John Joe Hegarty

25th September 1897 – 6th June 1973

Lt. Section Commander/Intelligence Officer 

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

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 qualified 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.

War of Independence

Whilst an active Volunteer and member of H Company 2nd.Battalion 1st. Cork Brigade, John Joe 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 even croppy pikes were made and stored. John Joe’s blacksmithing skills were put to use to make and repair weapons.

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. His friend and comrade Joe Murphy died while on  hunger strike and it was John Joe who returned his body to his family and arranged a military funeral for him. 

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 Gerry 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 summoned him back to The Laurels to take over the market gardens and so he returned to Cork.



Return to Ireland and building 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 and on 1st June 1937 they were married. They had 8 children Elizabeth (Betty), Anne, Pauline, Edward, Eileen, Jack and Jim. Their eldest son, Patrick 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 always a very busy household and the kettle was always on for the steady stream of visitors. The family was very involved in their local community. As a founder of the Pouladuff & Bishopstown Coursing club and an active member of Fianna Fáil, John Joe became known as the “Mayor of Togher” 

John Joe passed away suddenly on 6th June 1973 and was given a military guard of honour at his funeral.

He is buried in the family grave on Tory Top road.




The Hegarty Family

Descendents of John Joe & Liz Hegarty

Mamie Hegarty

Nan Hegarty