| 12.7°C Dublin

Gaybo celebrates turning 80 with family

Legendary broadcaster Gay Byrne is celebrating turning 80 today with close friends and family at his holiday home in Donegal.

"My daughters have organised a little get-together and I am hopeful there will be a decent cake," the star revealed.

"It should be a nice and quiet celebration. I don't like organising this sort of thing so have let them take the reins," Gaybo said.

Speaking about his landmark birthday, he said: "My feeling for turning 80 is one of immense gratitude for every day I've had so far and for every day that I wake up. I am very thankful for the life I have been given."

Despite his advancing years, he has remained a regular on our TV screens and hosts The Meaning of Life on RTE One.

And he said that he will be back on the air at Lyric FM in the autumn.

Among those paying tribute to Gay on his birthday was fellow broadcaster Joe Duffy. "I saw him a few weeks ago and he is a great credit to his DNA.

"I'd say he will go on for another 25 years. I don't know anyone more entitled to their retirement than Gay, but I think there is little chance of that.


"It's important to remember Gay worked six days a week for 25 years. Between his daily radio show and the Late Late, he never stopped. His work ethic was just amazing," Joe added.

Newstalk presenter Pat Kenny also paid tribute to Gaybo saying: "He is an extraordinary character. I think he's more mentally agile and more in touch than some people half his age.

"Any comments he had to make during his time with the Road Safety Authority were very much on the money," said Pat.

Asked about Gaybo's secret to looking so young, Pat said: "Exercise - getting out there is definitely a big factor."

The youngest of five, Gay grew up on the South Circular Road in Dublin and went to school at the Christian Brothers on Synge Street which he believes grounded him.

In June, he celebrated 50 years of marriage to Kathleen. The pair have to adult daughters Suzy and Crona, who are now married with children of their own.

When he turned 65 in 1999, he retired as presenter of RTE's flagship Late Late Show after an almost 40 year stint. He also hosted a daily morning radio show, The Gay Byrne Show for 26 years.

Gabyo said that he will be in Donegal for the next couple of days. Asked what it feels like to be an octogenarian, he said: "I don't feel a day over 42."