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Digitised papers of Joseph Murray reveal high level of IRA activity in south Donegal during the War of Independence

Private papers were donated to Donegal County Council in 2010

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Digitised papers of Joseph Murray reveal high level of IRA activity in south Donegal during the War of Independence

Joseph Murray in uniform

The private papers of War of Independence brigadier Joseph Murray which were donated by his son Patrick to Donegal County Archives, Donegal County Council in 2010, are now available online on www.donegalcoco.ie   

Joseph Murray was born on 15 March 1893 in Monaghan. He moved to Bundoran to teach in 1916. From 1917 to 1922 he played a prominent part in the War of Independence, attaining the rank of Brigadier in command of the Fourth Brigade, South East Donegal, First Northern Division.  He later became a Garda Superintendent.

The papers of Joseph Murray consist of original documents of national significance which disclose the high level of IRA activity in south Donegal during the War of Independence and early Civil War. Included in the collection are Army letters, manuals and reports on activities from the Fourth Brigade. There are letters from men in prison camps. Notable documents include memoranda from Republican Seán MacCumhaill and Eoin O’Duffy. The onset of the Civil War is flagged in documents referring to the increased actions of the Anti-Treaty IRA and the battle of Pettigo in June 1922. His War of Independence Service Medal form part of the collection. 

A letter from Sean McCool to Joseph Murray

The original papers are available to view at Donegal County Archives, Lifford, Co. Donegal by appointment. This collection has now been fully digitised and placed online to view at no cost, along with the catalogue on www.donegalcoco.ie .

The entire collection has been digitized and placed online with the assistance of a Creative Ireland European Year of Cultural Heritage Grants Scheme grant. This funding is provided through the Creative Ireland programme which is supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht and Donegal County Council.

Thanking Patrick Murray for donating this important collection to the Donegal County Archives, Niamh Brennan, County Archivist explains that “providing access to collections on the Decade of Centenaries is hugely important in increasing our knowledge and understanding of the past. Beneficiaries include students, historians, academics and the public who wish to research the past through exploring the ‘raw history’ of archival documents and to understand and learn from it.  We are delighted that this collection has now been fully digitised and is available for public viewing on our website free of charge.”