• Walking with Ghosts

  • A Memoir
  • By: Gabriel Byrne
  • Narrated by: Gabriel Byrne
  • Length: 6 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Walking with Ghosts  By  cover art

Walking with Ghosts

By: Gabriel Byrne
Narrated by: Gabriel Byrne
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Publisher's Summary

Walking with Ghosts is the stunningly evocative memoir by Irish actor and Hollywood star Gabriel Byrne.

As a young boy growing up in the outskirts of Dublin, Gabriel Byrne sought refuge in a world of imagination among the fields and hills near his home, at the edge of a rapidly encroaching city. Born to working-class parents and the eldest of six children, he harboured a childhood desire to become a priest. When he was 11 years old, Byrne found himself crossing the Irish Sea to join a seminary in England. 

Four years later, Byrne had been expelled and he quickly returned to his native city. 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.

He revelled in the theatre and poetry of Dublin’s streets, populated by characters as eccentric and remarkable as any in fiction, those who spin a yarn with acuity and wit. 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 40-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, Byrne also courageously recounts his battle with addiction and the ambivalence of fame.

Walking with Ghosts is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking as well as a lyrical homage to the people and landscapes that ultimately shape our destinies.

©2020 Gabriel Byrne (P)2020 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"Make no mistake about it: this is a masterpiece. A book that will wring out our tired hearts. It is by turns poetic, moving and very funny. You will find it on the shelf alongside other great Irish memoirs including those by Frank McCourt, Nuala O'Faolain and Edna O’Brien." (Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin)

"Dreamy, lyrical and utterly unvarnished." (Colm Tóibín)

What listeners say about Walking with Ghosts

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

wonderful memoir.

The narration -performance by the writer gives another dimension to this wonderful, poetic and evocative memoir.

3 people found this helpful

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Intense

It is almost unbearable listening to Gabriel Byrne reading his memoir Walking With Ghosts. It is so intense and moody and heartbreaking, hilarious, understated, poetic and passionate. I have to take breaks before diving back under the hypnotic spell of it. I was in love with him before but now I want to marry him and live in a windswept cottage in Connemara, listening to him talk.

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Excellent, really enjoyed this book

Loved the flow and range in this memoir, hope to see more from Gabriel in the future. He is a great storyteller.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-14-20

You must listen to this

This is the best Audible book I've ever listened to by far. It's wonderful the way Gabriel does the accents of all his characters, has a lyrical way of speaking, is a great storyteller (I now feel I have been to the street where grew up and met his neighbours). He is so refreshingly honest and I love him warts and all.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Ber
  • 12-02-20

Utterly brilliant

I remember Gabriel visiting our town many years ago ( the home town of his mother). He was so handsome, there was a sense of deep complexity and that intrigued me as I watched him move around shyly, obviously uncomfortable with the attention and glowing admiration of the people, all eyes firmly fixed on him. This beautiful book answers my intrigue to a large degree. There’s so much honesty, vulnerability, wit, compassion, love and awareness in this book. And he can write so wonderfully. I love this book a lot.

4 people found this helpful

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  • LAMcK
  • 10-08-21

Transfixing

I couldn't stop listening to Gabriel. I love his descriptive writing, it draws you into his vivid world and paints the most fantastic images in the minds-eye.
I struggle with some narrators but Gabriel is so easy to listen to, maybe it's because I'm Irish too and it's like sitting on the sofa listening to someone nattering at the table telling their tales of the day!
So if you are in any sort of doubt about listening to this book, give it a go, it will not disappoint!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Tricia
  • 03-11-21

I didn't want it to end

Gabriel Byne's accent surprised me - I hadn't realized he was Irish, but I was quickly drawn into the world of his life, periods brilliantly and seemingly effortlessly linked. It made me laugh out loud and at times brought tears to my eyes. His pain still seemed raw; sometimes hard to listen to, but needed to be heard. He is both vunerable and brave.
I thoroughly recommend this book.

3 people found this helpful

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  • J. Andersen
  • 02-10-22

It’s stunning

It’s stunning, and even more so I think if you grew up in Dublin too, like I did. Lots of evocative Dublinisms that made me laugh and others so tender I almost cried.

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  • Wiccawoman
  • 01-18-22

Is There Nothing He Cannot Do?

I fell in love with Gabriel Byrne when I first saw ‘Excalibur’. He is indeed a beautiful man! Over the years I saw he was a fine actor even when he played a man possessed by the devil in ‘End of Days’. I never for the life of me dreamed he would be such a great writer though and he is, as good as they come! His writing is devastatingly good and I defy anyone not to be gripped by this autobiography ‘Walking With Ghosts’. He uses great perception, imaginative imagery. It isn’t chronological there’s a merging and blending of times and places, almost like a dream. This is a great writer displaying his mastery and skill of the art of literature. The man is a great writer disguised as a Hollywood celeb, who could have guessed it? I have just finished reading this and I am bereft that there is not more to come.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Janet Mulroy
  • 12-30-21

Fellow dub

Loved this book from start to finish. Sad happy wise funny , brilliantly read. Listened in one day a day which would have been a lot more difficult if I hadn’t. Thankyou mr Byrne .

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-21-21

Great listen

Excellent, well written. Words and phrases used from his child I have not heard for a long time. Characters brought to life with evocative descriptions and reading voice.

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  • mr
  • 05-23-21

Beautifully Poetic

loved the book and its openess and honesty. Well written and read. recommend this

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  • paul
  • 04-13-21

A wonderful Irish icon

A brilliant listen , I felt it from start to finish. Gabriel is super in all the people he would speak of. His storytelling is a thing of beauty, some sad stories also . Well done

1 person found this helpful

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  • AWard
  • 03-14-21

Thank you

Oh the beauty in such an honest account of a life. Beautiful, moving, & hilarious...

1 person found this helpful

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  • Profit
  • 07-23-22

Witty, Moving, Deep

I listened to Billy Connolly’s book ‘Windswept and Interesting’. (Great listen). He recommended this book and I’m not disappointed. It’s excellent. I feel like I’m listening to a lonely introverted man who has gone through a lot of bad experiences but one who has made good of it all. Famous and yet solitary, proud of his roots.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-22-21

Honest, funny and moving

Gabriel's memoir resonated with me as a fellow survivor of a strict Catholic childhood. That's not to say that the story was gloomy or maudlin though. I basked in his lyrical prose and musical accent and there were many laugh out loud moments.

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  • Jane
  • 06-24-21

Unforgettable

An instant classic! Far beyond what you would expect from a celebrity memoir. Excellent narration.