Broadcaster Donncha Ó Dúlaing spent over 50 years travelling around the country – talking to the real people of Ireland about everything from internment to contraception, from poitín brewing to turf cutting.
The last episode of Cloch Le Carn charts the life and career of one of Ireland's most prolific and beloved broadcasters for over 50 years – Donncha Ó Dúlaing. He started his career in RTÉ Cork in 1964 and worked on a broad range of radio and TV programmes like The Munster Journal, A Woman’s World, Highways and Byways, Donncha’s Travelling Roadshow, Siamsa Cois Laoi and Failte Isteach.
He interviewed thousands of people – many of them celebrities like Pope John Paul the second, American country star Glen Campbell, hurling legend Christy Ring and president Éamon De Valera – but his true passion was always talking to the real people all across Ireland.
In this moving and entertaining programme, packed with hilarious archive footage, broadcast historian Dr Finola Doyle O’Neill assesses Ó Dúlaing’s legacy as a broadcaster from the early 1960s onwards. She also reveals the personal story behind his 1968 interview with her own mother about the Catholic Church’s contraception ban.
Former senator and director of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Labhrás Ó Murchú, remembers how challenging it was for Donncha to deal with Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act, at a time when even traditional rebel songs were banned from the airwaves.
Donncha also featured many Irish musicians, like The Furey Brothers, The Wolf Tones and Foster & Allen in his programmes, and was one of the first presenters to travelled widely across rural Ireland at a time when most programmes were Dublin or studio based.
Broadcaster Peter Browne describes how Donncha created a really informal interviewing style that made people trust him, and that he garnered huge public support on his many charity walks across the country.
But for Ó Dúlaing’s son Ruairí, it was not always easy growing up as a teenager with a famous father who sported a bright red Adidas tack suit or a trilby hat on television. Ruairi also talks movingly about the death of his sister Sinéad from cancer, and how the loss devastated his father.
But despite the many challenges and losses Donncha faced through his life and career, he continued broadcasting to his loyal listeners until he was over 80 years old
Cloch le Carn, Dé Máirt ar a 7 ar RTÉ ONE