Athlone native and man of fine musical tastes Cathal Murray presents popular late-night music destination Late Date, on RTÉ Radio 1 from Sunday to Friday - his dulcet tones are nigh-upon unmistakable to the show's fanatical following. We asked Cathal for his choice cultural picks...


If I could pay for a fourth billboard to place outside Ebbing, Missouri it would read 'Overrated'. Great performances, though...

Gary Oldman huffing and puffing in a fat suit as Churchill? Darkest Hour felt more like a made for television movie that accidentally ended up on the big screen due to an error in accounts. They should have given Gary the gong for his Dracula… 

I thought Phantom Thread was a very well-dressed exploration of relationships, with Vicky Krieps matching Daniel Day pound for pound on screen, it’s sad to think it’s his final performance. I watched Hunt for the Wilderpeople recently and loved it - highly recommended for anyone looking for a bit of escapist craic. 


I feel very lucky getting to play music five nights a week on Late Date. I could go on all day with this one, sufficed to say I have The Beatles and Cocteau Twins placed on a very high pedestal. The Irish scene is in rude health, The Curious Hand by Seamus Fogarty being my favourite of the recent releases and, thirty years after they split, I was thrilled to hear that Cathal Coughlan & Sean O’Hagan were reforming Microdisney. They’re playing a one-off gig in the National Concert Hall in June.  


I read a lot of books about music. Currently on my bedside locker are Paul Howard’s I Read the News Today, Oh Boy about tragic Guinness heir Tara Browne (who inspired The Beatles A Day in the Life) and Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen (the legend in his own words, culled from decades of interviews). I just finished Max Porter’s "Grief is the Thing with Feathers" for reasons I’ll go into in the next part…. 


Enda Walsh has adapted and is directing Porter’s beautiful study of love, loss and living, with Cillian Murphy set to play a widower, caring for his two young sons when they are visited by a crow... 

I think the audiences in Galway and Dublin are in for something special. Enda and Cillian’s creative partnership goes way back - Disco Pigs, Misterman, and Ballyturk are incredible works. Cillian is a close friend of mine so I’m biased, but he is as much at home on stage (in fact he’s an animal on it) as he is on screen, and I think their latest collaboration is going to be wild. The play opens in the Black Box Theatre, Galway on March 16th. 


I work at night and don’t watch TV during the day, but I’m really looking forward to catching up on The Young Offenders and Derry Girls. I only recently signed up with Netflix and haven’t really been using it so sorry for the short television response, culture fans! There was a time, long ago, when I watched an awful lot of The Simpsons and South Park.  


Sufjan Stevens in The Olympia back in 2011 during his Age of Adz tour was unforgettable, watching Impossible Soul performed live was life affirming - it was the most magical, colourful gig I’ve been to. The Gloaming are playing seven shows in their rehearsal space, aka The National Concert Hall - I couldn’t recommend them highly enough - a Martin Hayes solo will send you to heaven. They are the definition of a supergroup.


Once a year, during the month of January, the National Gallery exhibit the watercolours of JMW Turner. They were bequeathed by Henry Vaughan on the condition that they only be shown in January when natural light is at it’s weakest (though this request, which was made almost 120 years ago doesn’t matter now with modern conservation techniques, the Gallery still honour his wishes, which I think is pretty cool) I have a thing for the sea - no one painted the sea & storms like Turner. I’m a huge fan of the work of Harry Clarke - if there’s a church with his stained-glass in it, I’ll be there to worship. Also: Seán Hillen's work is really interesting, he uses collages and photos check out his Irelantis work.  


I love the wireless. The dial is set to RTÉ Radio 1 (and I’m not saying this just because my bosses may be reading this) and I also listen to a French radio station called FIP which plays wildly eclectic music and BBC Radio 6’s Sunday schedule has some great shows. Radio is the theatre of the mind, tune in. 


Just like my television section, this is going to be short as I’m not great on these things. One app that really helps what I do for a living is Shazam - even if I do look occasionally odd holding my phone aloft in public places trying to capture the name of a track to play on Late Date

The Next Big Thing... 

The idiom "Left to my own devices" means something else these days. Most of us could do with spending less time on our devices - I think that’d be a pretty big thing. 

Listen to Late Date, Sunday-Friday at 11pm, RTÉ Radio 1