Des Cahill gave an emotional interview on Friday night's Late Late Show, telling host Ryan Tubridy about a shocking family tragedy that he uncovered.

In his book Play It Again, Des, the sports broadcaster turned Dancing With The Stars contestant, opened up about a heartbreaking moment in his family history.

Before Cahill's parents were married, his father had five children with his first wife, who died along with two of their children in a terrible drowning accident in the 1950s in Clare. Cahill's father and his half-sister Eileen were not with the family at the time.

"His wife brought the four other children to the lake near the house and one of them got into trouble, a girl, her brother followed in, her mother followed in, and they all drowned," Cahill said while teary eyed.

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Noting how emotional he was telling the story, Cahill added, "It wasn't my tragedy… It became my life but I feel bad for them."

"They were my sisters and brothers, we were never called step brothers or sisters," he said as he told of how all of his father's children from both marriages were raised together as one family.

Adding of his mother's strength he said, "My mother had to be a very strong woman because she had inherited three kids through a very traumatic thing, her husband had been through an incredibly traumatic thing, and she made one family of two."

The Late Late Show airs on Friday nights at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.