Diarmuid Breathnach’s Passing

Diarmuid Breathnach
Diarmuid Breathnach

It is with heavy heart that we announce the passing of one of Martin Doyle’s dearest friends, Diarmuid Breathnach, on Monday the 13th of November 2023. This was the message received from Martin on November 15.

Diarmuid Breathnach left us the day before yesterday.
He was one of the best people I have known.
He was 93 and born on the 5th of August, 1930 – exactly 21 years older than me. You will remember that Diarmuid very kindly made the Irish translation for my website (see: Scéal Máirtín Ó Dubhghaill).

Diarmuid Breathnach

Below are some external facts about Diarmuid’s life from an article on the RTÉ website. His contributions to Irish culture were immense.

Born in Kiltimon, Co. Wicklow, in 1930, Mr. Breathnach was educated in UCD Dublin before he was appointed town librarian in Bray and Kilkenny county librarian.

He was subsequently employed by RTÉ to set up its radio archives and in 1975 he became the organisation’s chief librarian.

In 1987, he took early retirement from RTÉ and he and fellow librarian, Máire Ni Mhurchú, began working full-time on the Irish-language Dictionary of Irish Biography, Beathaisnéis.

They published nine volumes during 1986-2007 detailing the lives of writers, scholars, singers, actors, broadcasters, sports personalities, journalists, musicians, folklorists, politicians, clergymen, storytellers, activists and Gaeltacht personalities.

Mr Breathnach was also the author of two almanacks in Irish and published material in newspapers and journals.

In 1996, he and Máire Ní Mhurchú were awarded Gradam Bhord na Gaeilge.

They received a D Litt Celt from Maynooth University in 2002. In 2008, they were presented with Gradam an Oireachtais.

For this who knew the man, Diarmuid Breathnach will also be remembered for his warmth, humour and kindness of spirit. May you Rest In Peace Diarmuid – gentle man – and thank you for the richness of your contribution to this world.

Diarmuid Breathnach and Martin Doyle
Diarmuid Breathnach and Martin Doyle together in County Wicklow in 2009.

Related: Irish Translation Added »

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