Bobby Ryan’s daughter says his murder took her life away

Michelle Ryan ‘disgusted’ that trial focused on relationship between Quirke and Mary Lowry

The daughter of Bobby 'Mr Moonlight' Ryan has said her life ended when her father died. Michelle Ryan has described her life now as "an existence" more than 10 years on from when her father first went missing.

Tipperary farmer Patrick Quirke was found guilty in 2019 of the murder of local DJ and father-of-two Bobby Ryan (52) known as 'Mr Moonlight', at Fawnagowan in Co Tipperary.

Mr Ryan disappeared on June 3rd, 2011, after leaving the home of Mary Lowry early in the morning. His badly decomposed body was discovered in a disused underground tank almost two years later on farmland leased to Mr Quirke by Ms Lowry.

Quirke previously had an affair with Ms Lowry and the prosecution argued during his trial that he murdered Mr Ryan so he could rekindle their relationship.


Quirke denied the charge and told the trial that he discovered Mr Ryan’s body in the tank on April 30th, 2013, while he was spreading slurry.

Ms Ryan said her father was her and her brother Robert’s “rock” since they were born and their lives had been “taken away” following his murder.

"As I always say it wasn't just Daddy's life that was taken back then, it was our life as well, it was stripped completely from underneath us like Daddy's life was," she told RTÉ radio's Brendan O'Connor show on Saturday.

She said she and her brother used to enjoy themselves and looked forward to “anything that was going on”, but that had all changed.

“There could be a thousand people in a room and it’s still empty because you don’t hear that big, big bubbly laugh and you don’t see the big bright smile you know, Daddy should be there,” she said.

“I try to paint on the smile. Obviously I have kids that are looking on at me and I’m not going to dim their light so I try my best . . . but inside I have the lump in the throat, the tears building in the eyes. I have to actually kind of disconnect myself as well, remove myself, gather my thoughts and come back.”

Ms Ryan said life was never going to be the same after her father’s death and that she really missed their daily phonecalls to each other.

“My life as I knew it ended when my father’s life ended. I just didn’t know as soon as my father [did] that my life was gone,” she added.

Ms Ryan said she has had no contact with Ms Lowry, Quirke or his family. Quirke recently lost an appeal against his conviction.

She said she was “disgusted” that her father’s murder trial focused so much on the relationship of Quirke and Ms Lowry.

“At the end of the day we had an innocent man whose life was cut short and that was forgotten about in that courtroom and all of a sudden it was about these two people,” she said.

She said she visits her father’s grave at Christmas and on his birthday and lights candles for him every day.

Ms Ryan said they were more “like best friends” and that Mr Ryan was “really young at heart” with people often describing him as “a tonic”.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times