, Currow and Johnny Brosnan, East Kerry GAA Board chairman. Photograph: Con Dennehy

The memory of Currow freedom fighter, teacher, GAA stalwart, academic and Kerry IRA No. 2 Brigade O/C Humphrey Murphy, was commemorated in the picturesque East Kerry village at the weekend when officers of the East Kerry GAA Board hosted a wreath laying ceremony.

By Con Dennehy

The ceremony, which attracted officers of the East Kerry Board and Currow GAA Club took place in Killeentierna Graveyard on Sunday afternoon.

Organised by Johnny Brosnan, chairman of the East Kerry Board, the ceremony acknowledged Murphy’s role in the GAA including his work as the Currow delegate at the inaugural meeting of the East Kerry Board on the May 17th 1925.

Gaelic Games Development Pioneer

“At that meeting he was elected Vice Chairman with Dick Fitzgerald from Dr. Crokes elected Chairman. Humphrey was a pioneer in the development of Gaelic games in East Kerry and

was an extremely talented, knowledgeable and far sighted official. As the current chairman of the East Kerry Board and a Currow man, I am honoured and humbled to follow in his footsteps and to acknowledge his vast contribution to Gaelic games. It is thanks to Mr. Murphy that Currow secured their pitch from the Land Commission in the 1930’s,” said Johnny Brosnan, only the second person from Currow to hold a top table role on the East Kerry Board.

Graveside Oration

The graveside oration was delivered by Johnny Brosnan and local Parish Priest John Buckley recited the prayers.

Among Humphrey Murphy’s relatives at the ceremony were Currow natives Denis Shannahan, Jerome Fleming and Aoife Fleming.

Currow GAA Club was represented by Daniel O’Shea, chairman and and Pat O’Sullivan,vice chairman, while the East Kerry Board was represented by: Noel Kennedy, Listry; John Dineen, Fossa; Dermot O’Connor, Firies; Donald O’Sullivan, Fossa and Michael O’Mahony, Rathmore.

Murphy, an outstanding soldier and officer during the Anglo Irish and Civil Wars, died in November 1935 aged 41.

Teacher by Profession

A National School teacher by profession, he taught in Duagh before taking up a post in Kilsarcon National School in his native parish.

A talented athlete and Kerry footballer in his 20’s he was also known as an accomplished singer with the Kerry Feis Troupe.

His skills as a leader came to the fore with his appointment as Commanding Officer of the Kerry IRA No. 2 Brigade in 1920.

Three Mile Funeral Cortège

During 1920 and 1921 he took part in every military activity of importance in East Kerry.

Towards the end of 1921 he was appointed Officer Commander of the IRA Kerry No. 1 Brigade.

Murphy’s funeral was the largest seen in Currow with the cortège stretching over three miles and led by a firing party.

It was estimated 10,000 people attended the funeral including leading Irish politicians, Taoiseach Eamon deValera who recited the rosary in Irish at the graveside.

He was accompanied by Minister for Defence Frank Aiken and a host of Kerry and Irish politicians.

Flanked by Old IRA Comrades

His remains, draped in the tricolour, were brought to Farranfore by train from Dublin, where he lived at the time, with large crowds greeting the train in Thurles, Mallow, Rathmore and Killarney. More than 1,000 people met the train in Farranfore with a guard of honour formed by members of the old IRA who walked with the remains the three miles to Currow Village.

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