The former RTÉ star got a standing ovation from his new colleagues after his debut on 106-108FM, earlier this month.
Critics were impressed by the 65-year-old’s first crack at commercial radio, which included chats with Bono and Brian O’Driscoll. With Pat trending on Twitter, many of the broadcaster’s 328,000 listeners are joining him. Of this late career challenge, dad-of-three Pat said: “I like change and the opportunity to do something completely different was very attractive. In two years’ time, if I hadn’t done it, I’d be saying, ‘Oh, my God, why didn’t you have a go?’ so I’m having a go.”
Here, some of Ireland’s famous faces reveal how they’re still busy after all these years.
“I absolutely couldn’t live without creating. If I didn’t do some form of creation, whether it be painting or writing, I wouldn’t mind if I dropped dead. Turning 60 wasn’t easy, because I was leaving behind a younger me, I thought. Now, I’ve embraced 70 with open arms. After you become 70, you pull yourself out of a chrysalis and there’s a new you. Since suffering a mini-stroke in January, I have enormous bouts of energy and then conk out. During those bouts of energy, I’m painting and writing a book on my life. My latest painting is of a huge horse eating flowers off a furze bush, and I’m thrilled with it.”
“Being a bad loser is what has kept me going over the years. I never dwell on the past — I prefer to keep looking forward. At the moment, I’m busy working on my spring/summer 2014 collection, appearing as a judge on the new series of RTÉ talent search, Craft Master, and launching new menswear collections in Arnotts and Dunnes Stores, as well as putting the finishing touches to my fifth jewellery collection, The Fitzwilliam Collection. When it comes to retirement, I’m taking a leaf out of the late Seamus Heaney’s book — and will stay on the horse until the good Lord decides to throw me off.”
“Three and a half years ago, I had triple bypass heart surgery, and didn’t know if I would be able to go back to work. Luckily, it happened during our off-season, from February to August, so I recovered on time to return the following season.
“After 35 years as a publican, I started playing Seamus, on Ros na Rún, 18 years ago. As one of the show’s longest-running characters, hopefully he’ll be around for as long as I am. There’s a great camaraderie on set. When I’m not working, I spend my time wood-carving, and making presents for people.”
“As an aspiring chef, I would read anything I could get my hands on about cooking, from cookery articles in newspapers to cookbooks, particularly one that was out at the time, called The Way to Cook, by Philip Harben. These days, I’m usually found overseeing the restaurant, supervising and checking the menu, or chatting to customers. Keeping an interest in the business keeps me going.”
“I turn 65 on my next birthday, and have absolutely no intention of hanging up my measuring tape, just because I’ve reached a certain age. You often hear of people who stop working, and then suddenly drop dead, so I plan to keep going for as long as I can. With the times that are in it, I’m usually in the shop seven days a week. I go to the gym at 6.30am, five mornings a week, before work, and am in bed by 10.30pm. If I miss my workout, I feel like I’m half asleep for the rest of the day.”
“Christmas day is my 81st birthday. Despite being in my ninth decade of life and seventh decade of business, I still have many dreams left to be fulfilled. Retirement is not on the agenda. When I reached 65, then 70 and 75, it didn’t make any difference. I have the same energy that I did in the beginning, and wouldn’t do anything differently. You have to enjoy what you’re doing. If you’re reluctant to work, you might as well forget about it. For me, family and community play a big role — I never did it for money or personal gain.”
“I’ve been lucky to work with talented people from whom I’ve learned so much. 2014 is a special year for me in TV, as I retire after the World Cup Final in Rio. But I’ll maintain my communications role, as I don’t think I — or my wife — could yet cope with my full retirement.”
Finbar Furey, 67, folk musician and winner of The Hit: “For as long as I can remember, music has always been a huge part of my life.
I’m always searching. Over the past couple of years, I’ve totally changed my banjo style, and developed new rhythms, which I love.
“At the moment, I’m also writing songs for my new album, due out next year.
“After suffering a heart attack last year, I’m very grateful to still be here with my family, and to be able to continue playing music.
“Now, I’m taking it easier, choosing what I want to do more carefully and just enjoying it all.”