The Nation Holds Its Breath


George Hamilton

November 2021

Much-anticipated memoir by one of Ireland’s best-loved radio and TV personalities, George Hamilton, who was the eyes and ears of the most successful period in Irish football.

Shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year, An Post Irish Book Awards, 2021


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‘David O’Leary is entrusted with the responsibility of taking the penalty that could send Ireland to the quarter-finals of the World Cup. This kick can decide it all. The nation holds its breath…’

Written with his trademark warmth and candour, The Nation Holds Its Breath is George Hamilton’s eagerly awaited and wonderfully told journey through a rich and varied career in broadcasting.

As the undisputed voice of Irish football, George’s evocative and celebrated commentary is familiar to millions. He has captured the highs and lows of Irish sport for generations of fans, ever since he first took up the microphone in the mid-seventies, and he has been enthralling his audiences ever since.

To read George’s writing is to hear George’s voice and the reader will be captivated from the very first page, as he takes us on an affectionate journey from the Cregagh Road in East Belfast to an emotional farewell salute from Big Jack Charlton on the hallowed Anfield turf in 1995. The destinations – Stuttgart, Genoa, New Jersey – will be familiar, the journeys in between, anything but. A must-read memoir from one of Ireland’s truly undeniable national treasures.


  1. Paradise in Solitude
  2. Superfan
  3. The Making of the Man
  4. Does a Duck Swim?
  5. Let the Pictures Tell the Story
  6. Pearls of Wisdom
  7. The Point of No Return
  8. Good Morning Ulster
  9. It was all George Hamilton’s Fault
  10. Much Ado About Nothing-Nothing
  11. Flash those Sandy Row Sparklers
  12. Platten à la Carte
  13. Charlton Gets the Job
  14. A Dream Becomes Reality
  15. Things Would Never Be the Same Again

George Hamilton has worked in broadcasting since the seventies. Best known as the chief football commentator for RTÉ, he also covers other high-profile sporting events for the national broadcaster, including the Olympic Games. Since 2003, he has presented The Hamilton Scores, a weekly classical music show on Lyric FM. This is his first book.

Praise for The Nation Holds Its Breath

‘As you read you begin to hear that familiar voice, with its pleasing Ulster back notes, urbane and somewhat above the fray, as though he is match-commentating on his own life.’
Keith Duggan, The Irish Times

The Nation Holds its Breath is beautifully and engagingly written’
John Meagher, Irish Independent

‘[Hamilton’s] autobiography charts that journey in full from the Cregagh Road to Solitude and from Windsor Park to Genoa – a unique story and journey for a man who has become a national treasure.’
David Mohan, Belfast Media