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Death of Hugh Geraghty

The followers of the singing tradition were deeply saddened at the untimely death of Hugh Geraghty in early March. Hugh was a regular at the Clé Club in Liberty Hall. Besides being a leading trade unionist, he was also chairman of the Labour History Society. In acknowledgement of his contribution the coffin was draped with the original flag of the Plough and the Stars designed by playwright Sean O’Casey.

Hugh was very interested in the story of the Invincibles, best described as the ultra wing of the Fenians. In particular he had researched the Phoenix Park murders, (6 May 1882) of top British officials Cavendish and Burke. The Invincibles’ leader, Carey, turned Queen’s Evidence, so that several of his erstwhile companions were hanged in Kilmainham Jail.

The others pursued him and eventually caught up with him on board ship off the coast of South Africa. But Peter O’Donnell, who shot him, was also arrested and later hanged for murder. Hugh’s brother, Des, himself a trade union leader flute-player and story-teller, said that Hugh had linked the Invincibles with earlier murders of landlords. The family is actually descended from Invincible members.

Hugh’s project was nearly complete, so we may expect publication in a little while. There was a tribute paid at the club, and it featured two songs written about the murders, which were new to me.

Several club members recalled how Hugh used to pay tribute each year on 6th May at the little memorial stone, directly opposite Aras an Uachtarain, where the stabbings took place. This year, he in his turn will be remembered.

Permalink - Posted: May 3, 2007 at 9:41 am