Westlife paid tribute to legendary broadcaster Gay Byrne on Friday's Late Late Show and hailed him as "the grandad of Ireland".

The four-piece made their debut on The Late Late Show in 1998, which happened to be among one of Byrne's last on presenting duties.

Asked by current host, Ryan Tubridy, if they remembered what the much-loved presenter said to them on that special night, Shane Filan recalled how they felt like they had "made it".

"That performance was 21 years ago this week. It was our first time to ever perform on The Late Late Show - we kind of felt like 'Oh my God’ we’ve made it - we’re on the Late Late with Gay Byrne.

 "It was a huge deal. It’s something you look forward to your whole life," Filan added.
 

Nicky Byrne remembered how the iconic presenter made reference to their outfits.

"We were wearing long coats and he made reference to how Dublin Corporation had lent us the coats for the night," he laughed.

"We all grew up with him. He was a special, special man."

Mark Feehily added that Byrne discussed him coming out as gay that year and admits it meant so much to him.

"The one standout moment for me was when we did a TV special at Christmas time. I really wasn't expecting it but he brought up the coming out issue, and said it's fantastic how you can be who you want to be, and be yourself in this country and everyone supports you.

"I don’t know why, but I didn’t expect him to bring it up, but it was really lovely for him to acknowledge it for me.

"He was like the grandad of Ireland and so he spoke for a certain generation."

"It was very nice. He didn’t have to bring it up but it’s like he wanted to, and he wanted to show that he was very supportive," he explained.

Westlife performing My Blood on the Late Late Show

Following a stunning performance of their new track, My Blood, which is co-written by Ed Sheehan and Steve Mac, the group played a photo guessing game with Tubridy, where adorable pictures of the band as kids were shown to viewers.

Along with performing a hauntingly beautiful version of Flying Without Wings, which they dedicated to the late Gay Byrne and his family, Shane Filan, Mark Feehily, Kian Egan, and Nicky Byrne, also performed their energetic and upbeat track, Hello My Love, to rapturous cheers from the audience.

Over 10,000 fans applied for the chance to be a part of The Late Late Show audience following a call out earlier this week, and in a very special section of the show, lucky audience members had the chance to share their memories and stories with the much-loved group.

Long-time Westlife fan, Sinéad Doyle, shared her heartfelt story about how the band's track, I'll See You Again, gave her peace following her son's passing four years ago.

Earlier in the day it was announced that the pop sensations had landed their first Ireland and UK number one album in more than a decade.

The recently reformed Irish band's new album Spectrum, their first release in nine years, debuted at number one, earning them their eighth chart-topping record.

The group, who last had a chart-topper with Back Home in 2007, fended off competition from Celine Dion as well as duo Michael Ball and Alfie Boe, whose new releases charted at number two and three respectively.

Spectrum is the band's 11th studio album, and their first since 2010 record Gravity.

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