Last night, a special episode of The Late Late Show was aired to mark the passing of veteran broadcaster and former host Gay Byrne, and what unfolded was a public wake with more laughter, stories, emotion and gravitas than could have been planned.
Pulling in everyone from President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and Vincent Browne, to former guests, RTÉ journalists past and present and even a phonecall from Bono all the way from New Zealand, the nation watched as Gay's career, which spanned six decades, was celebrated.
There was Pat Kenny's story of trying to kidnap Gay, Mike Murphy's laughs, Tommy Tiernan's perfect summation of Ireland as a tribe that loves to come together and the necessary sing-song at the end. The archival footage spanned what seemed like the high and low points of modern Irish history, and reminded viewers of how instrumental the broadcaster was in moving the country forward.
For many, it felt like a typical Irish wake, with all the jibes, stories, teasing and fond memories that come when you lose someone who gave so much.
Here are the best tweets from the show:
Who we are
This #LateLate was so wonderfully Irish. It was supposed to end at 11.05, but it's been funny, sentimental and emotional, and we still were on the step of the front door 40 minutes later, saying goodbye but not meaning it at all.— Philip Nolan (@philipnolan1) November 5, 2019
That’s who we are. #LateLateShow #ThePartingGlass
Some nights you just love being IRISH and the way we celebrate death. Story telling, poking fun at the person who has passed singing their favourite songs and acting like one big family and taking comfort from each other #latelate #RIPGaybo— claire ronan (@Claire_Ronan) November 5, 2019
A typical Irish wake
Oh my God! Brian Keenan now. It's like our modern history in two hours. #LateLate This is extraordinary.— Aisling 🇮🇪🇪🇺 (@Aisling_Pash) November 5, 2019
What day is it?
Nell McCafferty single-handedly reminded us of what the old Late Late was. Beautifully unpredictable #LateLate— Malachy Murray (@sirmalacymurray) November 5, 2019
Cornered by MDH
This is so lovely. It's like we’ve been cornered by MDH at the wake, the whole country is standing in the kitchen and shuffling our feet as stories are shared. #latelate— Ciara Reilly (@PrimEdTeacher) November 5, 2019
Thanks to #GayByrne my parents had the opportunity to get their first passport and leave Ireland for the first time. They were guests in the #LateLate audience and my mother guessed the weight of a giant sausage. The prize? A trip to Italia 1990 to see Ireland v England!— Dr Elaine Byrne (@ElaineByrne) November 5, 2019
Are you even Irish?
That voice over
Tommy Tiernan proving again that there's so much more depth, mystery and poetry about him than he's given credit for #LateLate— Oliver Callan (@olivercallan) November 5, 2019
End of an era
I remember Gay presenting the #LateLate, but most vivid memories are of spending time with family, especially my grandparents, watching him on a Friday night. Something so nostalgic about it; might be why I find this so sad - reminds me of a simpler time - true end of an era— Eoin Keane (@EoinKeane101) November 5, 2019
The Parting Glass