Those of you who frequent the shop will most probably be aware of the untimely death of Jimmy Murray, co-founder of the Hopsack, recently turned organic farmer, who passed away at the end of August last year. At the time it didn't feel appropriate for us to post this information on our website, but over time we have come to feel that his absence needs to be recognised in this, the newest medium for information dispersal at our disposal. As most of you will know The Hopsack is a family business, and was run by Jimmy and Erica for the past 29 years with great fervour and a genuine interest in helping people that is rare in our times. In the early days Jimmy could be seen tooling about Dublin's fruit markets in the early mornings in a succession of "Hopsack" vans, probably the most memorable of which was the little mini van, that knowing his love of all things mechanical, would have been his pride and joy. Jimmy had a colourful past in which he had dipped his toe into many industries, from auctioneering to the motor trade, but the one that was to stick with him was his time spent in Gurteen Agricultural College and his subsequent endeavours on a farm in central France. More of this later.
Jimmy was a great man for a shindig and when as a family we were invited to a party or dinner or pretty much wherever we went, a badhrain and didgeridoo would ALWAYS make it into the boot of the car and Jimmy was never short of a tune when the time came – with his phenomenal musical ear he could pick up whatever was being played at a moment's notice. It is this aspect of his character which I think sticks out most prominent in people's memories of him, though he managed to hold back from ever letting loose in the shop – shame! In business he was extremely astute and prided himself on treating everyone he dealt with with the same respect and dignity, no matter how much they might have riled him, and countless customers in the shop have recounted their fondness of the interaction that they had with Jimmy on the shop floor.
In the latter part of his life Jimmy began to realise some of his long-held personal dreams – those of owning his Austin Healey 3000MkIII – a 1960's sports car that he lusted after in his youth(he owned two of them – the former of which he lovingly restored over seven years!), and also that of finding a piece of land to work, which he did around eight years ago. A man of ongoing projects, he took on a delapidated farm house and outbuildings on 45 acres near Strokestown, Co. Roscommon, where over the next eight years he brought the farm back to its former glory, earning the respect of local farmers and former occupants of the house (with whom he remained in close contact), and completing the conversion of the land to full organic status last year. Barring all the stresses of a working farm, the peace which he found down in the wilds of Roscommon really seemed to suit him well. At the time of his death the farm had eight breeding cows, that received more love and attention than most in the commercial field of farming, and that Jimmy knew by site and character. Character is indeed a word that comes strongly to mind when remembering Jimmy, and one farming colleague told me of his previous visits to the farm where Jimmy was in his element wandering amongst the cows with a bottle of beer in hand and chewing the cud with other local farmers.
There is so much one cannot possibly transfer to paper/keyboard when remembering a loved one – but I suppose in looking at the legacy Jimmy left us we can take great comfort, two kids (me) Finn, and my sister Kate who will follow in his footsteps and a great business that engages with the local community and which allowed him to realise his wish empower people to keep themselves healthy and happy. The world is not the same place without him. Go neiridh an bothar leat Jimbo, and thanks for the memories.
On that note I would also like to extend our deepest appreciation to the flood (no exagerration!) of sympathetic support that we received – we know you all share in our loss and hope that we can all take a lesson from Jimmy's death – to live every day, have your own mind and to not spare a thought for the critics and cynics of this world.