Obituary: Pádraig Ó Méalóid
Broadcaster and actor with an authoritative voice that drew people to the Irish language
Pádraig Ó Méalóid – Born: August 20th, 1931. Died: November 21st, 2016
There is a word in Irish that well describes the late broadcaster, Pádraig Ó Méalóid: ildánach. It means “skilled in various arts, versatile, accomplished”. He was a teacher – formally in Scoil Lorcáin in Dublin – and informally in his work as a broadcaster and actor on RTÉ, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and TG4.
A native of Camus Íochtair in the Connemara Gaeltacht, he was educated in Baile Bhúirne, Co Cork, and St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, and started working with Radio Éireann in 1959.
His diverse talents saw him present Nuacht, as well as ground-breaking programmes such as Teleifís Scoile, Anois is Arís and Buntús Cainte which gave people the confidence to use – and add to – their “cúpla focal”. He introduced Ceiliúradh Ceoil – a celebration of music; he asked questions about the sea and all its wonders in Fios Farraige; produced documentaries for TG4 and appeared on that station’s long-running soap, Ros na Rún, wearing a different hat.
His career mirrored the growth in Irish broadcasting. When he started out, material in Irish, both on television and radio, was limited. However, by the time his career drew to its close, there was an Irish-language television station and a radio station dedicated to Gaeltacht communities.
Bhí spórt agus snagcheol ina shaol freisin – iománaithe na Gaillimhe ag lasadh an dóchais ina chroí ar theacht an tsamhraidh, éachtaí Mohammad Ali a thóg an croí céanna agus cumas an pheileadóra Seán Purcell a líon an croí céanna arís eile le mórtas cine. Agus, an t-am uilig, bhí Louis Armstrong sa chúlra, ag seinm leis, i gcuideachta na gceoltóirí eile ar fad ar thug sé gean dóibh. Fear a bhí ann a thuig tábhacht an cheoil agus na siamsa d’anam an duine.
As a speaker of Irish, he was dedicated to the voice. His was an enticing, authoritative voice that drew the audience in to hear the latest headlines or listen to a documentary or simply to ponder a question on a quiz. His was a range that few possessed and a gift that many would envy. He educated and enlightened listeners with his documentaries and love of music and he nurtured young journalists under his care.
His wife Clare predeceased him in 2012. He is survived by his children Seán, Pádraig, Caitríona, Máirtín, Mícheál and Gráinne, by his grandchildren, and by his brothers and sisters.