Michael Ryan was born in Dublin and schooled at Marino whence he graduated to Rathmines College. He took his first appointment with the print media at Independent Newspapers. Subsequently he transferred to Radio Teilifís Éireann where he has remained, in a career span of some forty years.
His is an ability, potent and lyrical, to let the story tell itself. It is in this role, in his acclaimed ‘Nationwide’ programme, that he has come to be known best. Each edition brings our country home to us, home safely from the snide and the cynical, home safely to affirmative affectionate warmth. ‘Nationwide’ has proven a significant programme, a hub around which the hidden life of Ireland gathers, to be eloquently disclosed and tantalizingly.
In over fifteen years of presentations Michael Ryan has provided us an intriguing atlas of Ireland, mapping the many harlequin aspects of its mores and folkways. To the quiescent villages and townlands he has brought the focus of his incisive mind, his instinct for the narrative, his unerring inner eyes and ears.
It is his seeming effortlessness and the astonishingly relaxed way which he conveys the tale that most impress or disarm. There is no projection of a false or screen personality, no fuss. His programme celebrates to delight in the success of others, and in doing this Michael demonstrates the core features of the great raconteur, the narrator, the pedagogue, the anthropologist, the social philosopher. The lilt and cadence of his voice, his crinkling twinkling facial expressions, the warmth conveyed, set him apart.
In a modern sense he has contributed to the annals of Ireland – of recorder and keeper and disseminator of that contribution, he can be proud.