GAY BYRNE DIES.

Patrick Freyne Irish Times

The broadcaster Gay Byrne has died at the age of 85 after a long period of ill-health.

Born in Dublin in August 1934, Byrne was a totemic and beloved figure in Irish broadcasting with a career that spanned six decades. For millions of people he was the face of RTÉ and a kind, reassuring voice every morning.

The first episode of The Late Late Show aired on the 5th of July, 1962 with Byrne as its host.

It was supposedly to run for just six weeks, but under Byrne’s stewardship the programme became an Irish cultural institution and, eventually, the second longest-running late-night talk show in the world.

With its magazine format it became, not just a platform for celebrity interviews and musical performances but a place where the most controversial issues in Irish life could be discussed.

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Gay Byrne cast a long shadow over Irish broadcasting

His morning radio programme, The Gay Byrne Show ran from 1973 until 1998 and was the first show on Irish radio to allow listeners to call in and set the agenda.

In the wake of Ann Lovett’s tragic death in 1984 the programme provided a forum for hundreds of letters from women outlining their own stories of unwanted pregnancy.

In both programmes, Byrne helped to expose social hypocrisy and to document a liberalising Ireland, often to the great annoyance of conservative politicians and clergy.

His decision to depart the Late Late Show in 1999 was not a complete retirement. He went on to present the quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, the interview series The Meaning of Life and a weekly music show on Lyric FM.

He also took on a very different public role as the chairman of the Road Safety Authority where he became an important life-saving advocate for behavioural change on the roads and was willing to challenge what he saw as government inaction

In June, Byrne was due to receive the Ireland-US council’s Lifetime Achievement Award but was unable to attend the ceremony.

President Michael D Higgins paid tribute to him at the event, saying:

“Controversial, outspoken, and unafraid to break new ground, it has been said that, throughout his many decades on television and radio, Gay Byrne’s role in the shaping and crafting of modern-day Ireland has been profound.”

He is survived by his wife Kathleen Watkins and their daughters Suzy and Crona.

PAT SAYS

I met Gay Byrne on a number of occasions when I appeared on the Late Late Show and his morning radio show.

I got on well with him but he never really let you know what he really thought himself.

On one of the occasions I was on the Late Late he gave me £50 in an envelope to offer up a Mass for the dead accountant who had swindled him out of all his money.

I thought that was pretty forgiving of him.

I did find that the times I was in the Late Late he had priests like Michael Rasputin Cleary in the audience to snipe at me.

Yesterday, one comment maker suggested Gay did not believe in God.

I do know that when he lived in Howth he went to Sunday Mass in the Sisters of Charity convent there.

All in all, I think he can be thanked for doing a lot to rid Ireland of the influence of the Catholic Church – having lesbian nuns etc on the Late Late.

Overall, because Gaybo was there in my childhood and early life, I feel sad at his death 😥

THE FUNERAL

In the next few days it will be funny watching Brian Darcy trying to muscle in on Gay’s funeral.

109 thoughts on “GAY BYRNE DIES.

  1. COMMENTS ENABLED

    Like

  2. Rip Gay.
    Remember the infamous Bishop and the nightie. God be with the days. We’ve come full circle. Nowadays the laity might be ringing to ask if the Bishop was going commando!

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    1. Or what priest or seminarian the bishop was sleeping with 😊

      Like

      1. Sad but true.

        Like

      2. you’re obsessed with sex for a fat man

        Like

    2. Going commando…my arse !
      Last time I went commando Barbara said I was a snipers dream.

      Like

      1. Jim, are you obsessing over arses?

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      2. Jim Royle is actually MC.

