Sunday 21 July 2019

Ryan Tubridy mobbed by Late Late fans in African airport

Ryan Tubridy in Ethiopia
Ryan Tubridy in Ethiopia

Sharon McGowan

He's one of the most recognisable broadcasters in Ireland, and now it seems Ryan Tubridy's celebrity status has spread as far as Ethiopia.

The Late Late Show host, who has just returned from a week-long trip to the African country, revealed that he encountered a group of enthusiastic fans while waiting on his flight in Addis Ababa airport - a moment he described as "beautiful".

"When I was at the airport on a Friday waiting to board the plane, I had that sort of strange thing. Normally when I go to an airport the Irish people would be there and there'd be phones out and selfies and I thought, 'I'm safe here in Addis Ababa'," he said.

"It was hilarious. Out they came, all the new Irish with their phones, having been to Zambia, Zimbabwe and wherever else.

"Mothers with their kids, speaking in very accented English, saying, 'I watch you every Friday night'.

"The kids had thick Dublin, Galway and Dunshaughlin accents and I thought, 'This is the experience in its totality'."

The presenter flew to Ethiopia after being invited by his cousin, Barry Andrews, the chief executive of GOAL.

He visited the cities of Addis Ababa and Awassa and went to the refugee camps at the border with Sudan. He was accompanied by his daughter Ella (16).

Ryan Tubridy in Ethiopia
Ryan Tubridy in Ethiopia

"I was very interested to see would Ella come. I was watching her with a view to texting and Instagraming her friends. We had a great discussion about it. I think what we saw was so enormous that we need time to absorb it.

"It really was an assault on the senses."

Ryan Tubridy in Ethiopia
Ryan Tubridy in Ethiopia

Having never visited Africa, the RTE star said he was surprised by how developed Ethiopia was, while describing the situation as "Dickensian".

"I come from a place where Ethiopia equals Band Aid," he told Marian Finucane on RTE Radio 1.

"I was, in my ignorance, expecting something along those lines."


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