Gay Byrne (image from RTÉ).

If you wrote to Gay Byrne, RTÉ want to hear from you

DEAR Gay is a landmark new documentary for RTÉ One, celebrating the Irish people’s unique relationship with one of their best-loved broadcasters.

It aims to tell some of the myriad stories behind the tens of thousands of letters that were written to Gay Byrne over his 60 years in broadcasting.

Together those letters tell the story of a unique relationship which developed between Gay and his viewers and listeners. And RTÉ need your help in finding their authors.

If you, or someone you know, wrote to Gay over those decades, and have a moving, surprising or funny story to tell about why you were inspired to write or what effect your letter had, they want to hear from you.

There are few public figures in Ireland who have done more to shape modern Ireland than Gay Byrne. A conservative man and lifelong Catholic, Gaybo was an unlikely revolutionary, but his work on radio and television over six decades uncovered injustices, challenged taboos and brought many hitherto untold stories to the nation, often causing controversy and always igniting debate.

Many have argued that his broadcasting work during that period was a catalyst for national change, gradually chipping away at age-old norms and ushering in a new, more tolerant Ireland. Others, including Gay himself, claimed he simply rode those tides and brought changes that were happening anyway into the public sphere.

For many, that change happened at an individual level, and RTÉ’s archives are bursting with boxes of letters from members of the public who wrote to Gay to tell their stories, to complain, to seek help, share information and advice, or simply to publicise their invention, band, business or cause. Their stories are often funny and touching and many tell a tale of a more innocent Ireland. But there are many letters, too, that detail immense personal challenges, poverty and marginalisation.

RTÉ’s archives show that there were listeners in the early days for whom the Gay Byrne Radio Show was almost like a community noticeboard, where they sourced everything from prams to snooker tables, washing-machine parts to rare books.

There were people reunited after emigration and adoption as a result of letters to the radio show. People wrote letters to Gay sharing personal stories which they sometimes couldn’t even tell their best friends and family members, which lifted the lid on subjects such as domestic abuse, depression, alcoholism, divorce, abortion, forced adoptions, homosexuality, clerical and institutional abuse and more.

The Dear Gay documentary for RTÉ One aims to tell some of the stories behind those letters. And they need your help!

Whatever the reason for writing to Gay during his time in RTÉ, if you have an interesting story to tell and would like to share it with us, please log on to and fill in the form (

Or write an old-fashioned letter to:

Dear Gay



Dublin 4

(And don’t forget to include your contact details)

The documentary will air on RTÉ One later this year.