Thursday 8 December 2016

Kathleen Watkins steals husband Gay Byrne's spotlight at book launch

Published 13/10/2016 | 07:46

Kathleen Watkins and Gay Byrne at the launch of her new children's book, Pigín of Howth, at The National Gallery of Ireland. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Kathleen Watkins and Gay Byrne at the launch of her new children's book, Pigín of Howth, at The National Gallery of Ireland. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Kathleen Watkins at the launch of her new children's book, Pigín of Howth, at The National Gallery of Ireland. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Ryan Tubridy with Gay Byrne and Kathleen Watkins at the launch of her new children's book, Pigín of Howth, at The National Gallery of Ireland. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Gay Byrne & Kathleen Watkins at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh Racecourse. Picture: Anthony Woods
Kathleen Watkins with her granddaughter Saoirse Kathleen Watkins at the launch of her new children's book, Pigín of Howth, at The National Gallery of Ireland. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Guests attend The IFTA Awards 2015 at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel, Dublin, Ireland - 21.10.15. Pictures: Cathal Burke / G. McDonnell / VIPIRELAND.COM **IRISH RIGHTS ONLY** *** Local Caption *** Gay Byrne & wife Kathleen Watkins
Gay Byrne and Kathleen Watkins with grand children Sadhbh ,Cian and Saoirse O Byrne at the opening night of The Sound of Music at The Bord Gais Energy Theatre Dublin. Pictures:Brian McEvoy
Gay Byrne and Kathleen Watkins married in 1964, in Saggart, Co Dublin
Kathleen Watkins at the launch of her new children's book, Pigín of Howth, at The National Gallery of Ireland. Picture: Brian McEvoy

At the tender age of 82, Kathleen Watkins aka "mad granny Nanakit" has launched her new book, Pigin of Howth.

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Kathleen arrived at the launch with her husband Gay Byrne, who said he was getting used to playing second fiddle.

"Everyone is ignoring me and I am grumpy," Gay joked.

"I don't know if I like it.

Kathleen Watkins at the launch of her new children's book, Pigín of Howth, at The National Gallery of Ireland. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Kathleen Watkins at the launch of her new children's book, Pigín of Howth, at The National Gallery of Ireland. Picture: Brian McEvoy

"All the family are here - including some people I have never met before in my life, but they say they're family."

Kathleen, who became the first continuity announcer to appear on screen on Telefis Eireann in 1960, began working on the book three years ago.

She said it was written over "plenty of buttered scones and pots of tea".

Broadcaster Ryan Tubridy launched the children's book in Dublin's National Gallery.

Ryan Tubridy with Gay Byrne and Kathleen Watkins at the launch of her new children's book, Pigín of Howth, at The National Gallery of Ireland. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Ryan Tubridy with Gay Byrne and Kathleen Watkins at the launch of her new children's book, Pigín of Howth, at The National Gallery of Ireland. Picture: Brian McEvoy

"This is a beautiful book by a beautiful woman and it will be enjoyed by beautiful children everywhere," Tubridy told the crowd.

The colourful book tells the adventures of a mannerly pig who gallivants around Howth with his close pals Sammy the Seal, the Badger of Ballsbridge and Nanakit.

The book consists of three stories; Pigs Can't Fly, but They Can Swim!, Pigin's Magical Midnight Adventure, and A Day to Wear a Top Hat - in which Pigin pays a visit to the President of Ireland.

Kathleen invented the character of Pigin when her eldest grandson was three years old.

Gay Byrne & Kathleen Watkins at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh Racecourse. Picture: Anthony Woods
Gay Byrne & Kathleen Watkins at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh Racecourse. Picture: Anthony Woods

"We're all so proud of our mad granny," Cian said.

"Sometimes I would wonder how she would come up with the stories in her crazy imagination."

Late Late presenter Tubridy is currently working on his own children's book about John F Kennedy's homecoming visit to Ireland in 1963.

Patrick and the President will tell the story of Kennedy's trip to his ancestral home in Dunganstown, Co Wexford, through the eyes of a young Irish boy.

Herald

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