Celebrities, politicians, journalists and viewers have been paying tribute today to a titan of Irish broadcasting, Gay Byrne.
As the news broke this afternoon that the legendary RTÉ broadcaster had passed away at the age of 85, social media was quickly filled with tributes and fond memories.
President Michael D Higgins led the tributes describing Gay Byrne as a man of great charisma, who was possessed of effortless wit, charm, and who had a flair for broadcasting.
Colleagues, journalists and entertainers from home and abroad shared their thoughts on a media legend.
Among them was Stephen Fry, whose response when Gay Byrne asked him what he would say if he were to come face-to-face with god went viral.
Speaking to Drivetime on RTÉ this evening, Mr Fry said that it was an honour and a pleasure to have been interviewed by him both on the Late Late Show and on The Meaning of Life with Gay Byrne.
"Such was his standing in Ireland that I would be stopped on the street the next day with greetings like 'Ah, I see you were on the show with Himself last night' … or 'When will you be coming back to talk to Himself again?'
"My most notorious experience with Himself came when he dropped me a question which led to quite a hoo-ha.
"I fear I shocked him somewhat with my reply, but he couldn’t not have been more delightful, charming and – I think – tolerantly amused by my wickedness.
"So here’s to Himself. Who knows? Maybe he will wake up in a certain place and be able to pass on my regards."
Many others shared their tributes, memories and condolences on Twitter where numerous hashtags attributed to the icon's passing trended all night.
"He was the master, a once off and the likes of which we will never see again"
- Ryan Tubridy
Gay Byrne 1934 - 2019 pic.twitter.com/8gj6MS6FuX— The Late Late Show (@RTELateLateShow) November 4, 2019
So very sad to hear about the passing of Gay Byrne. He was a giant in broadcasting. He showed us all how it should be done. Generous, funny, informed but more than anything else, completely at ease on air. My thoughts are with Kathleen, the girls and a nation that adored him. G x— graham norton (@grahnort) November 4, 2019
I was lucky enough to join Gay’s radio team as a researcher for the final season of ‘The Gay Byrne Show’. I still reminder the thrill you got when he’d read a script you’d written. He’d make the words sing... #Gaybo— Evelyn O'Rourke (@evelyn_orourke) November 4, 2019
If Ireland in all it’s generosity,progress,creativity,joy , heartbreak and exuberance over the last sixty years had a voice , it would be the dulcet, challenging,bemused questioning reassuring voice of Gay Byrne. We as a country are all the better for his life. R.I.P. #gaybyrne— JOE DUFFY (@joeliveline) November 4, 2019
We were very saddened to hear that Irish TV and radio presenter Gay Byrne passed away today. Gay was always very supportive of Dolores and us and Always made us feel welcome and at ease whenever we were on his show.— The Cranberries (@The_Cranberries) November 4, 2019
Very sad to hear of the death of Gay Byrne. Hard to explain how huge a presence he was in Ireland for 40+ years; a legendary, instinctual broadcaster; that rarest thing, a gifted listener; and an interviewer of huge emotional intelligence. An enormous life.— Dara Ó Briain (@daraobriain) November 4, 2019
#RIPGayByrne - so supportive of Irish artists. He came to see my first solo show in Dublin for no other reason than he was interested in what young people were up to. His Late Late show episode where he calls a competition winner who has just lost a loved one is incredible TV. https://t.co/jhHah96CXw— Aisling Bea (@WeeMissBea) November 4, 2019
Gay Byrne was more than a broadcaster. He started difficult conversations about our cultural identity that altered public discourse forever. The catchy theme songs for both his Radio and TV shows are fitting earworms for a voice that will resonate for generations. #ThanksGaybo— chris o'dowd (@BigBoyler) November 4, 2019
Bye to The Greatest #GayByrne .
