An Dáréag Aspal
Patricia Fahy Deveney
As a result of own kind of research, I suppose, I found out that Murty joined the Irish Volunteers at a very young age, at the age of just nineteen and he joined again with a number of members from his own area, say his own parish. I had to look up the military archives, basically and I had discovered he had given an account of his actions and he would have marched with the rebels to Moyode and to the farmyard and to Limepark. He would also, would have carried a dispatch on Easter Sunday, to P. Sweeney in Athenry, under the command of John Hanniffy, he was his military officer. He also gives an account of firing a number of shots at members of the R.I.C., when he was in the Athenry Station, The Agricultural Station, Athenry as well. Then following the Easter Rising, no more than the rest of the Apostles, he was arrested, and we would have always heard in the family, that it was Maisie Shackleton, was the person who would have been the informant, possibly. She was the only occupant of Moyode, the castle, at that time, so we would have heard mention of her down through the years, as well in our house. So, it resulted in him basically being imprisoned for a sentence to twelve months in gaol and he spent some of that time initially in Galway Gaol and in Mountjoy and eventually in Wormwood Scrubs and Lewis Gaol with his comrades as well.
Again I’ve asked family members, his three surviving children, my father is one of them, and they have no recollection of Murty talking about his activities with the Irish Volunteers or the I.R.A. or any correspondence from him while he was in gaol, unfortunately. I wish I had that but I don’t.
So upon release then, in March 1917, Murty rejoined the Irish Volunteers and upon re-organisation, he then took part in other activities. Again he describes taking part in dispatches, sending dispatches and also, as well during the War of Independence, he was involved in a failed attack on Moyvilla Barracks, where he blocked roads and he also blocked roads, I think, for another attack on Bookeen Barracks. Again he was carrying dispatches and during the The Truce period then, he attended Killeeneen and during the Civil War he took the Anti Treaty side and he was interned from November 1922 until February 1923. So again he was away from his family and his friends.
Murty’s comanding officers in the I.R.A., I looked them up, were David Currans and Thomas kennedy. After much correspondence and difficulty, then Murty managed to get a pension, a Military Service Pension of three years for his service, but I do have some records of, a lot of letters and a lot of correspondence sent forward and back before he actually recieved his pension. It was quite difficult and he does always mention in the letters about his young family and the difficulties he was having trying to keep the rates paid and so on and that he really needed the pension badly and it took a while for it to come through and I’ve heard from other people that, that was quite common in those days.
Then in terms of his personal life, he met and married his wife, Elizabeth Rooney, Lilly as she was better known and lilly came from Dublin to live with her aunty in Sliabh Rua, which was where Murty was from and they only lived down the road from each other. So I am imagining, again I don’t know how they met but I’m imagining it could have been, you know, as they were neighbours, they could have encountered each other quite a bit. Basically Murty and Lilly married and he moved into her home in Sliabh Rua then and became head of household, head of the farm and they had six children. So the six children were John, Murty, Paddy, Oliver and then two girls, Mary and Nora or Nonie as she is known. The three surviving siblings are Oliver, my father, John and aunty Nonie, their sister. He was a farmer, Murty was a farmer and he was a great hurler himself, he won two county titles with Killconieron in 1912 and 1919 and they actually won another one in 1908, they were a great club in those years, so we’re very proud of him for that and we have those medals.
Then just in terms of his passing, it was quite sad. Murty passed away very suddenly at the tender age of only fifty nine. Very, very young. He passed away 24th November 1956. He was going to Castlelambert to purchase a gun for Johnny his son, to go shooting game and on his way home he just collapsed on the bicycle on the way home. The family got an awful fright. My own father was only sixteen at the time and he still remembers the neighbours coming in to say your father’s dead on the road. They got a terrible shock, he was such a strong, hardy man. A very good worker.
Mar gheall ar an gcineál a dtugaim féin taighde air, is dócha, fuair mé amach go ndeachaigh Murty isteach in Óglaigh na hÉireann nuair a bhí sé an-óg, naoi mbliana déag, agus gur cheangail sé leo an dara huair le daoine óna áit féin, as a pharóiste féin, abair. D’fhiosraigh mé ábhar sa chartlann mhíleata agus fuair mé amach gur thug sé cuntas ar a ndearna sé agus go mbeadh sé ar lucht an Éirí Amach a mháirseáil go Maigh Fhód agus a bhí i gclós na feirme agus a chuaigh go Baile na Creige. Ba é freisin a thug teachtaireacht Domhnach Cásca chuig P. Sweeney i mBaile Átha an Rí, ar ordú ó John Hanniffy, a raibh sé ina oifigeach airm aige. Tá cuntas aige freisin ar urchair a scaoileadh le daoine den R.I.C., nuair a bhí sé i Stáisiún Bhaile Átha an Rí, ag an Stáisiún Talmhaíochta i mBaile Átha an Rí. Tar éis an Éirí Amach ansin, ach oiread leis an gcuid eile de na hAspail, gabhadh é agus dúradh linn riamh sa bhaile gurbh í Maisie Shackleton, is dócha, an té a d’inis air. Ba ise an t-aon duine a bhí i Maigh Fhód, sa chaisleán, ag an am agus bheadh cloiste againn mar gheall uirthise freisin le himeacht na mblianta sa teach sin againne. Ba é a thoradh go bunúsach go raibh sé i bpríosún ar feadh dhá mhí dhéag agus chaith sé an t-am sin i bPríosún na Gaillimhe i dtosach, i bPríosún Mhuinseo agus ina dhiaidh sin i Wormwood Scrubs agus i Lewis Gaol in éineacht lena chuid comrádaithe.
