The Irish Broadcasting 

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Seamus Clandillon was born in County Galway and in Ireland of the 1920's he was a well known Irish musician and promoter. He married fellow Irish musician Waterford born Mairead Ni Annagain and the couple were popular across the country. While working as a Civil Servant he was asked to become the first Director General of the fledging new Irish radio station 2RN in 1925. He was the first voice heard on the station when it began test transmissions on November 14th 1925 in advance of its official launch on January 1st 1926.



Dublin born, UCD graduate Dave's love of rock music led him to edit The Scene music magazine after college and this led him to presenting his 'Rock Show' on pirate radio stations of the 70's Radio Dublin and Big D. He joined RTE Radio 2 at its launch in 1979 and still broadcasts there today. One of the first bands to play on Radio 2 Rock Show was a young U2 and today the band's worldwide premiere of their singles are aired on Dave's show first. He has presented shows on RTE Radio One and on TV including the quiz show Number One but it is his Rock Show on Radio 2 (2FM) that will always be associated with Dave Fanning.


Frankie Byrne was born to a affluent family in Dublin on December 27th 1922. A middle child she struggled for her parents affections and entered boarding school in Rathfarnham aged eight. She remained there until she was eighteen when she left and joined the work force. Her sister left her job at the Brazilian Embassy in Dublin to get married and Frankie replaced her spending eight years in the position. She left her glamorous Embassy work to join John McConnell’s Advertising Agency and it was through this job that she began her broadcasting career at Radio Eireann.  In 1963 she began hosting a fifteen minute sponsored programme called Woman’s Page which was originally to have been a woman’s DIY advice programme but quickly evolved as a problem programme with Frankie Byrne becoming Radio Eireann’s first agony aunt.

Tag lined ‘a programme for and about you’, the show's signature tune ‘Lulu’s Room’ heralded in a new era in programming and the listeners letters and problems mirrored the changes in Irish society in the 60’s and 70’s. The show continued on air until 1985 but despite all the advice delivered to listeners Frankie Byrne was probably one of those most in need of advice.

Her personal life was as complicated. In the late fifties she began an affair with a married man that would last over twenty years and produce a daughter in 1956. The married man was Frank Hall who would go onto a stellar career at RTE as a satirist and host of Halls Pictorial Weekly. After his career at RTE he was appointed the Film Censor. Their daughter Valerie was adopted soon after birth but was reunited with her mother shortly before Frankie died in 1993 having suffered with Alzheimer’s for many years. It had been a well kept secret within the walls of Radio Eireann that Frankie had problems with drink and prescription drug addictions but it was the problems that she addressed on her show that will live long in the memory of those who religiously listened to ‘Dear Frankie’.


Using ‘A Fair Day’ from ‘An Irish Symphony’ by Hamilton Harty as its signature tune, The Kennedy’s of Castleross’ was a fifteen minute soap opera broadcast from 1955 until 1973 on Radio Eireann. The show was devised by the Arks Advertising Agency in Dublin as a vehicle for the Fry’s sponsorship of a radio programme on Radio Eireann. The first episode was broadcast on April 14th 1955 and the show was broadcast twice weekly on Tuesday and Thursday lunchtimes. According to former script writer Mark Grantham, the show was set in a midlands town around a small grocers shop owned by Mrs Kennedy. He recounted in the newspaper article that despite a cast of fourteen budget restrictions only allowed three actors per episode with Mrs Kennedy the only one to appear in every episode. Marie Kean played the role of Mrs Kennedy and she was paid two guineas per episode. The shows final broadcast was a one hour special on February 24th 1973.

Selected Cast

Marie Kean (pictured) as the matriarch and shop keeper Mrs Kennedy, her son Brian played by TP McKenna and his wife Pat played by Angela Newman. Vincent Dowling played her other son Christy while Aideen O’Kelly played her only daughter Ellen who was married to the local doctor Dr. John Corrigan played by Norman Rodway. Other characters included Jim Lonergan played by Jim Fitzgerald and Pauline Delaney as Bridie O’Hanlon.


Chris Cary revolutionised Irish broadcasting with his pirate radio station Radio Nova that operated from Dublin from 1981 until 1986. Chris was born in Chester, England on October 5th 1946 and as his DJ persona ‘Spangles Muldoon’ he joined the crew of pirate radio ship Radio Caroline. He left Caroline and had stints with Radio Northsea and Radio Nova. The station was a professional operation openly breaking the law as the Government struggled with antiquated laws. The station broke new ground in irish broadcasting and gave new opportunities to a new wave of Irish broadcasters. By 1986 with new legislation on the horizon and mounting financial trouble Radio Nova closed and Cary left Ireland relaunching Radio Nova on satellite from his home in England.

Having originally been involved in computer software sales he began selling pirated satellite television cards for which he was eventually arrested and jailed in 1998. After two years in jail he escaped and absconded to New Zealand but was rearrested and extradited back to the UK to finish his sentence. While in prison he suffered a stroke but after his release he moved to Spain  to restart a radio business. While in Spain he suffered two further strokes and died on February 29th 2008.


