Wednesday 22 January 2020

'The soundtrack to our lives' - Tributes as DJ Larry reunited with beloved Florrie

Broadcasting legend Larry Gogan. Photo: Mark Condren
Broadcasting legend Larry Gogan. Photo: Mark Condren

The golden voice of Irish radio has signed off the airwaves.

Veteran DJ Larry Gogan (85) died yesterday following a battle with illness.

Late last year the beloved DJ had spoken about the loss in 2002 of his wife of 39 years, Florrie, and said he believed they would meet again.

"People say time heals all wounds but I don't think it does," he said.

"I still grieve for Florrie... I do believe we will meet again. I do believe there is something else."

Yesterday morning, on the day of the funeral of his colleague Marian Finucane, it was announced Gogan, who was with RTE for more than 50 years, had also died.

His daughter Sinead Gogan said the flood of kind words from people across the country and beyond had been a source of comfort.

"We can feel the love. We're getting messages. It's just so moving and touching to hear what everyone has to say about your father," she said, speaking on RTE Radio One's Liveline.

"We're all just heartbroken. He'd be so embarrassed if he heard what everyone was saying, he'd be scarlet."


She was speaking as stars from the worlds of music and broadcasting paid heartfelt tribute to Gogan.

Larry Gogan, with his daughters Orla and Grainne on the red carpet at the 2007 Meteor Ireland Music Awards. Photo: RollingNews.ie
Larry Gogan, with his daughters Orla and Grainne on the red carpet at the 2007 Meteor Ireland Music Awards. Photo: RollingNews.ie

U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jnr told RTE: "Our friendship was not traditional, as in we didn't spend countless hours together… we didn't need to.

"Just the few interviews and the occasional long lunch. We connected somehow. Maybe it was our shared northside credentials or most likely the constant messages back and forth through our mutual friend Paul Russell.

"Just checking in on each other and trying to set up the next lunch.

"Larry's cultural obituary will be written by someone a lot cleverer than me. This is personal - not professional. And so to Larry… sadly we lost you today… but the next time I promise you Larry, I'll come and find you on the other side."

Speaking about learning of his death, the U2 star added: "It took me a while to process that. I thought of his children and grandchildren and then selfishly felt sorry for myself."

Bob Geldof, of the Boomtown Rats, spoke of the importance of Gogan to the Irish music industry at a time of change in Irish society.

Larry Gogan in the studio
Larry Gogan in the studio

"Larry was one of the voices that could usher in music, which in turn articulated the attitude of those arguments," he said, speaking on RTE Radio One.

"A very good man, very important to contemporary music in Ireland."

From the Just A Minute Quiz to the Golden Hour, fellow broadcaster Joe Duffy called Gogan "the soundtrack to our lives" between the 1960s and 2020s.

"I visited him 10 days ago, he was in his usual great form with his loving family, his beautiful honeyed voice, the quick wit and deep intelligence shone through," he said.

Pat Kenny spoke of his work with Gogan covering the Eurovision song contest.

"I did travel again and again with Larry in Scandinavia and all sorts of places. The memories are quite vivid of a lovely man," he said.

"He was the best of company. He was absolutely pleasant.

"Years ago, there was a drink called the Carlsberg special and Larry had no tolerance for alcohol at all so two of those and he became hugely entertaining."

Author Roddy Doyle, who named the dog Larry Gogan in The Snapper after the presenter, said he understood Mr Gogan quite liked it.

"I only met him a few times. The first time I met was in a hotel in New York, Halloween 1998," he said.

"The lift doors opened and there was Larry Gogan. The two of us looked at each other and burst out laughing."

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