        Like

    3. Anonymous Angelicus 5th Nov 2019 — 4:05 pm

      From the RTE Archives.
      THE BISHOP AND THE NIGHTIE 1966
      A ‘Late Late Show’ quiz about the colour of a wife’s honeymoon nightie proves controversial.
      ‘The Bishop and the Nightie’ was a much talked-about controversy arising from a light-hearted quiz on ‘The Late Late Show’.
      ‘Host Gay Byrne picked a married couple from the audience, Richard and Eileen Fox from Terenure in Dublin, and asked each of them a series of questions while the other was out of earshot. One of the questions related to the colour of Eileen’s nightie on honeymoon. Richard said it was transparent, while Eileen said she wasn’t wearing any.
      The item drew condemnation from Thomas Ryan, Bishop of Clonfert in Galway, who denounced ‘The Late Late Show’ from the pulpit and said he was disgusted by the disgraceful performance. Byrne later issued a statement saying it had not been the show’s intention to embarrass viewers. He pointed out that it was a late-night show designed for adult viewing.’

      Like

      1. Obsessing over arses …..my bloody arse!
        My only obsession is… my Barbara.😉

        Like

  3. Raphoe Priest. 5th Nov 2019 — 9:23 am

    Some time ago I saw a senior Irish bishop in a gay cruising area in Rome.

    Like

    1. 9.23: Raptor Priest: What were you doing in the same spot? Having an ice cream with benefits….!!!

      Like

      1. Raphoe Priest. 5th Nov 2019 — 9:43 am

        I was on a bus which had stopped at a bus stop. But just to let you know, I am one if those rare priests who is heterosexual.

        Like

      2. lol @ 9:40, I’m sat at my desk roaring laughing at this comment. thanks for the laugh x

        Like

      3. 9.40: How did you know it was a gay cruising area? What is a true heterosexual priest? I think Rev. Fr. that you’re fantazing and telling lies….

        Like

    2. Years ago I saw the President of Maynooth, sans wig, enjoying an ice cream with his boyfriend Jaime on the Via della Conciliazione.

      Like

      1. The Greg isn't like it used to be. 5th Nov 2019 — 4:26 pm

        3:05 pm

        Your Lordship, are for fishing?

        True- definition…in accordance with fact or reality.
        Heterosexual- definition…a person attracted to the opposite sex.
        Priest- definition….an ordained minister of the Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican Church, authorized to perform certain rites and administer certain sacraments.

        Fantazing : the correct spelling is fantasizing.

        Like

    3. He was out for his daily constitutional. Have you never heard of coincidences?

      And, dear Father, what exactly were you doing there?

      Like

      1. 8: 28
        My dear Lord, are you his spokesperson? How would you know, unless it was….

        Like

  4. VENI SANCTE SPIRITUS

    Like

  5. Has the Merc with the Requiem Celebrant to the Stars been seen in Dublin yet? RTE should put up a helicopter to broadcast live its passage through the streets.

    Like

      1. Jesus, Mary and Joseph !

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      2. Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the little donkey.

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    1. God be with the days when you could bump into Fr Darcy in the National Ballroom in Parnell Square.

      Like

    2. No, he was on Radio Ulster earlier spouting his usual nonsense. He couldn’t resist admitting he was friends with Gay in almost every sentence. Then he added he was friends with two of Ireland’s greatest broadcasters, Wogan and Gay. This guy is so far up his own arse it’s unreal. Brian it’s not always about you you you, it’s about Gay Byrne RIP. It’s not about the person you knew but about a person a nation knew as well and loved. The Passionists must never have taught him humility.

      Like

    3. Pat, is that photo taken of Darcy above at the funeral of Big Tom McBride? It’s just that he looks far from the smiling priest to the stars. Was it because the clergy in Castleblaney didn’t allow him to muscle in on being the main celebrant. I hope Gay’s family don’t allow him to hijack his funeral purely for the limelight and to boost his own ego. Apparently if you don’t recognise or acknowledge Darcy as a celebrity he gets the hump – I suppose that tells you a lot.

