Richard McArthur was originally from Ardglass Co Down. Little can be told of his early life and background only that he was well educated and a gentleman. A bookseller by trade, he arrived in Dublin in the beginning of the 1800’s. He worked with Gilbert & Hodges, booksellers and stationers of College Green as early as 1812, a loose receipt signed by him confirms the date. It appears from the few remaining documents from the business that his role was, locating and distributing books to clients.
He may have relocated to Dublin, because at that time it was a hub for printing and publishing, providing better opportunities than nearby Belfast. The move proved a good decision for Richard for in 1817 he was made a partner in the business, when Gilbert left, and it was probably in the same bookshop he first set eyes on his future wife Mary. There are records to confirm that Mary Graisberry’s family printed medical books sold by Gilbert & Hodges over the years.