Born in 1938 Larry joined Radio Eireann in the early sixties. He was the only presenter of pop music shows on the then single channel. When RTE Radio 2 was launched he joined the station playing the first record the Boomtown Rats 'Like Clockwork' and his 'Just A Minute Quiz' featured on his lunchtime show has entered Irish folklore. Larry has presented a number of shows on TV but he is most at home on radio. Larry from 1983 to 2011 was the radio commentator for the Eurovision song contest.


Sean was born in November 1921 in Birmingham, England. As a young child his parents returned to Ireland and after he completed secondary school Sean joined the Civil Service as part of the Irish Diplomatic Corps. In 1947 he transferred to Radio Eireann and while there was tasked with combining his love of Irish traditional music and the need to record our heritage travelling the country recording Irish music. He was instrumental in setting up the mobile Community Radio service that demonstrated the need for local independent radio. Sean appeared on a wide variety of television programmes and passed away in January 2007.  


Leo Maguire was born in Dublin in 1903 and passed away in December 1985 and was an Irish singer, songwriter, and radio broadcaster. Leo trained as a baritone under Vincent O'Brien, Count John McCormack's voice teacher. For many years Leo performed with the Dublin Operatic Society. He was a prolific composer, writing over 100 songs. These include "Come to the Céile", "The Old Killarney Hat", "If You'll Only Come Across the Seas to Ireland", "The Dublin Saunter", which he wrote for Noel Purcell.. His most famous song is "The Whistling Gypsy". He also wrote parodies and humorous songs under the name Sylvester Gaffney. In 1954 Rose Brennan was awarded third place by the New Musical Express for the best recording of the year for her cover of "The Whistling Gypsy". It was a hit in Ireland and the United States.

Along with his musical career, Maguire worked as a broadcaster with Radio Éireann. The programme with which he is most closely associated was the Walton's Programme. This was a weekly sponsored fifteen minute show during which Maguire played recordings of popular Irish ballads. The programme was broadcast for almost 30 years until its cancellation in January 1981. He ended his shows with the line ‘if you do sing a song sing an Irish song’.


The Irish Hospital’s Sweepstakes was a privately operated lottery that began in 1939 and monies were used to fund Irish hospitals in a time of austerity. The sweepstakes were extremely popular in Ireland, North America and Britain. As part of their publicity campaign they sponsored a music programme on Radio Eireann and it was hosted by Bart Bastable. Bart had been an actor at one stage starring in such films as The Siege of Sidney Street. It always ended his show with the lines ‘it makes no difference where you are, you can wish upon a star. This is Bart Bastable wishing you, health, wealth and good fortune.'



Maurice was born to Galway parents in London in 1902 and after studying at Oxford began life as a journalist. He joined the Radio Times in 1926 rising to the position of editor which he held until 1941 when he joined the BBC. After the Second World War he helped re-establish the BBC's Television service and in 1952 following a personal appeal from Minister for Posts and Telegraphs Erskine Childers (later President Childers) he moved to ireland and joined Radio Eireann as Director of Broadcasting. In 1959 he resigned from that position but penned the book '40 Years of Irish Broadcasting' in 1966. He passed away in Dublin in 1975.


Gerry Ryan was known as a 'motormouth' or 'the shock jock' and was one of Ireland's best loved radio broadcasters. He was born in Dublin in June 1956 and after his secondary school education began his life in the 1970s as a DJ working on pirate radio stations like ARD and Big D. When RTE Radio 2 (the pop channel) opened in 1979 Gerry joined RTE presented weekend late night shows. In 1988 he began the Gerry Ryan Show, three hours of lice controversial radio 9am to midday Monday to Friday. The show was a ratings success and Gerry became the second highest paid presenter at RTE. Gerry also presented a number of television programmes including Ryan Confidential and Secrets. He was co host of the 1984 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin and guest hosted the Late Late Show in 2008. Gerry died suddenly in April 2010 and he was mourned by colleagues, the then President of Ireland Mary McAleese, his ex wife Morah, his five children and partner Melanie. Journalist Kevin Myers remarked, "he was a criminal fool, and an enemy of all that's decent and honourable and true in society"


Peter Patrick (PP) O'Reilly would be best remembered as one of the pioneer's of the RTE’s ‘It Says in the Papers’ programme which began in the early 1980s and ended in 1989. His career in journalism went back to 1946 when he became radio critic at the Irish Press. Born in Liverpool in 1915, he served with the Irish Army from 1940 to 1946 in Dublin. In 1947, he joined Radio Eireann as a news reporter and made his first broadcast on Easter Monday, 1948. He married Antoinette Cunningham and continued to make his mark at Radio Eireann. He was involved in the fledgling television service and was editor of the Broadsheet programme that included hosts like Frank Hall and Brian Farrell. He died at Naas General Hospital, Co Kildare in 1995. 


Francis MacManus was born in Kilkenny in March 1909. He was a broadcaster on Radio Eireann and a well respected novelist. Following a Christian Brother education he joined the national broadcaster in 1948 and served as a Commissioning Editor for the station's drama department until his death in November 1965.

MacManus began writing while still teaching, including a trilogy about the life of the poet Donncha Rua Mac Conmara.  


Brendan Feiritéar was born in County Kerry and after a spell teaching he became involved in journalism. In 1972 he was one of the first broadcasters on the Irish language station Raidio na Gaeltachta. In 1984 he was appointed head of the station a position he held for nine years. He oversaw its growth from a station located in Connemara to a national station with studios in Kerry and Donegal.