      Like

  6. Problem in the Church:
    Too many corrupt Bishops.
    Any more sightings?

    Like

  7. Or his thoughts on the KOB scandal, Bp Pat. Did he still have a radio talk show then? I wonder.

    Like

  8. What I don’t understand…why all the jealousy from,,,especially you Pat…regarding the lovely Brian Darcy.

    Like

    1. I’m not at all jealous. It’s just that I cringe watching his performances 😥

      Like

      1. Does Brian ever stop preaching to the gallery? He esposes any liberal position that will go down well with the Irish Times and RTE and he’ll do anything for a round of applause.

        Like

      2. 11.03: ….And we, Your Lordship, cringe at your utterances. Have you any self awareness?

        Like

  9. 9.43: Liar, Father, Liar….be courageous and name your suspect…

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    1. 12:15pm

      Your Lordship, calm down….

      Like

    2. 9:43 12:15

      Cardinal Parolins Office, Vaticana, c/o Bishop Buckley, Larne Oratory.

      Like

  10. Passionists have told me he pisses them off big time by name dropping and announcing which celeb he’s meeting next and where.

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    1. MournemanMichael 5th Nov 2019 — 1:11 pm

      Two questions about Brian Darcy strike me here. I ask without any knowledge of him other what I’ve read on +Pat’s blog, and having once, many years ago, seen him on TV taking issue with bishop Daly over some matter on which Darcy seemed to take a much more liberal, sensitive and compassionate stance than an obdurate shrewish Daly completely puffed up with his own importance.
      1) Might it be the case that Darcy features prominently in the media because of his more compassionate liberal interpretation of “Gospel Requirements” than the RC orthodoxy holds, and moreover he speaks out publicly on such matters?
      2) Might it be the case that he appears to attract so much criticism because of these views both from theologically disagreeing ‘hard line’ conservative RC clerics, and, on the other hand, those who are actually jealous of his apparent popularity?
      Clearly his own personality plays a part too but should that be the sole focus?
      MMM

      Like

    2. Invidia clericorum

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      1. 9:40
        Why so, pray tell?

        Like

  11. Too bad Pat that passionists are also jealous of Brian.
    I do like to read your blog Pat but will never understand your dislike of the man.
    He will go down in history as a bigger legend a bigger icon than either of Gay or the others mentioned.
    I only spoke with him in passing,but loved his masses and his short talks. He made my mass going a privilege when he was in Enniskillen and I not from even near ther.

    Like

    1. Mass is not supposed to be all about the priest, even though it always is with D’Arcy. The Graan was like something out of Fr Ted, with Brian going round pouring out cups of tea in the church during the Novena and Victor popping down from the sanctuary during Mass to play the organ, all the while in his chasuble.

      Like

      1. Never watched Fr Ted,my tv viewing was limited due to pressures of work and rearing a family.
        Yes I like to listen to an inspirational talk during my weekly mass, so bog off with your criticisms and stop gathering up false stories .whats your talks like ?

        Like

      2. Speaking of the Graan, did the nursing home operated from the Graan not get closed at one stage not so long ago because of its questionable care practices. I’m sure it was reported in the media.

        Like

    2. Its kind of sad you only attended Mass because of the person celebrating it ie Darcy. Tells us lots about your level of faith.

      Like

      1. Darcy uses the priesthood as part of his showbiz act.
        And as for wanting to be a daddy or granddaddy – that’s a smoke screen 😊

        Like

      2. And your level is ????? Lecturing posters .

        Like

      3. 1.19 You trying to be judgemental.

        Nothing sad about my mass attendance .

        Like

  12. It will be Dermo and not D’Arcy thankfully at Noon on Friday for the funeral of Gaybo at the Pro. No doubt Brian will get himself prominently positioned so the cameras can focus in on him during it.

