There was deep sadness in the silence of the large crowd that gathered outside Leinster House on Friday, who were coming together to remember Ashling Murphy.
By 4 p.m. the street was filling up, as women and men, young and old, broke from their daily routines to gather outside the deli. The crowd grew from hundreds to several thousand at both ends of Kildare Street.
Groups of friends came together; Likewise fathers and daughters, classmates in school uniforms, mothers pushing babies into buggies. Many had candles, while others carried bouquets.
At the start of the vigil, fiddlers swept over the silent crowd, as some of Ms. Murphy’s friends played traditional Irish music the 23-year-old teacher was known to love.
The vigil was one of dozens held across the country in the wake of the murder of Ms Murphy, who was attacked for a run along a canal in Offaly, Tullamore, on Wednesday afternoon.
Grace Corrigan, who grew up playing traditional music with Ms Murphy, described her as “the nicest, kindest, most caring person” who was “so beautiful inside and out”.
“You’ll have a look at that” [music] session, and she’ll give you a big wink, and an even bigger smile on her face,” Ms Corrigan told the crowd in Dublin.
“This should not have happened to him. Ashling, we absolutely love you, and we will never forget you,” she said.
Orla O’Connor, director of Ireland’s National Council for Women, said Ms Murphy was a young woman with a life ahead of her. Ms O’Connor said she was a teacher, a daughter, a sister and a friend of many. “We are furious that another woman’s life has been taken,” she said.
Feminist campaigner Ailbe Smith said the murder of the young woman should be a “turning point” for Irish society and its attitude towards women.
“What can you do other than cry at the loss of this young woman, over the loss of any woman . . . because of cruelty, because of wickedness,” she said.
As she spoke, some in the crowd quietly wiped away their tears.
“The lives of women and girls matter, and men’s violence against women and girls must stop. , , The killing of women must end,” she said.
“The fear we have for ourselves, our daughters, our sisters, our mothers, can happen to any of us at any time, no one should live with that fear,” he said.
Among the crowd at the vigil, Rachel Cunningham (28) of Dublin said gender-based violence was not a women’s issue, but an “imposed issue on women”.
“We don’t feel at liberty to be able to walk home by ourselves, to be able to go out in the dark, to be able to go out for something as simple as a run,” she said.
Drogheda’s Gabriel Cooney, 67, along with his wife and daughter participated in the surveillance and described Murphy’s murder as a “shocking”.
“I think it’s important that men show that it’s not really just a woman’s issue, it’s really a man’s issue, because it’s about attitudes in society,” he said.
Anna Heverin, 31, said women had an “air of sadness” since Ms Murphy’s death earlier this week.
“We all have stories, we all know people who have been followed, or who haven’t felt safe . . . this is something we all feel very deeply as women,” he said.
“We won’t take any more, something needs to be done, something needs to change, because it shouldn’t have happened . . . Every single woman, the conversation we’re having is this,” she said.