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Dublin: 20 °C Sunday 25 August, 2019

Film-maker and environmentalist Éamon de Buitléar dies aged 83

The former senator died at home on Sunday night.

THE IRISH FILM-maker, environmentalist, and former Senator Éamon de Buitléar has died at the age of 83.

De Buitléar died at home in Delgany, Co Wicklow last night, RTÉ reports, and is survived by his wife Lailli and children Eanna, Aoife, Doireann, Cian, and Róisín, as well as his sisters, brothers, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Photo: NUI Galway Éamon de Buitléar archive

A passionate environmentalist, de Buitléar was an independent wildlife film-maker over a career spanning six decades. In November of last year, he presented his personal archive to NUI Galway, which included all of his documentary film output, and original recordings of Irish traditional music by musicians such as Seán Ó Riada.

De Buitléar himself was a musician, playing with Ó Riada and in the group Ceoltóirí Chualann.

He was the film-maker responsible for the show Amuigh Faoin Spéir (Out Under the Sky), working with Dutch artist Gerrit Van Gelderen. He has also written a number of books, including Ireland’s Wild Countryside.

He was appointed a member of the 18th Seanad Eireann in 1987,  and also to the Central Fisheries Board by the Government in 2005.

Just last week, de Buitléar was interviewed at home by Vincent Woods for the RTÉ radio show Arts Tonight about his long career. He was also interviewed in 2011 about his life.

(Michael Bharry Ó Flatharta/YouTube)


Today, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said that on behalf of NUI Galway and the university community, he extends sincere condolences to the family and friends of Éamon de Buitléar:

Éamon de Buitléar was an outstanding figure of modern Ireland.  An exceptional film-maker, a committed environmentalist, a public intellectual, author, musician and member of Seanad Éireann – he was a man of many parts and a man whose contribution to Irish society has enriched the lives of many generations.
Most of us can recall Éamon’s passion for the Irish environment, brought to life through his books and television progammes.  His enduring legacy will be a sense of respect for the landscape and heritage of Ireland, along with a joyful enthusiasm for the culture and traditions of our nation.
We in NUI Galway are deeply honored by our association with Éamon de Buitléar.  His decision to donate his rich multi-media, bi-lingual archive to the University will mean that his lifetime’s work of creativity and advocacy will be held in trust here for the nation and for generations of scholars.  We are proud to have been entrusted with that task.

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