Legendary broadcaster Donncha Ó Dúlaing set to be honoured with civic reception

Legendary broadcaster Donncha Ó Dúlaing is to be honoured with a special civic reception in his native county.

There was full cross-party support in the chamber of Cork County Council for the 82-year-old radio and television veteran.

Not only was he cherished by home audiences and viewers, he was popular with Irish people the world over as a presenter and programme-maker of cultural and traditional music.

Born in Doneraile in north Cork, Mr Ó Dúlaing only retired from RTÉ three weeks ago after a 51-year career with the national broadcaster.

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A proposal to host a civic reception was successfully put forward by Charleville-based Cllr Ian Doyle (FF), who pointed out Mr Ó Dúlaing was schooled in his hometown before going to UCC where he obtained a BA.

“He joined the then Radio Éireann in 1964 and over his long years broadcasting, he never forgot his roots in Cork and promoted the county and its people at every possible opportunity,” Cllr Doyle said.

“His brilliance as a broadcaster was always well recognised by his peers and he was equally at home interviewing ordinary folk as he was with presidents and popes.

“He brought radio to the people of rural Ireland and was their voice on the airwaves at a time when they were ignored by others.”

Cllr Doyle said that was especially true of his Highways and Byways programme where Mr Ó Dúlaing took part in numerous walks over the years, throughout Ireland, America and the Middle East raising millions of euro for chosen charities.

“His recent retirement leaves a void in national radio which will not be easily filled and it deprives rural Ireland of the familiar voice of a much loved broadcaster,” Cllr Doyle said.

His motion was seconded by Cllr Noel Collins (Ind) while Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe pointed out that Mr Ó Dúlaing had popularised, for Irish tourists, the Camino Walk in Spain.

Cllr Andrias Moynihan (FF) said: “He was a fierce Gaelgóir who put our language and culture out to so many people around the world.”

Mayor of County Cork, Cllr Alan Coleman, said he was also delighted to support the call for a civic reception.

“It’s a bit ironic. He was actually the first person I did a radio interview with,” Cllr Coleman said.

A date, meanwhile, has yet to be determined for the planned civic reception.

A former head of features in RTÉ Radio, Mr Ó Dúlaing and his Cork-born wife Vera (née Galvin) live in Dublin near the RTE Headquarters in Donnybrook.

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