Sir Terry Wogan, a Limerick-born star of the British Broadcasting Corporation, died 31 January after a short bout with cancer. He was 77. Read the BBC’s obituary.
In The Guardian, Martin Kettle writes that Wogan rarely drew explicit attention to his Irishness.
And yet, although he lived, worked and died in Britain, was knighted by the Queen, and was never reluctant to wave the union jack when the needs of the BBC required it, his Irishness was there whenever he opened his mouth. For more than 40 years he was probably the most prominent Irish person, and certainly the most familiar Irish voice, in Britain, rivaled for fame only by [footballer] George Best and Bono, neither of whom could match Wogan’s length of time in the spotlight.
…Whether he liked it or not, Wogan was a significant Irish presence in Britain right through the era of Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley. To some Irish nationalist eyes that may perhaps brand him as someone who made dubious accommodations with Britishness at a sensitive time. To his British listeners, however, and possibly to many of his Irish ones too, Wogan was a reminder that there was also much more to the British-Irish relationship than nationalist and loyalist politics, and that people on both sides of the Irish Sea have more in common than some of them sometimes like to pretend.
Irish Times columnist Martin Doyle wrote that “Ireland has had no finer ambassador to Britain.” Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Wogan “acted in no small way as a bridge between Ireland and Britain.”