ONE of West Cork’s oldest citizens passed away last week.
Just short of her 105th birthday, Hannah Murphy from Rosscarbery, passed away peacefully at An Ghraig Clonakilty Community Hospital.
Born in 1911, she lived through Ireland’s most turbulent times and witnessed first hand many dramatic historical events, including the 1916 Rising.
But it was Ireland’s War of Independence and the death of Michael Collins that Hannah is most associated with and she remembered it vividly. Remarkably, she saw Collins stride into Rosscarbery on August 22nd in 1922, just hours before he was shot.
Just 11 at the time, Hannah had strolled the few minutes from the family home into the Square to buy bread from the bakery, unaware that she was about to play a part in one of the most significant days in Irish history.
She remembered him as a tall and towering figure who looked striking in his uniform. Hannah retold the story so accurately that all who had the great honour to hear her recall it, were left with a potent sense of what true history really is.
Blessed with good health, Hannah was an independent and strong woman, and this came to the fore after the tragic death of her husband. Even in her later years, she remained in her own home in Cross Lane until after her 100th birthday – a tremendous achievement.