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A Life Lived: Ashling Murphy

Tributes were paid to Ashling Murphy at her funeral ceremony on Wednesday, with her sister Amy describing her as “the light of our lives and heart of our family.”

Ashling was laid to rest in her native town of Blueball, Co. Offaly in a ceremony officiated by seven priests and a bishop. The 23-year-old was murdered last Monday in a senseless attack whilst out jogging on the banks of a canal in Tullamore. 

Durrow National School, the primary school where Ashling had worked as a first class teacher, released a statement in the days following her death, calling her a “lady with extraordinary talents.” They spoke of her sporting and musical ability and how it had enriched the wider school community. Ashling’s students, aged between six and seven, formed a guard of honour at her funeral procession, with each child carrying a photo of her on her graduation day and a rose. 

Ashling was also an alumna of Mary Immaculate College in Co. Limerick, having graduated from their Bachelor of Education programme in October 2021. The college opened up an online book of condolences following her murder, which was signed by members of faculty and students alike. 

The university’s chaplain spoke of Ashling’s many accomplishments over her short life in his condolence, and how her untimely death had left the college at an utter loss.

“She was an all-rounder. Camogie, music, cooking, style and a lovely person as well. To have it all snatched away for nothing at 23 makes no sense,” Fr. Michael Wall wrote. 

Ashling’s family encouraged mourners to bring instruments along to play at her graveside. She was passionate about Irish trad music and highly skilled in fiddle and concertina. She was also learning the uileann pipes at the time of her death. 

Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann also paid tribute to the young musician and spoke of her participation in Fleadhanna Cheoil at local and national levels. 

“Both Ashling and Amy taught music to many young students in the local Comhaltas Branch and these students went on to perform as solo artists and also in ceilí bands and grúpaí cheoil with great success,” they said in a statement on Facebook. 

Her funeral service took place in St Brigid’s Church in Mountbolus. The Prayers of the Faithful, which were read out by Ashling’s cousins, said that the many vigils organised in response to her death gave them hope that violence towards women could one day end. 

Ashling is survived by her partner Ryan, her mother Kathleen, father Ray, and siblings Cathal and Amy.

Journalism Student at DCU. Contributor at Her Campus and The College View. Email: roisin.butler9@mail.dcu.ie
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