At the cemetery, the boys were addressed by Shirley Kelleher, the grandniece of Joe Murphy who died on hunger strike in Cork Gaol on October 25, 1920, at the age of 25.
“We discovered there were lots of local heroes involved as well in the uprising in Cork at the time, including Joe Murphy” Sinéad Moynihan, deputy principal and a sixth class teacher at the school said.
Ms Moynihan said studying the War of Independence enkindled in the boys a very keen interest in Cork’s past and, in particular, their local area.
“In Togher, life was made unbearable for the Crown forces.
“We discovered lots of small things when reading different articles.
“The Volunteers used to store the ammunition in a house in Pouladuff.
“They had a piggery behind the house and they actually put a trap door under the piggery,” Ms Moynihan said by way of example.
“The boys were struck by how clever these men were,” she continued.
Studying local history also gave the boys more of an understanding of place names in the area.
“Some of the boys would live in an estate called Market Gardens and they wouldn’t have thought about why it was called Market Gardens before but we know now that John Joe Hegarty - a man involved with the Volunteers at the time - he was a market gardener and he used to take his produce into Elizabeth Fort to sell it inside and when he was in there he used to keep his ears cocked and overheard a lot of what was going on with the English at the time,” Ms Moynihan explained.
Ms Moynihan said the students were greatly looking forward to being addressed by Joe Murphy’s grandniece.
Ms Kelleher recently produced and co-directed a documentary on the life of Joe Murphy entitled Joe Murphy, The Boy From Pouladuff, which was released last month on Cork City Council’s website in tandem with My Unsung Hero, a play about the life of Joe Murphy, written and produced by Maurice Dineen.