    Like

    1. They kept on focusing on the Merc driver during the Papal Mass in Phoenix Park.

      Like

  13. Not one of you mentioned the charitable acts Fr D’arcy does. Indeed he does these acts discreetly. I know the work you do Pat and the compassion you always show to people that have been wronged by the church. Remember D’arcy took on a tyrant in the form of cardinal O’Fee in 1979 and reminded the oul peado hider that he was human.
    Yes he likes a bit of lime light. However I know how good Fr. D’arcy does behind the scenes and would be mortified if it was broadcast.
    Troll away god squad and keep up good work pat

    Like

    1. MournemanMichael 5th Nov 2019 — 5:55 pm

      Hugh: I don’t like to see anybody run down without sound evidence or reasons. It might be that Darcy likes the “limelight”, but so what? It could be as solidly said that +Pat likes being controversial.
      So thanks to you for showing that there is another very positive side to Darcy.
      MMM

      Like

      1. As you claimed earlier MMM you don’t know D’Arcy. That is clearly evident from what you say. You said you only knew of him once when he appeared on the Late Late in the 80’s to challenge Cahal B. If my memory serves me correctly (Pat can correct me if inaccurate) Brian went to Armagh the next morning to apologise to Daly and ask his forgiveness for challenging him in such a way. Say one thing in public and do another in private. Will people ever wake up!!

        Like

      2. I can confirm that Armagh incident and I got it from a horse’s mouth – the late cardinal’s valet, James.

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    2. If he does so many charitable acts so discreetly as you claim – how is it you know all about them if they were discreet.

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  14. 1.25: Silly, ignorant, childish, nonsensical and an utterly crap comment. Your denigrating of Darcy is just disgusting. Buckley, grow up. Stop being a bully.

    Like

  15. The Irish never learn and remain so gullible regarding so called celeb priests. Have they not learned from the celebrity clerics of old who let them down in the end with scandals. It amazes me that the Irish continue to put certain showbiz clergy on pedestals only for them to fall off them at some point. You get what you deserve.

    Like

    1. MournemanMichael 5th Nov 2019 — 6:14 pm

      Anon@ 4:14: The casual negativity in your comment could be construed as quite racist.
      We Irish are not as ethnically distinct as some other nationalities, but nevertheless experience a certain colonial disdain for us in certain class based echelons of other nations, some of which, as close neighbours, are themselves but the hotch potch remnant derivatives of other conquering nations of old. Those societal class based perceptions are, of course, distinct from those others whose education and understanding is derived solely from the informed inspired journalism of the Daily “Whatnots.”
      Perhaps you might be so kind as to clarify and enlarge on the evidence and sources of your “amazement”?
      MMM

      Like

      1. Excuse me as I reach for my dictionary.

        Like

    2. The Irish are a very fair-minded people – they never speak well of one another.

      Like

  16. Has any celebrity clergy appeared on the Irish version of Dancing with the Stars? I wonder.

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    1. 4:40
      OMG. Heaven forbid. Perish the thought.

      Like

    2. No, but Waterford and Lismore’s Fr. Shirley appeared on Francis Brennans trip to Vietnam on RTE.

      Like

      1. 6:21
        He seems to be among the missing in action in Waterford and Lismore.

        Like

      2. I rather enjoyed his drag act performance on Youtube – so much fun – although I suppose it was the kiss of death for his career.

        Like

  17. After the news of Byrne’s passing, RTÉ announced a special live tribute edition of the Late Late Show which will take place at 9.35pm on RTÉ One this evening.

    There are a number of big names in the line-up for the show including President Michael D Higgins, former president Mary McAleese and Bob Geldof.

    Here it is in full: President Michael D Higgins, Mary McAleese, Bob Geldof, Pat Kenny, Joe Duffy, Mike Murphy, Andrea Corr, Sharon Shannon, John Sheahan, Finbar Furey, Nell McCafferty, John McColgan, Tommy Tiernan, Pat Shortt, Jon Kenny, Rosaleen Linehan, Eamon Dunphy, Twink, Fr Brian D’arcy, Paddy Maloney, Donal Lunny, Nell McCafferty, Michael Carruth, Moya Doherty, RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes, Vincent Browne, Mary Black, Frank McNamara and Aonghus McAnally.

