Irishman dying of cancer organises and participates in his own living wake 1 week ago

Irishman dying of cancer organises and participates in his own living wake

"It's a celebration of life, not death."

On Saturday evening, the Shebeen in Lislea played host to the living wake of a man by the name of Terry Murphy.

A pillar of the local community and immensely popular in the area of Omeath and Camlough, Terry was sadly diagnosed with terminal cancer.

However, rather than deal with this horrible news in a dejected and desolate fashion, it's to Terry's immense bravery and courage that he decided to hold his own living wake because he wanted to say goodbye in person to everyone that he knows and loves.

Justin McNulty, local MLA and SDLP Assembly Member for Newry and Armagh, captured some of the footage of the occasion and he also paid tribute to Terry's wonderful spirit and standing in the local community.

"Terry is a character and there is widespread affection for him locally in Lislea, in South Armagh, in Newry, and in Australia where he lived for a time," said McNulty.

"There's affection for him wherever he has been in life. He was a roofer by trade and was always dressed with a suave and sartorial style.

"He was a tough, brave and strong man - not many were foolish enough to take on Terry Murphy!"

If you're looking for a measurement of the love and warmth that Terry garnered in people, the turnout to his living wake is testament to that.

McNulty adds:

"He was associated for many years with the Corrinshego GAA club in Newry and was a big Armagh fan. He was probably best known for opening and running the Shebeen in Lislea for about 10 years.

"People travelled from far and wide to the Shebeen for the warm welcome, the homely atmosphere in a traditional Irish farmhouse setting and to meet the larger than life, friendly host Terry Murphy.

"The craic, the home baked bread, the traditional music, the story telling, the people you met from all over the world, made the Shebeen a unique and wonderful place. If Terry liked you, he might have even offered you a dram of poteen!

"You would also have regularly met Terry' s father -  'Joe Joe', may he rest in peace - and he was also a much loved character who was famous for his favourite tipple, rum black."

Since news of Terry's incredible attitude to life, death, and community spirit was shared with the public, people have been paying glowing tributes to a man who obviously means an awful lot to his friends and family.

"A fantastic celebration of life" and "so much love for this amazing man" are just a couple of the comments left on the above video.

However, we'll leave the final word for the one which accompanies McNulty's footage of the wake.

He says:

"Without trying, Terry Murphy touches the lives of so many people. As one man said in the Shebeen last night, 'Terry Murphy gives us all hope!' We’re all on a timeline.

"Terry Murphy chooses and always has chosen to live his timeline different."