'Being charged by elephants on safari is one of my scariest memories'
Published 30/12/2012 | 06:00
My taste in reading varies with my mood, but I'm a huge fan of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series. I'm delighted that his new book in that brilliant series, 'A Wanted Man', is currently in the shops. It's as good as ever.
On safari in Africa with my wife Hilary, heading out on the night patrol accompanied by a couple of lions close enough to touch.
The elephants were anything but friendly, and once they suspected we were invading their territory, they charged us. That was one of the scariest moments of our lives.
Maybe not a favourite memory, but an enduring one.
Favourite piece of furniture
A magnificent grandfather clock given to us by Hilary's father, which stands proudly in our hall and keeps perfect time – despite the fact that it's close to 100 years old.
Favourite item of clothing
A grey suit and a yellow-and-blue tie, which I wear for all the big occasions in my soccer broadcasting. It's one of a range available to me in RTE, but I reckon it's my lucky jacket.
I'm a coeliac. I discovered this around 10 years ago at a time when I thought I had picked up a tropical disease in Australia.
I found it very difficult to stick to the dietary rules in the beginning, but, increasingly, gluten-free products are readily available, which makes life for us coeliacs much easier.
Hilary, to whom I am married for 41 years. She is intelligent, clever, warm and loving.
On a different level, the most inspirational person I've met is John Horgan, my cardiologist. He helped me overcome a heart attack and bypass surgery with this advice: "You can lead a normal life or become a cardiac cripple, which will destroy you."
He helped me to return to television at a time when my confidence was very low and I am eternally grateful to him.
what advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Know what you want and pursue your dreams relentlessly. Don't be put off by setbacks.
It came out of the blue from a girl I hardly knew. It must have been a dare because she ran away after she kissed me.
what characteristic in yourself do you like the most and least?
I have always been a big softie with my two girls, Jill and Sally, who have had me eating out of the palms of their hands for so many years.
Perhaps not the best parent-ing model, but I love every minute of it.
A good red wine, preferably French, and there's nothing better than a brandy and port.
They call it a 'stabiliser', so you can always claim it's medicinal!
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