John Joe Hegarty


25th September 1897 – 6th June 1973

Lt. Section Commander/Intelligence Officer H Coy, 2nd Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade

1917 ~ 1921 Service Medal with Bar
1971 Survivor’s Medal
Emergency 1939 ~ 1945





Growing Up in

The Laurels

John Joe Hegarty was born on 25th September 1897 to his parents Patrick Hegarty, a market gardener and Elizabeth Hegarty (nee Walsh) originally from Grenagh, Co. Cork

With his sisters Nan & Mamie he attended Togher National School and upon leaving took up full time work in the family business as a Market Gardener with his father Patrick. He also became skilled as a blacksmith during this time.

As a boy and young man John Joe had many interests including G.A.A with St.Finbarr’s, road bowling and was also involved with the Cork National Hunt Club which his father and neighbours helped to establish. 

War of Independence

Whilst an active Officer and Volunteer John Joe was a member of H Company, 2nd.Battalion, No. 1 Cork Brigade, and took part in many of the major raids and ambushes in the city and environs.

One of the many raids included T.W.Murrays Gunsmith shop on Patrick Street to secure guns and ammunition for the Volunteers. Another member of that raiding party was Sean O’Sullivan whose daughter Mary later married John Joe’s son Edward.

Working with his parents and sisters,  ‘The Laurels’ became an arms dump where bombs, landmines and John Joe’s blacksmithing skills were put to use to make and repair weapons such as croppy pikes.

A Market Gardener by trade this gave him the ability to travel around the city freely making deliveries to markets and more importantly to R.I.C. Barracks without arousing suspicion. John Joe became a Section Commander and later Lieutenant in ” H ” Company with 60 local men under his command.

Joe Murphy, a lifelong friend and neighbour died while on  hunger strike after 76 days. He died on the same day as Lord Mayor of Cork Terence Mac Swiney.  It was John Joe who returned Joe Murphy’s body to his family and arranged a military funeral for him.

Determined that the sacrifice made by Joe Murphy would never be forgotten, John Joe Hegarty was instrumental in organising arranging  a memorial plaque in his honour. 

The plaque was unveiled in 1960 on his family home in Pouladuff and Joe Murphy’s name was also added to a pillar on the gateway to the house.

Many of Joe’s friends, neighbours and former comrades attended the ceremony to unveil the plaque. Among those in attendence were General Tom Barry, Sean Hegarty (Brigade Commander No.1 Brigade following Terence MacSwiney’s death) , Florrie O’Donoghue , Tom Croft and surviving members of ” H ” Comany.

John Joe Hegarty lead the colour party to honour Joe Murphy.

New Life in New York

Having fought on the Anti-Treaty side in the Civil War, Joe Joe was one of many  “irregulars”  to travel to the U.S.A. to begin a new life when the war was over.

He left with his lifelong friend Jerry O’Brien and in 1927 they reached Ellis Island.

John Joe worked as a Drillman with the Brooklyn Edison Company in New York and began a new way of life. His intention was to remain in America and settle down there.

But, in 1932 his father asked him to return to The Laurels to take over the market gardens. John Joe felt  indebted to his parents for all they sacrificed during the War of Independence and so he returned to Cork.



Return to Ireland and raising a Family

John Joe returned to life in The Laurels and his youngest sister Nan decided it was time for her “lovely brother” to settle down.

An introduction was made to her close friend Liz Allen who had established a dressmaking business on the Bandon Road and on 1st June 1937 they were married.

Liz was originally from Carrigaline and her father Patrick Allen fought with the British Army in WWI. He was a blacksmith and was known to be a “horse whisperer”. His war records show that he served mainly in France.

Her Uncle, David Allen built a home in Doughcloyne and had been a personal friend of Michael Collins. He became a Free State Peace Commissioner after the Civil War.  

John Joe and Liz had 8 children Elizabeth (Betty), Anne, Pauline, Edward, Eileen, Jack and Jim. Their eldest son, Patrick sadly passed away in 1942.

The market garden continued to be their main source of income but in 1952 Liz opened a shop which served the community in Pouladuff for over 25 years.

It was a very busy household with the kettle always on the boil for the steady stream of visitors, including the local Gardaí who called for a cup of tea and a smoke. This despite the fact that John Joe was involved in burning the Togher RIC Barracks

The family was very involved in their local community. John Joe was a Field Marshal of the Pouladuff & Bishopstown Coursing club and bred and owned racing greyhounds. He was a member of Fianna Fáil and the Old IRA Mens Association. As a non-elected public representative, he was very active on behalf of the local community and was affectionately known as the “Lord Mayor of Pouladuff ” 

John Joe passed away very unexpectedly on 6th June 1973 and was honoured with a military funeral at St Josephs Cemetary where shots were fired over his grave as a mark of respect by the Irish Army.

The attendance included many of his old comrades from “H” Company and his lifelong friend  General Tom Barry.

The Hegarty Family lived in The Laurels until 1977.

The Next Generations

Descendants of John Joe & Liz Hegarty

The Hegarty Family

March 2020