Ruby Murray Plaque unveiling on 15th February 2019
The Belfast press corps and local television cameras faced Chris Spurr, Chairman of the Ulster History Circle as he welcomed everyone to the unveiling of the blue plaque to remember and commemorate, Ruby Murray, the singing sensation of the 1950’s and subsequent decades. The girl who had the ‘jewel of a voice’ and who enchanted millions with her talent. The Murray families had travelled from Canada and from England to attend the event. Guests who included Arlene Foster, Emma Little-Pengelly, Christopher Stalford, mingled with local bystanders who had come to watch the ceremony.
Ruby Murray was born in 84 Moltke Street, off the Donegall Road, not too far away from the plaque location. Speaking on behalf of the Belfast City Council, Councillor Donal Lyons said that the BCC were delighted to have been approached by the Circle for the funding, and he welcomed being able to honour such an icon – a daughter of the City. The acting director of the Great Village Regeneration Trust, Sarah Bowden expressed their honour in having the plaque on the GVRT building on the Donegall Road, and said that it was a fitting tribute to Ruby Murray who came from the area. The plaque can be seen by everyone.
Just before Ruby’s son and daughter, Tim and Julie Murray, unveiled the plaque, Tim said – ‘Julie and I are totally ‘blown away’ by the honour bestowed on our mother in her home city.
We are delighted to be back in Belfast especially in the area that was so dear to our mother’s heart – where she was born, grew up, attended Fane Street School and joined the children’s choir. We are grateful to everyone who has turned out this morning to commemorate Ruby with this Ulster History Circle blue plaque, and to the Belfast City Council for the funding.
It means the world to us that she is still remembered with love in her native city and by so many people the world over. We are so proud and it is lovely to know that her name and her music live on’.
After numerous photographs and television interviews, Tim, Julie and guests adjourned to the adjacent building for refreshments, and to listen to Peter Wilson (aka Duke Special) sing one of Ruby’s songs ‘Happy Days and Lonely Nights’. This was followed by Michael Cameron who nominated Ruby Murray for the blue plaque, and who was the writer of the ‘Ruby’ play at the Lyric theatre. Finally Tim Murray spoke personally about his wonderful mother; her achievement of having 5 No. 1 records in the Top Twenty in the week of 18th March 1955, and eventually her battle with her demons.
The ceremony concluded with the showing of a 20 minute film made many years ago by RTE. An emotional audience heard again, Ruby Murray singing a selection of her songs with tributes on film from Phil Coulter and Daniel O’Donnell, amongst others.
The final song to end the remarkable day in which so many memories were stirred, was from ‘Duke Special’ who sang perhaps Ruby’s most famous – ‘Softly, Softly’.
Photographs from the Plaque unveiling
Photographs – left to right
- The location of the Blue Plaque to Ruby, at 337 Donegall Road, Belfast.
- Chris Spurr, Chairman Ulster History Circle looks on as Ruby Murray’s son and daughter Tim and Julie Murray address the guests.
- Tim and Julie unveil the UHC Blue Plaque to their mother.
- Michael Cameron who nominated Ruby Murray for the blue plaque, and the writer of the ‘Ruby’ play at the Lyric Theatre, with Julie and Tim.
- Suzanne McGonagle , Irish News and Claire McNeilly, Belfast Telegraph interview Tim Murray.
- Sarah Bowden, acting director -Greater Village Regeneration Trust (3rd Left) and the ladies from GVRT, with ‘Duke Special’ who performed at the ceremony.