John Joe Hegarty
25th September 1897 – 6th June 1973
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
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.
With the establishment of the Volunteers in Cork, like many young men in their twenties and younger, he joined and became immediately active.
Whilst an active Volunteer and member of H Company 2nd.Battalion 1st.Cork Brigade he took part in many of the major raids and ambushes in the city and environs.
In his parents home at ‘The Laurels’ he developed an arms dump where bombs, landmines and even croppy pikes were made and stored.
A Market Gardener by trade he was able to travel around the city freely making deliveries to markets and importantly to R.I.C. Barracks without arousing suspicion.
This enabled John Joe to gather vital information.
Following the death of his close friend Joe Murphy, after a hunger strike, John Joe removed his body from the prison cell.
Inside the coffin he placed a tri-colour over Joe’s body and had the lid bolted tightly to prevent its removal. He was also in charge of the Guard of Honour at the funeral.
Like his sisters he took the Anti-Treaty side during the outbreak of the Civil War. In December 1922 John Joe was arrested and threatened to be shot unless he gave up his commanding officer Sean Mitchell’s whereabouts.
Post war, like many Anti-Treaty Volunteers travelled to the United States. On his return in the early 30’s, at his father’s request, he took over the Market Garden Business.
Once home he revitalised his passion for sports. He was involved in the acquisition of land for St.Finbarr’s G.A.A club, along with the Manning family and financial support of Conn Neenan.
At the A.G.M. of the Pouladuff and Bishopstown Coursing Club in 1933, John Joe was elected onto the committee as the Assistant Field Marshall.
Actively involved in National Service during ‘The Emergency’ years 1939-1945.
In 1963 plans and drawings for a new memorial in the Republican Plot were discussed in The Laurels .John Joe was very proud to be an organiser.
He married his wife Elizabeth Allen on 1st June 1937 and they raised their family in the Laurels.
John Joe passed away suddenly on 6th June 1973 and as an officer in the Old IRA ‘H’ Company 2nd Battalion 1st Cork Brigade, he was given a full military funeral at the family grave in St Joseph’s Cemetery Tory Top Road, Ballyphehane, Cork.