Terence MacSwiney wedding gift on public display for first time

Picture: Independence Museum Kilmurry/Kilmurry Historical & Archaeological Association

A magnificent gift which was given to former Lord Mayor of Cork Terence MacSwiney and his wife on their day of their wedding has gone on public display for the first time.

The silver dish ring made by famous Cork silversmiths William Egan & Sons is being displayed at the Independence Museum in Kilmurry, Co Cork, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the wedding.

MacSwiney and Muriel Murphy married in a small English village on June 9, 1917, and the present was from the students at St Íta’s School, founded nine months earlier in Cork City by the groom’s sisters, Mary and Annie MacSwiney.

The sisters were among the very small wedding party at the ceremony 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 union.

The silver dish ring given as a gift to Terence MacSwiney and Muriel Murphy for their June 9, 1917 wedding. Picture: Independence Museum Kilmurry/Kilmurry Historical & Archaeological Association

MacSwiney 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.

The best man was Richard Mulcahy, who would become Irish Volunteers Chief of Staff in 1918, and later commander-in-chief of the National Army after Michael Collins was killed in August 1922 at Béal na mBláth, a few miles from Independence Museum in Kilmurry.

The wedding was conducted in Irish by the Capuchin friar, Fr Augustine Hayden, who ministered to the wounded and dying during the Easter Rising in Dublin the previous year, and was with Con Colbert in the hours before his execution in May 1916.

MacSwiney 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 after the murder of his friend Tomás MacCurtain by police in March 1920.

The wedding party at the marriage of Terence MacSwiney and Muriel Murphy in Bromyard, England, June 9, 1917, where MacSwiney had been deported in February 1917. Terence MacSwiney and his wife Muriel (née Murphy) Back (left to right): Mary MacSwiney, Annie MacSwiney, Fr Augustine Hayden OFM (Capuchin friar), bridesmaid Geraldine O’Sullivan (later Geraldine Neeson), best man Richard Mulcahy. Picture courtesy of Cork Public Museum Front

The silver dish ring was purchased at auction in 2016 and has been very generously donated to the museum.

Deirdre Bourke, chairman of Kilmurry Historical Archaeological Association which operates the museum, said it is a “wonderful addition” to their collection of MacSwiney artifacts.


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