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Mr MacCoille signed off for the final time this morning, after hosting the programme with co-presenter Rachael English.
Speaking after the programme, he said: "I do know for all kinds of reasons, nothing is forever and I also know that there are all kinds of other things that I want to do and will look forward to doing.
"I don't know what they are yet, but I've got a few ideas!"
Mr MacCoille presented Morning Ireland for 20 years, first hosting the programme from 1986 to 1990, before returning in 2001 and becoming a regular feature of mornings on RTÉ Radio 1.
Between 1990 and 2001 he worked as news editor and later assistant editor of the Sunday Tribune, then as the first political correspondent on Irish-language channel TG4.
He was named as PPI News Broadcaster of the Year in 2011.
A keen gaelgeoir, Mr MacCoille currently also writes for Irish language news website Tuairisc.
Paying tribute to the presenter, RTÉ Director of News Jon Williams said "his greatest legacy is the generation of RTÉ journalists who were shaped by working with Cathal - who he imbued with his values of decency, curiosity & rigour.
"He will always be part of the RTÉ family," he added.
Slán to a fantastic colleague & real gentleman @CathalMacCoille 😥 Such a pleasure to work + learn from him on @morningireland over past 5yrs pic.twitter.com/b1Emeh3HkC
Another broadcasting legend comes off air. Pleasure to work with @CathalMacCoille, gentleman, absent-minded cyclist, generous with praise pic.twitter.com/0WQk7bk8EJ
Best of luck to @CathalMacCoille who presented @morningireland for the last time today. Always incisive. Always good fun. Day after day. pic.twitter.com/O75GgH7K79
Retirement. Not as easy as it sounds. All the very best to you @CathalMacCoille pic.twitter.com/BQnvBuuPBF