Funeral of de Buitléar takes place
The funeral of filmmaker and conservationist Éamon de Buitléar has taken place at St Patrick’s Church in Co Wicklow.
Mr de Buitléar was one of Ireland’s first independent filmmakers, and was passionate about the natural world. He was also deeply involved in Irish traditional music and enjoyed a long association with Seán Ó Riada.
He died at his home on Sunday. He was aged 83.
The ceremony was attended by Mr de Buitléar’s wife Laillí, his children Aoife, Éanna, Róisín, Cian and Doireann, his brother Rúairi and sisters Ailbhe and Colma, his daughters-in-law and sons-in-law. He has 11 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
At the packed St Patrick’s Church in Kilquade, Co Wicklow, celebrant and friend Fr Dermod McCarthy told mourners “Irish society has lost a true patriot, a hero”.
Fr McCarthy, the former head of religious programming at RTÉ, said as Mr de Buitléar “waded through countless streams and rivers, or waited patiently for hours in hides to film fish, birds and animals, he knew he was participating in universal language”.
To the congregation, which included former ministers Mary Hanafin and Nora Owen, former MEP Mary Banotti, Sinn Féin TDs Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Martin Ferris, RTÉ Director General Noel Curran and former Director General Cathal Goan, actress Geraldine Plunkett, artist Don Conroy and musicians Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, fiddler Paddy Glackin and Sean Keane of the Chieftains, Fr McCarthy said all who listened to him or read his books were “enriched by his knowledge”.
“He opened the wonders of God’s creation to succeeding generations.”
Concelebrating Mass with four other priests, including Defence Forces chaplain Robert McCabe, Fr McCarthy received gifts brought to the altar including a St Brigid’s Cross made by Mr de Buitléar’s wife and a book of wild birds given to him by his mother when he was aged 13.
Music during the ceremony, which was conducted in Irish, was performed by musicians from Ceoltoiri Cualann, Ceoltoiri Laighean. The choir, Cor Chuil Aodh, conducted by Sean O’Riada’s son Peadar, performed Sé Mo Laoch Mo Ghile Mear at the close of the Mass.
In his eulogy, Cian de Buitléar said his father’s work had sparked an interest in the environment for many people. He thanked the musicians, some of whom had played as his father’s bedside in recent weeks, and the cancer care team who enabled his father to spend his final weeks at home.
President Higgins, who attended the removal last night, was represented by Commandant James Galvin. The Taoiseach was represented at the removal by his aide-de-camp.
Mr de Buitléar was laid to rest in Kilquade New Cemetery.