The traditional arts community has been shocked by the horrific murder of Ashling Murphy, an emerging musical talent on fiddle, concertina and whistle, as well as a dedicated teacher and sportswoman.
After completing her day’s work with her young first class pupils in Durrow National School, the 23-year-old Offaly primary school teacher had gone for a run along a popular canal walkway in Tullamore when she was attacked.
Since an individual held for questioning in connection with the murder has now been eliminated from the Garda investigation, detectives have appealed to the public with any information of events on the walkway on Wednesday afternoon to come forward. A particular line of inquiry is focused on a mountain bike with distinctive green and yellow front forks.
Ashling was a member of Ballyboy Comhaltas Branch and had participated in Fleadhanna Cheoil at County, Provincial and All Ireland competitions with great success. She comes from a very musical family, her father is a well known banjo player and her sister, Amy, is a talented concertina and button accordion player.
Ashling, you will always be in our thoughts and prayers as we cherish the memories and friendship of your short but exceptional life. Ar dheis Dé go raibh do anam uasal ceolmhar. From all your musical colleagues and friends in Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.”
The Irish Traditional Music Archive has expressed its deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of “the gifted young musician and teacher Ashling Murphy whose life was so cruelly taken from her in Tullamore on Wednesday. Suaimhneas síoraí dá hanam uasal.”
She was going for a run
Similar messages were forthcoming from Comhaltas Branches around Ireland as well as in Britain. Dublin Comhaltas described Ashling as “a bright young woman and a gifted musician with her whole life ahead of her,” while the Irish Australian Support Association of Queensland made a lengthy statement on gender violence accompanied by the meme: “SHE WAS GOING FOR A RUN. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam. May she rest in peace.”
FairPlé, the advocacy group challenging gender discrimination within traditional and folk music in Ireland, expressed its “deepest condolences to the family and friends of Ashling Murphy” – offering “love and strength to those feeling loss and pain today.”
Describing Ashling as “a bright soul and an exceptional talent, guilty only of going for a run,” Mise Fosta, the campaign to highlight the abuse of women in traditional music, said that “the tradition has lost another woman whose gifts will cease to flourish and brighten the lives of those around her. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ashling’s family, friends and musical circle,” – adding: “Mise Fosta stand with every woman going about their day today with an ill feeling in their stomach and Ashling Murphy on their mind.”
Expressing her condolences to Ashling’s family and friends, musician and senator, Frances Black said: “there are no words to express the shock and sadness of the horrific murder of the beautiful and talented Ashling Murphy,” while Templebar Tradfest recalled that Ashling had performed with the National Folk Orchestra of Ireland at the last live edition of the festival in January 2020. Among the many other musicians to express their condolences publicly were Sharon Shannon, Kevin Crawford, Ger O’Donnell, Mirella Murray, Josephine Marsh, Deirbhile Ní Brolchaáin and Elle Marie O’Dwyer.