By Emma Ryan
THERE is widespread sadness across Donegal following the death of broadcaster and Irish language champion Rónán Mac Aodha Bhuí.
Rónán died at his home in Cois Cláidigh in Gaoth Dobhair on Tuesday at the age of 53.
His Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, September 22, in St. Mary’s Church, Derrybeg at 11am, with interment afterwards in Magheragallon Cemetery.
Rónán was married to Bernie and was a father of one daughter, Fionnuala. Born in Cork, his family moved to Donegal when he was just three months old, and he attended school in Gaoth Dobhair.
According to RTÉ, he began broadcasting in 1987, firstly on pirate radio stations in Dublin and Donegal, and then later he got a job reading the Irish-language news on Century Radio in Dublin.
His extensive portfolio includes work with RTÉ, TG4 and RTÉ RnaG.
He worked on many programmes including Scaoil Amach an Bobailín with Seán Bán Breathnach and Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh, and later Ecu! Ecu!
He later worked on Cois Life, magazine show Barrscéalta, music series Cúl an Tí, which he presented with Hughie Mac Gairbheith, and music show Géill Slí.
In 2006 his signature show Rónán Beo came on the air for the first time, and it was through this programme that many people came to know him as a broadcaster.
During his career, Rónán won many awards including in the past year when Glór na nGael and Conradh na Gaeilge presented him with special awards for his work for the Irish language.
With a strong love for the Irish language and culture, Rónán has been remembered as a champion of Irish lanuguage.
He established An Ciorcal Craiceáilte and An Cabaret Craiceáilte, social nights that ensured communities in the Gaeltacht could have Irish-language entertainment.
He also acted as MC for the An Dream Dearg protest march demanding Irish-language rights which took place in 2014.
Aodh Máirtín Ó Fearraigh, RTÉ RnaG Regional Manager in Donegal, said, “Rónán was a superb broadcaster. He was inquisitive, empathetic, clever, unafraid and daring.
“He was unequalled and he’ll be greatly missed. I would like to extend my condolences to his wife Bernie, his daughter Fionnuala, his brother Cian, a former colleague, and all his family and friends. May he rest in peace.”
RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta will broadcast special editions of Bladhaire on today (Thursday) and Friday at 3pm.
President Michael D Higgins also paid tribute to the late broadcaster following his death.
In a statement, he said: “It is with great sadness that I’ve learned of the death of broadcaster Rónán Mac Aodha Bhuí from Gaoth Dobhair in the Donegal Gaeltacht, aged 53 years.
“Rónán was particularly popular and highly respected amongst the Gaeltacht and Irish-speaking communities throughout the length and breadth of Ireland.”
Rónán is survived by his wife Bernie, his daughter Fionnuala, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends.