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Saturday 24 March 2018

Entertainment and good life part of radio host's package

Gerry with Rosanna Davison in 2008. Photo: Collins
Gerry with Rosanna Davison in 2008. Photo: Collins

Ken Sweeney

'I drink too much.I eat the wrong type of food. I do everything you're not supposed to do'

"Gerry Ryan wouldn't have been a man to go home with a DVD," said a close friend of the RTE star last night.

And it was true. When he wasn't entertaining hundreds of thousands of listeners on Irish radio, the Clontarf man was keeping a smaller group enthralled with his witty jokes and anecdotes in some of capitals most exclusive restaurants.

The Dylan Hotel, Dax Restaurant, The Unicorn, and Town Bar & Grill were his favourite spots and his favourite dining partners, TV producer David Blake-Knox, former Clannad manager Dave Kavanagh, and Abrakebabra boss Graham Beer.

"Once he came off his show each weekday, Gerry could relax over a lunch. Gerry loved lunch. I suppose the problem was, the entertaining went on for the rest of the day," the close friend added.

But it was the Four Seasons Hotel in Ballsbridge where the 53-year-old ate and socialised the most, jokingly calling it his "canteen" in his 2008 autobiography 'Would The Real Gerry Ryan Please Stand Up'.

It wasn't a healthy lifestyle, something Gerry joked about when RTE asked him to front 'Operation Transformation'.

"I'm exactly the kind of person who should be paying attention to this programme. I drink too much. I eat the wrong type of food. I do everything you're not supposed to do."

By drinking too much, he meant 60 units of alcohol a week -- 40 more than recommended -- of whiskey, fine wine and Guinness.

A state of affairs not helped by the split from wife Morah which left him grappling with what he dubbed "the bachelor world of separation" which he described as watching the Discovery Channel with a glass of whiskey in his apartment.

"Alcohol has made me less healthy than I should be, but I don't think I've paid any price professionally for my drinking," he was quoted as saying.

"For better or worse, the Gerry Ryan you listen to on the radio is a guy who drinks too much. That's part of the package," he said of his drinking once.

The DJ's long-time friend, property developer Harry Crosbie, tried to curb Gerry's unhealthy lifestyle by inviting him around to his Docklands home.

"Gerry used to come around twice a week for his tea. My wife, Rita, is a very good cook and she was teaching Gerry how to cook," Mr Crosbie told the Irish Independent recently.

But in the last two years the broadcaster's weight increased to such an extent that he underwent a course of the recently banned slimming pills Reductil before embarking on his own "special diet".


Gerry went on air to tell listeners how he'd managed to lose weight.

"My diet is simply 'eat less than I used to' and I feel better after losing a stone. It nearly killed me to cut out potatoes and bread but I did it," he said.

But it was hard keeping to a diet when the only food available was a hotdog stand in the O2 where life-long music-lover Gerry was permanently on the guest list. Inevitably the weight would go back on.

Despite his socialising and love of fine wine and dining, one thing all Gerry's friends agree on is his devotion to his children, Lottie (25), Rex (21), Bonnie (18), Elliot (15) and Babette (11).

"There are good fathers but Gerry Ryan as a dad was in a league of his own. If any of his kids were doing anything, Gerry would be on the side-line, or at the side of the stage," said one close friend.

Sunday lunch with his children in The Four Seasons Hotel was the perfect end to the week for Gerry, listening and laughing at their stories.

A cherished memory for his five children.

Irish Independent

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