Fuair Proinsias Ó Conluain bás le déanaí. Bhí an-bhrón ar RTÉ Archives an scéal a chloisteáil. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. Craoltóir agus scríbhneoir ba ea é. Rinne sé a lán obair chun an Ghaeilge a chothú.
RTÉ Archives was very sorry to hear of the recent death of Proinsias Ó Conluain. He played a major role in preserving and promoting the Irish language and heritage and produced many RTÉ radio programmes on the subject.
The broadcaster and author was born in Co. Tyrone in 1919, the son of Bernard Conlan, a local IRB leader who was involved in the Rising.
Proinsias Ó Conluain joined Radio Éireann in 1947 where he initially worked as a script writer before moving to the Mobile Recording Unit. Together with his colleagues Séamus Ennis and Seán Mac Réamoinn, Ó Conluain travelled the country to capture on acetate disc traditional music, dialects and local lore that would become the basis of the most important collections of audio in the possession of RTÉ Archives. He supplemented this documentation with photography and became the first to use tape-recording technology in the field, when he travelled to Arranmore Island in Donegal to record Róise Nic Ghrianna in 1953.
Ó Conluain was also involved in a number of other Irish cultural initiatives. In 1948, he helped to co-found An Club Leabhar to encourage secondary-school students to read literature written in Irish. He edited the memoirs of seanchaí and goldminer Micí Mac Gabhann, 'Rotha Mór an tSaoil', which was published in 1959. Other works he edited include 'Islands and Authors' (1983), a companion piece to the RTÉ Radio 1 series he produced in 1981, in which well-known Irish authors take a look at books written about Irish islands.
His own works as an author include 'Scéal na Scannán' (1953), about the history of film. Prionsias Ó Conluain retired from RTÉ in 1983.
In this interview from 1983, Proinsias Ó Conluain tells Mike Murphy about the original mobile recording unit.
It was first broadcast on The Mike Murphy Show on 11 November 1983.
The accompanying image on the left shows Séamus Ennis, Dermot Maguire and Prionsias Ó Conluain in Cill Chiaráin, Connemara, c. 1949. The photographer was Dick Shakespeare © Irish Press plc.
The photograph on the right shows Proinsias Ó Conluain in 1979. The photographer was John Rowe © RTÉ Archives.