'We won the lottery to have him as a Dad' - Hundreds pay tribute to broadcaster Larry Gogan at funeral
The trick to success is simple, Larry Gogan used to say.
Stick around long enough to become a habit.
And after 59 years on air, listening to the man ‘with the golden voice’ had become a reassuring habit for many thousands.
Most of us can’t remember life without Larry, his lifelong friend, Father Brian D’Arcy, said in his funeral homily in the Church of St Pius X in Templeogue.
Hundreds of mourners gathered at the church on a frosty morning to pay respects to the late DJ who died on Tuesday surrounded by his family in the care of Kiltipper Woods Care Centre.
Chief mourners were Larry’s children Gerard, Orla, David, Gráinne and Sinéad, and his 12 grandchildren.
“We won the lottery to have him as a Dad and Granddad,” his daughter Orla told mourners.
“We were truly blessed to have had the coolest and most-with-it Dad and Granddad, better known to you and his grandchildren as Larry but as Lorcan to us, his children.
“We loved him so much. Not only as a father, but as a great pal. He was always there for us. He was never negative. His motto was 'there's always a solution.'"
The family took comfort in believing that he will finally be reunited with the love of his life - Florrie who died 18 years ago of breast cancer.
Larry met Florrie when she was 15. Both their fathers ran newspaper shops in Dublin, and he was immediately struck by her beauty.
They were engaged two years later and married when she was 21. He remained devoted to her for not only for the rest of her life, but his too.
“They were inseparable,” Father D’Arcy said. “When Florrie died, Larry was heartbroken, but now they are together again.”
His grandchildren Poppi, Seb, Ben, Zoe, Jamie, and Jodie brought symbols of life to the altar; a thesaurus he used when labouring over his crossword puzzles, treasured photographs of Larry and Florrie and Larry smiling widely, surrounded by all his 12 grandkids.
They also brought up the ‘tools of Larry’s trade’ in the form of the most battered set of headphones on the RTE lot, a newspaper filled with celebrity gossip, and a pack of wine gums which his grandchildren used to pinch when he wasn’t looking.
D’Arcy spoke of Gogan’s skill as a broadcaster telling mourners that he was “the greatest DJ in Ireland.”
And that’s undoubtedly true; he was a skilled and shrewd broadcaster with an encyclopedic knowledge of music, but that wasn’t the only or perhaps even the main reason people tuned in.
It was also for his character, his avuncular charm, his authenticity, humour and warmth.
“He brought you along with the music, swept you up in the energy,” fan Eddie O’Brien (60) from Churchtown said.
“He had a youthful enthusiasm on the radio. I liked that. And he kept his voice till the end.”
Father Brian D’Arcy described him as ‘an extraordinary man who was very ordinary’.
"His gift was the extraordinary things he could do. For he himself remained rooted in the ground.
"He was very honest, obliging, happy and easy to work with."
News of Gogan’s death broke on Tuesday shortly before the funeral of RTE’s Marian Finucane, and weeks after the death of Gay Byrne.
“It truly is the end of an era,” D’Arcy said.
Colleagues from RTÉ including Director General Dee Forbes, Moya Doherty, Bryan Dobson, Louise McSharry, and Doireann Garrihy were in attendance.
U2’s Larry Mullins, Dickie Rock, Brendan Grace’s widow Eileen Doyle, Marty Whelan, Eoghan McDermott, Ronan Collins, Ian Dempsey, and former head of 2FM John Clarke were also among mourners.
The President of Ireland was represented by Aide de Campe, Colonel Liam Condon, while the Taoiseach was represented by Commandant Caroline Burke.
The funeral service was punctuated with songs performed by Larry’s grandniece Rachel Goode.
She sang a particular powerful rendition of U2’s One - one of Larry’s favourite songs.
Father Brian D’Arcy concluded by commenting on Larry’s likability.
“He loved fun. He was adored by everyone. We all knew that he was without doubt the greatest disc jockey we were ever likely to hear or see. He was a hero to everybody. He helped us all on our way.
“The last thing I'll say is this. There's only one person in the world that can think of that I never heard anyone say a bad word about. Never in my life did anyone ever say a bad word about Larry Gogan to me, and that is over a period of well over 50 years. I think that's a great legacy of Larry Gogan."