Chuir mé ceist ar dhaoine den teaghlach, triúr clainne leis a mhaireann, m’athair ar dhuine acu, agus níl aon chuimhne acu ar Mhurty ag trácht ar an obair a rinne sé le hÓglaigh na hÉireann ná leis an I.R.A. ná aon litir uaidh an t-am a chaith sé sa bpríosún. Is é an trua é, ba mhaith liom a leithéid de thuairisc a bheith agam ach níl.
Ar a scaoileadh saor i mí Márta 1917, cheangail Murty le hÓglaigh na hÉireann arís agus tar éis atheagar a chur ar chúrsaí, bhí sé páirteach in obair eile chomh maith. Tá cur síos aige ar bhaint a bheith aige le teachtaireachtaí, le teachtaireachtaí a sheoladh agus chomh maith leis sin, i rith Chogadh na Saoirse, bhí baint aige le ionsaí, nár éirigh leis, a rinneadh ar Bheairic Mhaigh Bhile. Bhlocáil seisean bóithre agus bhlocáil sé bóithre freisin, sílim, maidir le hionsaí eile ar bheairic an Bhuaicín. Bhí sé ag iompar teachtaireachtaí arís agus aimsir an tsosa cogaidh, chuaigh sé go Cill Fhínín agus i rith Chogadh na gCarad, bhí sé in aghaidh an Chonartha agus cuireadh i ngéibheann é idir mí na Samhna 1922 agus mí Feabhra 1923. Bhí sé imithe mar sin óna mhuintir agus óna chairde arís.
Ba iad David Currans agus Thomas Kennedy na hoifigigh a bhí i gceannas ar Mhurty san I.R.A. – chuardaigh mé an t-eolas. Tar éis cuid mhór comhfhreagrais agus deacrachta, d’éirigh le Murty pinsean a fháil, Pinsean Seirbhíse Míleata maidir le trí bliana as ucht a chuid seirbhíse. Tá cuid mhór tuairisce agam, go leor litreacha agus comhfhreagras a bhí ag dul anonn agus anall sular tugadh an pinsean dó. Chuaigh sé sách crua air agus luann sé i gcónaí sna litreacha go raibh clann óg air agus a dheacra a bhí sé air féachaint leis na rátaí a íoc agus mar sin de agus is géar a theastaigh an pinsean uaidh ach bhí tamall maith go bhfuair sé é agus chuala mé ó dhaoine eile go raibh a leithéid sin coitianta go maith ag an am.
Maidir lena shaol pearsanta ansin, casadh a bhean air, Elizabeth Rooney, nó Lilly mar a thugtaí uirthi agus phós siad. Tháinig Lilly as Baile Átha Cliath ina cónaí lena haintín ar an Sliabh Rua, an áit ar mba as Murty agus bhí siad ina gcónaí cúpla teach síos an bóthar óna chéile. Déarfainn mar sin, arís níl a fhios agam cén chaoi ar casadh ar a chéile iad ach cheapfainn gurb é an chaoi, tuigeann tú, ó bhí siad in aon chomharsanacht go gcasfaí ar a chéile go minic rialta iad. Ba é a bhun agus a bharr gur phós Murty agus Lilly agus go ndeachaigh seisean isteach ina teach sise ansin ar an Sliabh Rua ina fhear an tí agus i mbun na feirme agus bhí seisear clainne orthu. Ba iad sin John, Murty, Paddy, Oliver agus an bheirt chailíní, Mary agus Nora nó Nonie mar a tugtar uirthi. Is iad an triúr a mhaireann, Oliver, m’athair, John agus Nonie. Feirmeoir a bhí ann, feirmeoir a bhí i Murty agus iománaí maith a bhí ann freisin, bhuaigh sé craobh an chontae faoi dhó le Chill Chon Iarainn sa bhliain 1912 agus sa bhliain 1919 agus bhuaigh siad ceann eile go deimhin sa bhliain 1908, b’iontach an club iad ag an am, ábhar mórtais againn agus tá na boinn sin againn i gcónaí.
Maidir lena bhás ansin, bhí sin truamhéalach go maith. Cailleadh Murty an-tobann agus é naoi mbliana le cois an leathchéid. An-óg go deo. Cailleadh é an 24 Samhain 1956. Bhí sé ar a bhealach go Caisleán Lampart ag ceannach gunna do Johnny, a mhac, le haghaidh foghlaeireachta agus thit sé marbh, ar an rothar, ar an mbealach abhaile. Ba mhór an buille don teaghlach é. Sé bliana déag a bhí m’athair ag an am, is cuimhin leis i gcónaí muintir na háite ag teacht isteach ag rá go raibh a athair tite caillte ar an mbóthar. Buille mór a bhuail go tobann iad, fear téagartha láidir a bhí ann. Fear maith oibre.