Irish Talkshow Legend.November 4, 2019
Gay Byrne will never be bettered. Ireland’s greatest ever broadcaster, he could do it all - challenge the strong, champion the weak, entertain the masses and even sometimes pretend he didn’t adore me. I’m sad today but unbelievably proud that I got to work with him.#RIPGaybyrne pic.twitter.com/p45G3D5uS2— Dustin The Turkey (@DustinOfficial) November 4, 2019
I’m deeply saddened to hear of #GayByrne’s passing.. he changed my life in Ireland and was instrumental in launching my career as a performer. I will be indebted to him always.. my deepest condolences to his family and all who loved him 🌻 RIP pic.twitter.com/XyLevgj3fE— Frances Black (@frances_black) November 4, 2019
Tributes were paid to Gay Byrne for his tireless work campaigning for safer roads.
An Garda Síochána is deeply saddened by the news of Mr. Gay Byrne’s passing this afternoon. As Chairperson of the Road Safety Authority, he was passionate about Road Safety and used his high public profile to raise awareness of road safety issues. pic.twitter.com/0BEOZQ4e6M— An Garda Síochána (@GardaTraffic) November 4, 2019
The @RSAIreland is deeply saddened to hear of the death of our former chairman, colleague, and friend Gay Byrne, a dedicated campaigner for better, safer roads in Ireland. His death is such a great loss to us all. Ar dhéis Dé, go raibh a anam. pic.twitter.com/PVLfJjMsIP— RSA Ireland (@RSAIreland) November 4, 2019
It seemed almost everyone wanted to share some of their special memories and say what Gay Byrne meant to them.
Terribly sad news about Gay Byrne. A personal life highlight was when he presented me with bourbon creams on The Meaning of Life after I told him bourbon creams were like him - timeless and a classic. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. pic.twitter.com/Gjxds2ttxh— Joanne O’ Riordan (@JoanneOR_Ox) November 4, 2019
Mum: The voice of my childhood.
Dad: My mum loved him listening in bed in the morn.
Mum: Ah I know. He was the only voice in our kitchen every morning.
Siblings: He”ll always be the Late Late Toy Show.
Thank you for everything Gay Byrne.
Rest in Peace 🕊 pic.twitter.com/3wkiF83iOe— Dr. Jennifer Cassidy (@OxfordDiplomat) November 4, 2019
After Ann Lovett's tragic death, so many Irish women wrote to The Gay Byrne Show about their own experiences that an entire programme was devoted to reading out their letters. He opened the floor to so many cultural conversations that were long overdue. Rest in peace #GayByrne.— Mary McGill (@missmarymcgill) November 4, 2019
The death of Gay Byrne marks the end of an era in Irish social history. He was a huge part of Irish life for 50 years. In this rare clip he asks The Beatles & Ken Dodd for the secrets to success in show business. R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/9PYVABPsEi— Rare Irish Stuff (@RareIrishStuff) November 4, 2019
I'd like to request a special late late toy show segment dedicated to Gay Byrne pic.twitter.com/pRNze4QeY6— Stacey Connolly #WebSummit (@StaceyConnolly_) November 4, 2019
I picked up a record called Songs of Sondheim a few years back from a concert in the Gaiety Theatre hosted by Gay Byrne. He also performed one song on it - Could I Leave You? from Follies. (1/3) #gaybo Here it is: pic.twitter.com/DBwotUG199— Liam Geraghty (@Liam_Geraghty) November 4, 2019
Gay Byrne changed Ireland for the better. That’s all that needs to be said. May He Rest in Peace. pic.twitter.com/IrreVxiAP5— Damien Geoghegan (@damiengeoghegan) November 4, 2019
Hard to quantify the impact #GayByrne had on this country. At the forefront as 1950s Irl emerged into the modern world. He lifted the rug to expose many issues heretofore unspoken of & gave a voice to many. Rare for broadcaster to be equally at home with the serious & the trivial— Carole (Ducky) (@IrPsych) November 4, 2019
Absolutely undone by the death of Gay Byrne. It’s never felt so lonely to be an Irish person in London and to be pining for someone you never met, among people who don’t know who he is.— Caroline O’Donoghue (@Czaroline) November 4, 2019
So many childhood memories of family watching Late Late together. Laughing together. Tearful together. One eye on telly. Other eye on Mum&Dad (trying to gauge their reaction to controversy.) #GayByrne curated some of our closest times together.— Paraic O'Brien (@paraicobrien) November 4, 2019
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.