Belfast Telegraph

Funeral of Gay Byrne to be shown live as Ireland bids last farewell to star

Gay Byrne and wife Kathleen Watkins
Gay Byrne and wife Kathleen Watkins

By Aoife Walsh

Thousands of mourners are expected to gather at St Mary's Pro-Cathedral in Dublin for Gay Byrne's funeral Mass at noon on Friday.

Many more will follow the service on television with RTE set to broadcast the funeral live.

Coverage starts at 11.30am on RTE One with Bryan Dobson presenting a special programme from the Pro-Cathedral.

Television coverage will also be streamed live on the RTE Player and on rte.ie to audiences around the world.

Friends and neighbours are expected to line the streets of Byrne's home village of Howth when his funeral cortege passes through at 11am before arriving at the Pro-Cathedral at noon.

The Mass will be followed by a private burial at St Fintan's Cemetery in Sutton.

Meanwhile, fans came out in their droves to sign a book of condolence for the legendary broadcaster.

A never-ending queue of people made their way through the doors of the Mansion House on Dublin's Dawson Street in tribute to Byrne (left) for providing years of entertainment and for shining a light on Irish society.

Amongst the hundreds who signed the book yesterday were broadcaster Joe Duffy and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin.

Mr Martin remembered being "awestruck" when Byrne interviewed him on The Late Late Show in 1982.

"When I became the Lord Mayor of Cork in 1982 The Late Late came to Cork for the Jazz Festival and he interviewed myself and my wife Mary as Lord Mayor of Cork. That was a big thing, we were really awestruck to be interviewed by the man himself," he said.

Also present was retired nurse Nicky Clarke, who reminisced about watching The Late Late Show with a cup of tea and a bun while working a weekend shift at a nursing home.

"He opened our eyes to what was going on in parts of the country, I wasn't aware of half of the terrible things for families that were going on. Communication between people was bad. I must say, I will miss the man," she said.

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