THE centenary of Terence MacSwiney’s marriage to Muriel Murphy is being marked with the first public display of a wedding gift to the couple in the Independence Museum Kilmurry.
A silver dish ring made by famous Cork silversmiths William Egan & Sons was a present to Terence and Muriel from the girls of St Íta’s School, founded nine months earlier in Cork by the groom’s sisters, Mary and Annie MacSwiney. It is now on permanent display at Independence Museum Kilmurry, where it is just one of many items in a special collection which remembers the life and death of Terence MacSwiney.
Terence’s sisters were among the very small wedding party at the ceremony on June 9th 1917, which took place in St Joseph’s Church in Bromyard, Herefordshire. It took place on the day after the 25th birthday of Muriel, a member of the wealthy Cork distilling family, who did not fully approve of the wedding.
MacSwiney had been forced to live in, and remain within a few miles’ radius, of the English village since late February 1917. He had been deported by the British authorities for his continuing Irish Volunteers activities, along with others, including Cork’s future first Republican Lord Mayor, Tomás MacCurtain.
He died on hunger strike in Brixton Prison in London, on October 25, 1920. He had been arrested in August 1920 at Cork City Hall, having become Lord Mayor.
He was also the first member of Dáil Éireann to represent the Mid-Cork constituency, where the museum is located in the village of Kilmurry, just off the Cork-Macroom road at Lissarda. The silver dish ring was purchased at auction in 2016 and donated to Independence Museum Kilmurry. Deirdre Bourke, chairperson of Kilmurry Historical Archaeological Association (KHAA) which operates Independence Museum Kilmurry, said: ‘This is a wonderful addition to the collection in our museum, which places a strong emphasis on increasing awareness and appreciation of Terence MacSwiney’s life – not just as a political and military figure, but as a writer and a family man.’
The Independence Museum in Kilmurry is open Thursday to Sunday, and on Bank Holidays, 2pm - 5pm. See www.kilmurrymuseum.ie.