Midwest Radio in association with Iaro Productions are delighted to announce details of a new five-part documentary series from Sunday December 29th on the life and times of Delia Murphy.
The programmes will be broadcast for five consecutive Sunday evenings at 5.30 pm and will listeners a rare insight into one of Mayo’s most influential women – namely Delia Murphy born in Claremorris and raised in Hollymount, County Mayo.
Delia was a Sinn Fein activist at UCG where she received a Masters Degree in economics in 1922.
She established the Irish Mission in London as the best known diplomatic party house during the 1930s where she befriended the Prince of Wales and had a major altercation with the German foreign minister, an ardent member of the Nazi Party. She became the most famous person in Ireland in 1939 when her first three recordings were played on what was then called Radio Eireann.
Mellow the Moonlight, Three lovely lassies from Bannion and The Blackbird established her as Ireland's very own radio darling. Then for three years she toured the country with her traditional Irish songs in her own inimitable Mayo style.
She then moved with her husband to Mussolini's Italy where her husband was appointed head of the Irish Legation to the Holy See. While in Italy she found herself at the centre of an undercover network, led by Irishman Hugh O Flaherty, which saved thousands of Jews and allied prisoners of war from the jaws of the notorious SS. Her activities in Italy were truly heroic and led to her being nominated by the British and the Americans for a raft of awards for her bravery, all of which she had to refuse because of Irish neutrality.
Delia was a special personality and totally unique. Culturally rural Irish of the tenant farmer class, Delia was, in fact, an Irish rural princess. Her father John, himself a tenant farmer, travelled to the Yukon for the Klondyke gold rush in 1898. He returned with his fortune and bought the Jenning's Estate in Hollymount where Delia spent her youth. As a resident of the manse Delia acquired a confidence and self assurance that at that time was solely the preserve of the gentry. With her rural Irish accent and Mayo charm she would go on to beguile some of the great world leaders of the 20th century. This is her story.
Delia, by Iaro Productions, takes up the story in early 1921, in the weeks before the truce, where Delia leads a protest against the presence of British soldiers on the campus of UCG. Her action led to the Battle of the Quad, a famous incident in the folklore of the Galway university. It follows her career to London in the thirties where she succeeded in making the Irish Embassy the most popular of all the diplomatic quarters in the city of London.
The series then goes on to look at her popular musical career including her heroic performance at the Ulster Hall where she continued her set even as the adjacent dock lands was being bombed. The story then moves to Rome where , in secret, she conducted her espionage career which is only now being being revealed for the first time. Delia is an homage to one of the greatest Irishwoman ever to grace the international stage.
This documentary series will be broadcast every Sunday evening at 5.30 pm on Midwest Radio commencing Sunday December 29th and continuing every Sunday evening on January 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th, 2020.
This series is produced for Midwest Radio by Iaro Productions and is funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.