Richard Hayward, one of Larne’s most famous sons, has been immortalized in a mural on the town’s main street. Hayward, although originally born in Southport, England, spent most of his childhood and young adult life in Larne before moving to Belfast for work.
Hayward was an actor, filmmaker, musician, and writer, becoming one of Ireland’s most celebrated creative talents in the 20th century. He was the main actor in many of the first black and white “talkies” made in Ireland during his film career between 1920 and 1958, and was a popular singer who sang in halls and bars across Ireland.
His most famous works include acting in John Wayne’s The Quiet Man, in which his song “The Humour’s On Me” was featured. His song “A Night to Remember” was played in the Titanic film. He also filmed The Luck of the Irish, The Early Bird, and Devil’s Reach in the nearby areas of Glynn Village, Glenarm, and Carnlough.
Hayward also wrote poems, novels, and even 11 travel books about Ireland’s history, folklore, archaeology, and legends, including the book In Praise of Ulster. As such, he helped promote Ireland as a tourism destination.
Sadly, Hayward died in 1964 as a result of a car crash. In May 2013, the Ulster History Circle erected a blue plaque to mark the 40th anniversary of his death at his old house on the Antrim Road in Belfast. A mural in his honor was designed by Portadown artist Eoin McGinn and painted by Belfast artist Dee Craig.