    Like

    1. How does D’Arcy fit into a musical tribute? Just watch his sickly false face and smile and count how many times he claims how he was a friend and how it is all about Brian and not Gaybo.

      Like

    2. The usual suspects plus…

      Like

    3. 7:12
      There’s missing in action, missing, out of action but not missing, out of action temp, out of action perm, and gone AWOL.
      Any category left out ?

      Like

      1. 8:21pm
        c/o Bishops House, on further studies, on leave ministering elsewhere (Timbuktu indefinitely),
        doing prayer & penance i.e. Ecclesiastical gulag equivalent of sing sing prison. (lifer).

        Like

      2. Frankie goes to Bollywood 6th Nov 2019 — 7:50 am

        8:21
        I’ll excommunicate the f*****s if they won’t toe the line.

        Like

    4. Is Nell appearing twice?

      Like

    5. By rights, Bp Pat, you should have also been included in that line-up — between President Higgins and Mary McAleese.

      Like

  18. Fly on Th Wall 5th Nov 2019 — 6:01 pm

    Gay o like Sir Terry was a legend. RTE was never the same since they feked off the cross logo and the proper continuity announcer

    Like

    1. Evening hi fly @ 6;01pm.

      Fly yer showing yer age man.
      Remember the late Paddy McHugh with the stick pointing to and pulling down the weather charts.
      Bunny Carr with his stop the lights. Gay made a difference may he rest in peace.

      Bye bye fly hi.

      Like

  19. Gays funeral to be broadcast.

    Like

    1. I hope Dermo forbids self promoting concelebrants.

      Like

      1. Let’s hope Dermo follows the example of the PP in Castleblaney. Fr Michael Seed in Westminster, another Religious, who claimed he was priest to the stars and celebs ended up, well, nowhere. Hasn’t been heard of since. I believe he had a book launch in Stringfellows. Does it remind you of anyone over here?

        Like

      2. There’s a new book for the Christmas market

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      3. 7:49 pm – Fr Seed has disappeared from the scene because of the OBVIOUS. He has been furloughed, sidelined, removed, sent off for prayer and penance. It is so often the case with those who put themselves out there, and then begin to believe in their own fame and importance. It doesn’t take much for somebody to release a little memory from the past, which in the past might have been ‘understood’, for it to bring them falling down in flames. I would not in the slightest be surprised to see D’Arcy ending up like that. I don’t wish it on him, but if I were him, I’d keep off the front pages and the tv. Just saying.

        Like

      4. 7:29

        Prayer and Penance.
        Where do these priests doing prayer and penance go. Is there a p&p location.

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  20. Yes, RIP Gay Byrne. A showman if ever there was one.

    Bishop P., this is going to sound like arse-licking, or fishin’ for a commission (Who gives the proverbial if it does?), but the one book of yours that I read (A Sexual Life, A Spiritual Life) was a better read than D’Arcy’s. (His are good, too, mind.😕)

    I’m looking forward to your work-in-progress, on miracles you’ve experienced in one way or another. Hope it’s coming along nicely. It should Wow! even Jim Royle; give him good reason this time for his signature outburst, ‘My arse!’.

    Like

    1. Brian D’arcy’s new book is a good read. He tells of how he dealt forcefully with Cardinal Daly on Gay’s Late Late Show and how Daly was furious with him as a result from then on. He was awarded an OBE by the Queen not long ago and I’ve heard she has listened to Brian’s show on Radio 2. What a fitting tribute given that Brian’s other great friend Terry Wogan was another radio favourite of the Queen. What a big coincidence.

      Like

      1. 9.44
        I read in one of D’Arcy’s books (don’t remember which; sorry) that after this crossing of swords between the two men, Daly shook D’Arcy’s hand afterwards, in the lobby of Donnybrook studios.

        Like

    2. Bloody hell..! …Hey Sunshine…
      I don’t need good reason to say….my arse!
      I Wow! Barbara every night of the week!

