1877 – Birth of the leader of the alcohol free 1916 Rising, Canon Patrick Murphy, in Whitehill, Kilmore, Co Wexford.

Canon Patrick Murphy was born in Whitehill, Kilmore, Co Wexford. Murphy is a little known figure in Irish history, but he provided a truly fascinating oral account of the 1916 Rising in Enniscorthy in an interview in 1955.

‘Commandant Galligan arrived from Dublin with instructions from James Connolly that the Enniscorthy Battalion of the Irish Volunteers were to take over the Railway so as to prevent reinforcements reaching Dublin through Rosslare.

Early on Thursday morning an order was issued closing all public houses with the result that during the four days of Republican rule not a single person was under the influence of drink. On the same morning the Railway Station was taken over and a train on the way to Arklow was held to be used in case of emergencies.

There were rumours of an attack on Enniscorthy – by the end of the week about 2,000 English troops from the Curragh and elsewhere had assembled in Wexford town. They were under the command of Colonel French, a Wexford man, who happened to be on furlough at the time.’

The attack on Enniscorthy did not take place as the rebels surrendered after hearing of the outcome in Dublin, but not until they were allowed to send a deputation to see rebel leader Pádraig Pearse in Kilmainham Gaol.

Canon Patrick Murphy: Bureau of Military History Statement: http://www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie/reels/bmh/BMH.WS1216.pdf

Photo: Irish Volunteers leaders being arrested outside the Athenaeum in Enniscorthy on 1 May 1916, photo part of, Alfred E Crane Collection

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