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Joseph Murphy was a member of the Irish Republican Army who died on hunger strike in Cork in 1920 during the Irish War of Independence.

Joe Murphy was born in Lynn, Massachusetts in the United States of America[1] in March 1895 the son of Irish parents who subsequently returned home to their native Cork City when Joe was a young child. He was educated at Greenmount National Schools and on leaving school was employed by Cork County Council.

He had a keen interest in the Gaelic sports of hurling, Gaelic football and road bowling.

Murphy joined the Irish Volunteers in 1917 and became a member of H Company, 2nd Battalion, Cork No.1 Brigade of which he was an active member. He was involved in numerous attacks on British police and military posts including a well publicised attack on Farran police barracks a few miles west of Cork city.

Murphy was arrested by British forces on 15 July 1920 and was imprisoned in Cork Jail. With a large group of prisoners at the jail he commenced a hunger strike in conjunction with the Lord Mayor of Cork Terence McSwiney. Another Cork hunger striker Michael Fitzgerald also died.

Joe Murphy died after seventy-six days without food on 25 October 1920 and was buried in the republican plot at St. Finbarr's Cemetery, Cork.

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.


  • Cork Jail Memorial Souvenir (pamphlet), 1948, Cló na Laoí (The Lee Press), Cork.


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