Only in tomorrow's Irish Independent
If anyone deserves a place in a book collection titled Lives That Shaped the Nation, it has to be Gay Byrne.
For more than 30 years he entertained, informed and provoked an entire nation in a broadcasting career that was unique - and is still continuing, albeit at a more leisurely pace.
This book is Gaybo's life story, told in inimitable style by Gay Byrne himself (with the assistance of one of Ireland's best writers, Deirdre Purcell).
The book concentrates on Gay's early life, showing the influences that shaped him as he grew up, the youngest of six children in a modest home on Dublin's South Circular Road, in the 1940s and '50s. From these ordinary beginnings, this son of a Guinness barge captain was to become a household name by the time he was 30 and then establish himself as an outstanding figure in Irish life, thanks to the flair and consistency of his performance and his capacity for hard work.
Early days in radio (while also working as an insurance clerk), then TV and eventually the Late Late Show, first broadcast as a filler in the summer schedule in 1962 - plus the influential Gay Byrne Show on radio - are all covered in this fascinating book.
Building your collection
The series will include biographies of some of the most important figures from our history over the past century or so. It covers people who were part of our recent history in the widest sense, people who achieved huge popularity or even notoriety, or who influenced the kind of country we have become today.
The 20 titles in our collection
1 Michael Collins (part 1) by Tim Pat Coogan
2 Michael Collins (part 2) by Tim Pat Coogan
3 Bono by Mick Wall
4 Mary Robinson by John Horgan
5 John F Kennedy by Robin Cross
6 James Joyce by Edna O'Brien
7 Charlie Haughey by Bruce Arnold
8 Mary McAleese by Justine McCarthy
9 Patrick Pearse by Ruth Dudley Edwards
10 Gay Byrne with Deirdre Purcell
11 Pope John Paul 11 by Garry O'Connor
12 Jack Charlton with Peter Byrne
13 Grace Kelly by James Spada
14 Eamon de Valera by Ryle Dwyer
15 Oscar Wilde by Jonathan Fryer
16 Roy Keane by Eamon Dunphy
17 John Charles McQuaid by John Cooney
18 WB Yeats by Augustine Martin
19 Christy Ring by Val Dorgan
20 Bertie Ahern by John Downing