Yesterday morning at 9am, it was a real trip down memory lane for many folk. And none more so than myself. Celebrating the 40th birthday of RTE2fm the radio station was awash with it’s greatest show – The Gerry Ryan Show. The Ryan Line was a must for housewives and more nationwide for many years. Nothing has, or ever could replace it.
It was the late 1980’s and I was in college. We started at 9am, same time as Gerry Ryan. Myself and my friend Mary T were not going to miss Gerry. College was attended but Gerry was listened to….in class! Mary T had a ‘personal stereo, and the headphones went up our sleeves. One in her left ear, and one in my right ear (via our jumper/shirt sleeves). Many mornings our lecturer pulled us up on our lack of attention, and the ear phones were taken out (for all of 10 seconds), then immediately sneaked back in again. The Ryan Line was listened to daily.
Following my college years, I listened to Gerry avidly each weekday morning. Like many thousands across the country, I felt like part of Gerry’s family. His children and Moira were spoken of daily, and we did grow up as their elder siblings and friends. Gerry welcomed his listeners into his family, and we all became part of it.
He talked many people through troubles and good times. He shared his too. And it was just part of the daily routine and he was part of our lives. His death shook not only a nation, but so many hearts. Mine was broken.
The day of his funeral I listened in on the radio. The tears didn’t stop. I recalled a very special show of his just a year or two prior to this, which still resonates with my life today.
Gerry had an Educational Psychologist talking with him that day about students preparing for Junior Cert exams and choosing subjects for their Leaving Cert. My son was one such student preparing for this. We were struggling with those subject choices at that time. On this particular morning I myself was driving to college. I had returned as a mature student to study English. That journey and Gerry’s show helped pave the way for those subject choices and also for much of the work I do today. I’ve never forgotten that show.
The advice was to choose subjects you would enjoy. Not subjects that would help gain a certain career. But ones the student liked and would help making the two year journey towards Leaving Cert enjoyable and doable for the student. I remember that day taking the advice on board and I still use it today as I work with such students.
Gerry Ryan was human. He made mistakes like everyone else. He talked openly and honestly. He allowed us, the normal person, to feel just that, normal. He gave out life advice, and he gave out good advice. He spoke with people and he helped them. He just was, one of a kind.
As I listened back then to the Gerry Ryan show and that all important ‘Ryan Line’, it was with admiration and a real fondness for the man himself.
Now in 2019 I follow Lottie and Bonnie on Instagram. It’s like a little piece of Gerry is there and lives on in his children. Each of them showcase a piece of their Dad. His two sons Rex and Elliot too. And Babs is always there as is Moira. A family very much together is continually to the fore. Gerry’s family.
Yesterday morning at 9am, I really was transported back to those good old days of ‘The Ryan Line’. There was just something extra special hearing that voice again. And it brought me to tears. The memories, the admiration, and the influence that he gave me and so many others.
As 2FM celebrates it’s 40th birthday, they didn’t only celebrate their achievement, they allowed all of us to celebrate the memory of one of the greatest voices the airwaves has ever known….Gerry Ryan.
Happy birthday RTE2fm, and thank you so much for the wonderful memory of Gerry Ryan. We’ll never forget those infamous words…..The Ryan Line is open….