RTÉ’s Arthur Murphy was a quiet, family man, funeral hears

Early career as a singer and presenter in UK was dropped so Murphy could come home

Broadcaster Arthur Murphy: his funeral Mass was told he was not part of the  racier side of the broadcasting world.

Broadcaster Arthur Murphy: his funeral Mass was told he was not part of the racier side of the broadcasting world.


Arthur Murphy, the distinguished RTÉ presenter best known for his dry wit hosting the viewers letters programme Mailbag, was a quiet man, set apart from the racier side of the broadcasting world, his funeral service heard on Saturday.

The congregation at Rathmichael Parish Church in south Dublin heard Murphy had a nascent career as a pop singer and broadcaster in the UK in his early years, appearing on British television show Music for You as a solo performer and sang with Italian opera singer Beniamino Gigli and Robert Helpmann.

In 1957, producer George Martin, who would go on to produce The Beatles, gave Murphy a recording contract.

Murphy also toured the US and made guest appearances on numerous TV shows.

Murphy’s son Shane recalled at the funeral service that his father left all that behind to come home, as he was at heart, a quiet man, a family man.

On his return to Ireland, Murphy presented RTÉ’s first chat show, Visitors Book, and also became a producer/director, directing news and producing a weekly music show called Just For You.

Arthur Murphy continued using the Mailbag concept into the 2010s, with his regular E-mail Bag item on The Ray D’Arcy Show on Today FM. Ray D’Arcy and family members were present at the funeral.

Shane Murphy recalled his father was a man who would spend a great deal of time on “what it is that is important” and had a great interest in people “so that when it came to issues such as the Ray D’Arcy Show he had just as much interest in talking to the taxi driver on the way back from the show, about what the taxi driver thought of the show”.

Murphy’s other son, Mark said his dad was apart form the racier side of the broadcasting world.

He recalled how his father had slipped on a grassy knoll, breaking his arm when climbing a hill to see the new Luas line near his home.

But the broadcaster had no inkling of the double meaning of his words when he explained to sophisticated media types that his injury was a result of a “slip on the grass,” Mark Murphy said.

Canon Frederick Appelbe said Murphy was a regular reader in Rathmichael Church and before he got to the scripture would wax eloquent about the history of the church, of the faith.

“And it was before Google, so you knew it was genuine” Canon Applebe said.

The funeral service was concelebrated by Fr Dermot Mc Carthy who was head of religious programmes on RTÉ television for 17 years.

Arthur Murphy, who was born in 1928, was predeceased by his wife Patricia and is survived by his sons, Shane and Mark.