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Ashling Murphy
anniversary mass

‘A community held together by love’: Ashling Murphy remembered by community one year on

‘It is not something physical, it is not something you can buy or purchase, it is one simple word; it is love.’

“THE GREATEST CHALLENGE we face everyday is to show love, and to give love, and to share it. Ashling did all those things.”

Those were the words of Father Michael Meade at St Brigid’s Church, Mountbolus, Co Offaly as the community came together to mark one year since Ashling Murphy’s killing.

The 23-year-old school teacher was fatally attacked while jogging along a canal near Tullamore on 12 January, 2022.

The entire community came out to celebrate and reflect on Ashling’s life.

Ashling’s life was full of music and so too was her anniversary mass.

Earlier in the day, this love of music was also remembered when Ashling’s father Raymond Murphy joined in with a musical tribute to his daughter at the site where she was killed last year.

Father Meade told the congregation that it has been a tough year, but noted that “something has kept you together”.

“Something has touched you in a real and lasting way,” he said, “and that something is Ashling; that something is all she lived for and all she gave.”

He added that the gift of love carried the community, saying: “And we acknowledge what has carried you all this last year.

“It is not something physical, it is not something you can buy or purchase, it is one simple word; it is love.”

He called this love the “greatest comfort” that the community has and challenged the congregation to “show love, and to give love, and to share it”.

“Ashling did all those things to the best of her ability,” said Fr Meade.

He reflected upon the “the great feeling of loss and pain and hurt” that is being felt and noted how many people helped one another during this period not through “wonderful or great” acts, but “in the ordinary, simple, everyday things we do for one another”.

“These small things last, endure, help us to accept the many crosses placed upon our shoulders,” he said. 

“And a great cross has been placed upon your shoulders,” he added, acknowledging Ashling’s family.

Fr Meade ended his homily by reminding the congregation to “continually pray for love”.

He added: “We pray that that love always give you comfort, gives you courage, gives you trust. It is a love that reaches beyond the grave, a love that never ends.”

Ashling was a teacher at Durrow National School in Tullamore, Co Offaly.

Staff and pupils there also remembered their “shining light” today and added their own words to a song they dedicated to Ashling.