Graham Norton opens river walk in his name in home town of Bandon

TV chat show host says The Gathering should remind emigrants it is always possible to return

Ireland's greatest export is its people and The Gathering should remind those who have left that it is always possible to come home, said TV chat show host Graham Norton today, back in his home town of Bandon for the opening of a riverside walkway in his honour.

"I think Irish people are good with people – that may not seem like a big thing here in Bandon but when you leave and go into the rest of the world, you'd be surprised that that skill is remarkably rare and I think it explains the huge impact the Irish have had all over the world," Norton told a crowd of about 500 people.

“I don’t completely understand what this honour means but I hope that the young people who see my name on this walkway reflect that leaving isn’t the same as disappearing and it’s not the same as forgetting.

“For the rest of you, I would just ask you to think of me as you get drunk and fall in the river, indulge in some heavy petting behind a bush or simply bend to pick up your dog’s poo – I’m very touched to be honoured in this way,” he joked.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times