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Bristol says goodbye to Ann

BY WILLIE WHITE , Carlow Nationalist

A Strange silence settled over the city of Bristol on Tuesday, May 7 2007.

Building sites were closed down and the pubs failed to open as Bristol’s Irish community turned out en masse for the funeral of the woman regarded as the ‘Mother Figure’ to the city’s exiles.

Hannah (Ann) Murphy was born in Clonegal, Co. Carlow on September 26, 1949, the daughter of the late Edward and Kathleen Murphy (nee Sullivan) of St Brigid’s Terrace, Clonegal. She was better known locally as Lani.

In her secondary school days at FCJ Bunclody she proved to be a great sportswoman. She was a keen camogie and hockey player but was interested in all sports. In the late 1960s she joined what was likened to the ‘flight of the Wild Geese’ with so many Irish people having to emigrate in search of work. Ann worked in Kilburn, London where she met and married her husband Danny. Had she lived the couple would have celebrated their ruby wedding anniversary later this year.

The couple moved to Bristol within a year of their marriage and went on to run three of the city’s best known Irish pubs, ‘The Crown and Anchor’, ‘The Black Horse’ and the ‘Coach and Horses’. All three venues were more than simply pubs - they were the place to go to find a job. Ann always had her ear to the ground when a contractor needed new recruits or when somebody needed to regain contact when they became estranged from their family back home.

Ann took her responsibilities as a landlady very seriously. The fact that she was a lover of sport and a supporter of the GAA was not surprising as her father, better known in Clonegal as Eddie, had played Gaelic football for Ballon, Clonegal and Carlow in the late 30s and early 40s. She was involved in many organisations in Bristol and especially with the organising of the St Patrick’s Day parade.

Coordinator of Bristol’s St Patrick’s Day parade Amelia Dunford said: “There were several times when someone from the Irish community died in Bristol with no known relatives to contact. Ann would then spring into action and try to track the family down. If this failed and nobody was found she would make certain they had a proper funeral even if she had to pay every penny out of her own pocket. She was one in a million with a heart of gold.”

Just a few weeks before she died Ann’s work within the community was formally recognised with a special presentation at the conclusion of this year’s parade.
At this stage illness had taken its toll and she was unable to take her place on the floats as in other years.

Ann was a gifted camogie player and was one of the founder members of and driving forces behind St Nicholas’s GAA club. When there was no opposition for the camogie team to face in Wales or the West Country they claimed nine county titles. She took her girls to play in London. On the day of her funeral Gaels gathered outside St Patrick’s Church in Redfield form all over the city to form a guard of honour at the Requiem Mass. Neither was Ann forgotten in her native Clonegal.

A large number of residents from the village travelled by boat and plane for her funeral and interment. She is survived by her loving husband Danny, her children John and Gillian, her grandchildren Katie, Collie, Hannah and Conor, brothers Paddy and John, sisters Fran, Maureen, Pauline, Liz, Bab, Monica and Geraldine,
aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and a huge circle of relatives and friends.
She will be sadly missed by the Irish in Bristol and by all who knew her for she was truly a girl with a heart of gold. May she rest in peace.



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