Walking With Ghosts

Gabriel Byrne

30 September 2021
224 pages


'Destined to be a classic' Sunday Independent
'Gabriel Byrne tells his story brilliantly' - Edna O'Brien
'Dazzles with unflinching honesty' Washington Post
'An absolutely marvellous book' - Colm Tóibín

Born to working-class parents and the eldest of six children, Gabriel Byrne harboured a childhood desire to become a priest. Four years later, Byrne had been expelled from an English seminary and he quickly returned to his native Dublin. There he took odd jobs as a messenger boy and a factory labourer to get by. In his spare time he visited the cinema, where he could be alone and yet part of a crowd. It was here that he could begin to imagine a life beyond the grey world of ’60s Ireland.

It was a friend who suggested Byrne join an amateur drama group, a decision that would change his life forever and launch him on an extraordinary forty-year career in film and theatre. Moving between sensual recollection of childhood in a now almost vanished Ireland and reflections on stardom in Hollywood and on Broadway, often through the lens of addiction. Hilarious and heartbreaking Walking With Ghosts is a lyrical homage to the people and landscapes that ultimately shape our destinies.

The wonder of this memoir is its unembellished truth. It is written by a man whose amazing story is the stuff of literature
So beautiful, it seems extraordinary that [Byrne] has kept this light under a bushel all this time . . . Gorgeous
An absolutely marvellous book . . . beautifully written, poetic . . . it’s a really riveting read