Republic in mourning as icon Gerry Ryan is laid to rest
Broadcaster Gerry Ryan was warmly remembered yesterday as a textbook super-dad and motormouth DJ too bright for this world.
In a poignant funeral Mass infused with his boldness, loved ones spoke of his generosity and spirit as his family gave fans a glowing tribute of a father at home.
And in a moving and heartfelt homily, friend and confidante Fr Brian D'Arcy gave a brief insight into the brash presenter's fears and weaknesses.
Irish President Mary McAleese, a friend after lecturing Ryan at Trinity College and working in RTE, former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, designer John Rocha and pop group Westlife were among dozens of high-profile mourners.
Hundreds of fans stood in silence outside the narrow north Dublin road as Ryan's five children and ex-wife Morah brought him back to the chapel where the 53-year-old was baptised and married.
Eldest daughter Lottie (23) was first to tell St John the Baptist Church, Clontarf, of the family's pride at being part of the broadcaster's life.
Lottie said: “Where can we begin to describe a man that the nation already seems to know so well?
“You all knew Gerry Ryan as the motormouth broadcaster, but obviously what we're more familiar with is him as our loving dad, and as our dad he was pretty much a textbook super-dad.”
Lottie told how Ryan would drop anything for his kids, was her best friend and a free guidance counsellor.
“To quote one of dad's favourite films Blade Runner ‘the light that burns twice as brightly, burns twice as fast' and how brightly he has shone,” she added, fighting back tears.
“I guess a lot of people would probably feel robbed of losing a dad so soon, but I can speak on behalf of myself, my brothers and my sisters when I say that we are honoured to be part of the Gerry Ryan show for as long as we were.”
Despite the celebrity lifestyle — a message from U2 was played at the service — mourners also heard that behind the public persona lay a man with worries. Fr D'Arcy revealed a recent lunch the two enjoyed in Dublin, adding: “He always worried whether he was good enough. Don't we all?
“And he always worried about what sort of way his life was going and, mostly after quite a long time, I began to see that within himself he felt a bit lost. As any of us do, as I do myself.”
The priest also recalled advising Ryan. He said: “And you could see a cloud lifting from him.”
He added: “Being loved by the people of the country didn't make Gerry's life any less painful at times.”
Boy band Westlife gave their tribute in song, performing You Raise Me Up with members of a gospel choir.
U2, Ryan's favourite group who he supported throughout their career, sent a message from New York.
“Calling from New York on the Ryan Line, Ryan Line still open,” said lead singer Bono before the band performed their track With Or Without You.
“Goodbye Gerry, see you down the road,” the frontman added.
In a moving eulogy, Ryan's son Rex described how the DJ was the definition of a cool dad, a rock during his teenage years and a walking encyclopaedia who seemingly knew the answer to every question.
“We had a true father-son trust that stayed strong always,” he added.