Music legend Rod Stewart became tearful when Ryan Tubridy presented him with a book of poetry connected to the 1916 Rising on Friday night’s Late Late Show.
Stewart (74) has often discussed his close relationship with Ireland and his interest in the Rising, which came about after he enjoyed a hit with his rendition of the Irish love song Grace in 2018.
The song tells the story of how Grace Gifford-Plunkett married revolutionary leader Joseph Plunkett the night before his execution for taking part in the Rising.
During their interview on Friday night, Tubridy presented Stewart with a collection of poetry by Joseph Mary-Plunkett, which was published back in 1916.
Stewart was visibly taken aback by the gift and welled up as the Late Late audience gave him a massive round of applause.
"I first heard the song when I went to the Scottish cup final four years ago and the fans were singing it and I couldn’t get it out of my mind," he said.
He revealed that he visited Glasnevin Cemetery to visit Grace’s grave on Friday.
"I decided to come to Dublin and visit the chapel in Kilmainham Jail and today I was at Grace’s grave, which, of course, has now got Plunkett written on it. The song is probably the most tragic love song I’ve ever had occasion to sing. It’s extraordinary.
"All day I’ve been driving past the GPO looking at bullet holes and the statue of O’Connell. It was a fascinating time."
Stewart, dressed in characteristically flamboyant style, was in good spirits for the prerecorded interview, shouting "Up the Celtic!" as he took his seat with Tubridy.
During the interview, he revealed that his 90-year-old sister was done for speeding last week. "She did 33 in a 30-mile-an-hour zone." he laughed.
He also revealed that he recently had a "massive indoor" swimming pool installed in his house and invited his older brothers, one of whom is 84 and the other 90, over to try it out.
"They knew what they’d married. I wasn’t a chartetered accountant. I had to go out and earn my money. With my kids Sean and Kimberley, I was on tour a lot so I missed their growing up because I had to." - Rod
"They got in and neither of them can hardly swim, bless ‘em, they were very good footballers but can’t swim," he said. "And I said, `do you know this is the first time we’ve ever been in a pool or the ocean together after all this time?'. We had a humble upbringing, we went to the seaside once a year for week but it would always rain."
He also recalled growing up in a football-mad household. "My mother used to say `Football has caused more trouble than Hitler in this house’. I still love getting out there with the football with the kids still, they just keep me on my toes."
Stewart has eight children from his three marriages, including seven-year-old son Aiden. Asked by Tubridy if his rock `n’ roll lifestyle affected his relationships, he said, "They knew what they’d married. I wasn’t a chartered accountant. I had to go out and earn my money. With my kids Sean and Kimberley, I was on tour a lot so I missed their growing up because I had to.
"I was in debt to the IRS to $2 million in the late seventies and that was a lot of money so I had to go and do a lot of touring so I didn’t see much of my kids so I really cherish my time with my two boys now."
Asked how he looks back on his many romantic relationships at this time in his life, he said, "I think what I was doing was what anyone of my age would have done. You know, shagging and drinking.
"The only thing I regret is that I didn’t say goodbye very well. I snuck out the backdoor or didn’t say anything and disappeared, which is not a gentlemanly thing to do. I regret that. I didn’t want any altercation or confrontation."
He added that he gets on well with his exes. "We all had Christmas together once. There were two turkeys. My first wife Alana comes from Texas and she did it the Texas way and Rachel and Penny and Kelly and they all did it their own way. I don’t think it will ever happen again but it was special.
He added, "Penny has been my rock for the last twenty years. She has just been fabulous. I haven’t joined the pipe and slipper club yet. I’m still a bit of a tearaway. I like to go to football games. There is no hotel smashing up or any of that."