      Like

      1. BARBARA ROYLE 6th Nov 2019 — 8:12 am

        ‘Wowed again, Jim.?’ ‘That’s right, Babs.’ ‘ Wow!’
        ‘Me too, luv.’

        Like

    3. Good reason…my arse!!!

      Like

  21. Can any Dubliner ask for their funeral mass to be in the Pro a noon on a day. You know how we are all equal in the eyes of God?
    Just asking like.

    Like

    1. All the celebrity pro-abortionists will turn up at the Pro and receive, no doubt.

      Like

  22. Monsignor Ambrose Macaulay RIP. Great historian

    Like

    1. Yes, RIP to Dr Macaulay.

      Great historian? You sound more sentimental than objective.

      Good historian? Yes, unquestionably.

      Great communicatior? Absolutely, for McCauley’s clarity, and pithy expression.

      Like

    1. 10:10 pm
      A very revealing comment.
      Fed, watered, educated and sheltered,
      so don’t let the side down, regardless.

      Like

  23. Sad to see you describe the Late Cardinal Dalys’ friend James as his valet and to take advantage of his intellectual learning disability, shame, shame on you!

    The fact is the late Cardinal took him from a care home and looked after him like he was part of his family, surely a Christian good deed?

    Like

    1. Not at all. James was an unpaid slave, taken by Cahal as a 15 year old! A sex slave?

      Like

      1. Oh, Bp Pat, what-on-earth are you insinuating?

        Like

      2. Did he boil his eggs in the morning and serve them with little soldiers? A proper little housewife by the sounds of it. Sounds like something from upstairs downstairs. I bet he had to dine with the other low lives in the scullery away from His Eminence.

        Like

      3. Had never heard of this (about James and Daly) until now.
        Is this for real?
        Seriously?
        A Roman Catholic (A ROMAN CATHOLIC!) cleric was allowed to foster a 15-year-old-learning-disabled boy?
        Holy Fuckin’ Christ Jesus!😕
        Please tell me that this fid not happen.
        A filthy, dirty, Romanist Strumpet?!

        Like

      4. A shocking comment, best report this to social services and see can this most serious allegations be looked at.

        Like

    2. If this young male did have an intellectual learning disability as you admi then this would be now a major safeguarding issue today involving Cardinal Daly. This should be now investigated further.

      Like

  24. Bp Pat, do you think Amy Turtle will replace Gay Byrne as a “national treasure”? I wonder.

    Like

    1. The only thing Byrne and Amy have in common is the term “Gay” 😊

      Like

  25. Bp Pat, will you travel to Dublin to pay your respects? Or celebrate a mass at the Oratory.

    Like

  26. Af 10:19 pm
    Are you sure John Kenny was Stool Monitor (MC) – so-called, because he occupied the MC’s stool in the College Chapel? Which year? It was James Murphy (Ferns) in 1985-‘86; Niall Coll (Raphoe) in 1986-‘87 and Pat Crean-Lynch (Kerry) in 1987-‘88. The stool monitor (III Divine) normally progressed to be List Monitor (IV Divine) the following year. He may have been List Monitor in 1987-‘88 when Niall Coll went to Rome – but MC – I don’t think so.

    Like

  27. I never liked Gay Byrne and am not going to be a hypocrite now that he has passed. Byrne came across as a right wing know it all.

    Like

  28. You must be delighted Pat that FrBrian got so manyabusive comments here, even though he got the biggest clap last night after his comment on the tv show.
    Had you been there Pat, no doubt he would have ignored you..you did state here once that Fr Brian ignores you if you both turn up at the same place.

    Like

    1. He got the biggest clap you nitwit because he told people what they wanted to hear – pure populist hogwash. You fell for it like so many other eejits. He said Gay didn’t need to be President of Ireland because he already was President to many people. Where is the logic in that statement, it’s a pile of crap. Talk about demeaning the Office of the President by that claptrap cheap silly sentiment. What a gobshite.

      Like

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