English star Sting visits home of ‘pauper’ Irish ancestor
English singer-songwriter Sting paid an emotional visit to the former home of an Irish ancestor who lived in poverty and was buried in an unmarked grave.
The former Police singer recently discovered he had Irish ancestry when he appeared on the American TV series ‘Finding Your Roots’.
The show revealed that Sting’s relatives on his mother’s side were from Inniskeen.
His great-great-great grandmother was Mary Murphy, a widowed pauper who died from illness at a workhouse in Co Monaghan in 1881. All of her children either emigrated or died.
The singer was recently in Ireland to perform in Belfast and Dublin with Paul Simon. While he was in the country he took time out to visit the workhouse in Carrickmacross, which is now a community centre.
Kevin Gartland, workhouse co-ordinator, showed Sting the building where his ancestor would have lived and died. There are three mass graves at the workhouse that contain the bodies of the people who died there.
Yvonne Marron, manager of the community centre said that Sting was: “quite overwhelmed by it all – he stayed here for more than an hour.”
The workhouse had been built in 1841 and was intended to house up to 500 tenants. However, by the 1850s there were over 2,000 due to the devastating effects of the Irish Famine.
The building has been restored and was re-opened in 2004 as a community centre.
While Sting was in Inniskeen, he met and spoke with some distant relatives from Murphy and McHugh families in the nearby area.