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Tributes as filmmaker de Buitlear dies aged 83

TRIBUTES have continued to pour in today for renowned wildlife filmmaker and former senator Eamon de Buitlear.

Mr de Buitlear (83) passed away at his home in Delgany, Co Wicklow, last night.

The environmentalist was Ireland's best known independent wildlife filmmaker since the 1960s with a career spanning some 60 years.

He is survived by his wife Lailli and children Aoife, Eanna, Roisin, Cian and Doireann, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, sisters and brothers.

His programme, Amuigh Faoin Speir (Out Under The Sky) was a popular RTE show during the 1960s and 1970s.



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When he presented his multi-media archive of his life's work to NUI Galway last November, he said: "The environment, the Irish language and our native music have been cornerstones of my work and I am happy that the archive as a whole will find a home in NUI Galway.

"It is important that the collection will be available and accessible, particularly to young people and also to the Gaeltacht community in Connemara."

A founder member of Sean O'Riada's Ceoltoiri Chualann, Mr de Buitlear was an accomplished musician, playing the mouth organ and button accordion. He was also the author of several books, including schoolbooks on Ireland's natural history and a recent memoir, A Life in the Wild.

He was appointed to Seanad Eireann in 1987 in recognition of his work with environmental issues and to the Heritage Council and Central Fisheries Board.

He co-produced and originated the Amuigh Faoin Speir series with Dutch artist Gerrit Van Gelderen, and the programme was credited with creating an appreciation of the Irish environment.

In 1991 Mr de Buitlear was awarded an Honorary Degree in Science by the NUI and in 1992 he was granted the UCD Lifetime Environmental Achievement Award.

President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, described him as "one of the pioneers of Irish broadcasting."

"Eamon's concern for various aspects of our heritage has enriched not only his personal archive but national life."

mlavery@herald.ie