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Tributes pour in for playwright Tom Murphy

Michael D Higgins called his contribution to Ireland "immeasurable and outstanding."


Writers and actors have been sharing their tributes to Tom Murphy following his passing.

The 83-year-old playwright from Tuam in Co. Galway was one of Ireland’s great storytellers and his contemporaries have been remembering him fondly.

President Michael D Higgins led tributes saying, “The importance of Tom Murphy’s contribution to Irish theatre is immeasurable and outstanding. We have had no greater use of language for the stage than in the body of work produced by Tom Murphy since his earliest work in the 1960s.”

He went on to say, “His themes were not only those which had influenced the very essence of Irishness, immigration, famine and loss – they were universal in their reach.”

“It was such a joy to meet Tom so many times over the years, and a particular pleasure for any of us who have been privileged to call him our friend.”

The President concluded, “Sabina and I wish to express our condolences to his wife Jane and to Mary, Bennan, Johnny, Nell and their extended family and his wide circle of friends. I will miss him deeply, but he will be fondly missed by all of us who had the privilege of knowing him.”

Theatres the writer worked with closely throughout his career have remembered him, “Druid is deeply saddened by the loss of Tom Murphy. Today we have lost a friend, a colleague, a great Irish writer and man of the theatre. Our thoughts tonight are with his wife Jane, with Mary, Bennan, Johnny, Nell & the extended Murphy family. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

The Abbey Theatre also shared their condolences, “Deeply saddened at the news that our friend the playwright Tom Murphy has passed away. Our thoughts are with his family. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

Miriam O’Callaghan recalled the interviewing him, “Beautiful, brilliant man – had the privilege of interviewing him and his beloved Jane on a few occasions. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

Business people and celebrities were also moved by Murphy’s work.

Gavin Duffy said, “Sad to hear the great Playwright Tom Murphy has died aged 83. RIP. Do playwrights ever realise the extent to which they touch people’s lives. In my mid  wenties I “experienced” The Gigli Concert @AbbeyTheatre – wonderful – fell in love with the works of Tom Murphy.”

Terribly sad to hear of the death of playwright Tom Murphy. All those incredible plays and magic words. And a plate of curry on Colgan’s head long before it was fashionable. RIP. 😢

Writer Liz Nugent was saddened, “Terribly sad to hear of the death of playwright Tom Murphy. All those incredible plays and magic words. And a plate of curry on Colgan’s head long before it was fashionable. RIP. 😢”

Filmmaker Terry McMahon said, “In the entire sordid and sublime history of our nation we have lost one of the few true geniuses. William Shakespeare, Anton Checkhov and Tennessee Williams are waiting like groupies inside Heaven’s Gate to finally meet the writer they all secretly yearned to be. RIP Tom Murphy”

Actor Stephen Jones called working on the late playwright’s dramas as career highlights, “RIP Tom Murphy. The greatest. Working on his plays while the great man was there in the room was the highlight of my career thus far. I treasured getting to chat to him about an essay I had written on his work while I was in college. Thoughts with his family and friends.”

Journalist Fintan O’Toole beautifully tweeted, “With the death of the great Tom Murphy a giant has fallen and there is a gap in the world. Almost 60 years staging our darkest fears and deepest yearnings.”