Easter Rising victim’s unmarked grave receives headstone

Edward Murphy was killed in 1916 after he tipped his hat to a passing acquaintance

A deserted street in Dublin during the Easter Rising in 1916.

A deserted street in Dublin during the Easter Rising in 1916.


A civilian who was killed during the Easter Rising has had a new gravestone and plaque unveiled in his name at Glasnevin Cemetery.

Edward Murphy (42) was killed after he tipped his hat to a passing acquaintance in St Stephen’s Green in Dublin on Easter Tuesday.

He left behind a wife and five children.

At the time, elements of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA) under the command of Countess Markievicz were battling with the British army in the area.

It has never been determined which side fired the fatal shot.

Mr Murphy was buried in an unmarked family plot after his death and only now is his grave getting a headstone. It is being provided by his family.

The service at Glasnevin Cemetery was attended by British ambassador Dominick Chilcott and the Canadian ambassador Kevin Vickers.

Mr Murphy’s surviving grandson Donald Gordon also spoke about his life.

Murphy’s life

Edward Murphy was born in Sallymount, Co Kildare, in January 1874.

In 1890, like many Irish at the time, he emigrated to Canada, where he intended to work as a printer.

He settled in the Fort Steele area of British Columbia and became a prospector connected to the Fort Steele Mining Division, making his living in the mining rush.

He continued this work until 1902, when he decided to enlist in the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles for service in the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa.

For his service, he was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal, with three clasps - South Africa 1902, Transvaal and Cape Colony.

He returned to Ireland not long after the war and married Margaret Graham.

Working as a waiter, he was sent to the Fairyhouse Races on Easter Monday, 1916, by his employer J E Mills.

He attempted to return home the next day to his family at Upper Pembroke Street from near the Four Courts where he worked.

As he passed along the northern side of St Stephen’s Green between Dawson Street and Grafton Street he tipped his hat to the manager of Smiths, his local grocery store. As he did so, he was shot and killed.

After the shooting he was brought to Mercers Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.

He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery between three boards, due to the shortage of coffins at the time.

‘An extraordinary man’

Mr Gordon described his grandfather as an “extraordinary man who lived an extraordinary life”.

He said that Mr Murphy sought adventure and danger in his early life, before returning to Ireland to settle down and live a quiet family life.

“Ed was a man who had lived at the edge. He had ventured to places where self-reliance was paramount to survival. He had carried a side-arm for much of his life,” Mr Gordon said.

“He had chewed boot leather for nourishment and to stop himself freezing to death.

“He had been in the heat of battle and seen comrades die. It is ironic that he was shot and killed by persons unknown on the streets of the city he loved so well.”