Sadness and anger in Vigilance across Ireland for Ashling Murphy

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.

Musicians and friends of Ashling Murphy play in a vigil for the teacher outside Leinster House. Photograph: Laura Hutton/The Irish Times

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.

‘turn point’

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.