PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins led the tributes over the weekend on the passing of broadcaster Donncha Ó Dúlaing at the age of 88.
The popular broadcaster, who hailed from Doneraile, Co. Cork, presented radio and TV programmes for RTÉ for more than 50 years and was much-loved among members of the Irish community abroad, many of whom kept in touch with home through his shows.
Among those show were the series Highways and Byways and, more recently, Fáilte Isteach for RTÉ Radio One, which he continued until his retirement in April 2015.
His death was reported on Sunday, September 5, just a week after his wife Vera, a former primary school teacher, passed away.
Tributes have since poured in for the veteran presenter, with President Michael D Higgins among the first to pay his respects.
“It is not only his listeners over the years but our Irish abroad and their families who will have heard with sadness of the passing of broadcaster Donncha Ó Dúlaing, just days after the death of his wife Vera,” President Higgins said.
“With his passing, Ireland has lost a widely respected and influential broadcaster, part of a generation of ground-breaking presenters and journalists that shaped Irish public broadcasting,” he added.
“We owe him a debt of gratitude for his contribution to Irish culture.
“His love for Irish music and Irish sport was contagious and he brought an energy and enthusiasm to his journalism, in programmes such as Highways and Byways and Fáilte Isteach, which resonated deeply with Irish audiences at home and abroad.”
Taoiseach Micheál Martin also paid tribute over the weekend.
In a statement made on social media, he called Mr Ó Dúlaing "an outstanding broadcaster who brought much joy to his loyal listeners over the decades".
Director General of RTÉ Dee Forbes paid her respects to the broadcasting stalwart, claiming that Mr Ó Dúlaing’s long-running programmes were "as iconic as the man himself".
"A tireless fundraiser, his charity walks were as legendary as the many legends who crossed his path, from Eamon de Valera to Pope John Paul II, Mick Jagger to Gene Kelly," Ms Forbes added.
Mr Ó Dúlaing is survived by four sons. He was predeceased by his daughter, Sinéad, and by his wife, Vera, who died on Sunday, August 29.