Farewell ‘Fáilte’ for Donncha Tonight at 10pm

Tonight’s Fáilte Isteach on RTÉ Radio One at 10pm will be the historic final broadcast of the programme and the regular radio presenting career of Donncha Ó Dúlaing.
The veteran broadcaster recently celebrated 50 years in broadcasting and tonight marks a major milestone for his many loyal fans and listeners throughout the world.
It was his Highways and Byways radio series on RTÉ Radio One which made him hugely popular throughout the country as he visited towns and parishes in pursuit of the ordinary and the extraordinary in these places.
He walked the length and breadth of the country several times and raised countless thousands of pounds for Irish charities. He had a stop in Castlisland on one of these marathon walks in the mid 1980s. Though in obvious pain as a result of a grueling day’s walking and a punishing schedule of over 40 miles per day , he made light of the demands the crowd made on him before he was whisked away for the rest he badly needed.
He enjoyed a near universal  popularity as he conducted similar walks in many parts of the world from the UK, France and Israel and among the Choctaw Indians in the US. The latter was a ‘Thank You Mission’ to the people who had contributed to the victims of the Famine in Ireland in the 1840s.
His well publicized interest in people in the places he visited was a natural part of his make-up.
A local story more than illustrates the point: As a Volkswagen Ambassador, Donncha was regular caller to Divane’s on Killarney Road. He met Divane’s neighbor, Lena Shanahan and her sister Hannah Walsh on one of his visits here and he always asked for them when he visited afterwards.
“If they were around when he called he made sure to visit and he enjoyed the strong coffee Lena made for him,” said Denis Divane.
Messages and good wishes have been sent from Divane’s and Joe Martin – one of his local friends – spoke to Donnacha during the week.
On Bowman’s Sunday on RTÉ Radio One for the past couple of weeks, John Bowman has been looking back at Ó Dúlaing’s broadcasting career and it’s highlight interviewing scoops with the likes of former President Éamonn de Valera, Pope John Paul II, Edna O’Brien, Mick Jagger, Sir Edmund Hillary and Gene Kelly.
This morning’s Country Wide also paid tribute to him.
President Michael D. Higgins presented a specially commissioned sculpture to him at Áras an Uachtarain, last August in recognition of his contribution to Irish broadcasting and culture.
A 288 page illustrated memoir titled ‘Donncha’s World- the Roads, the Stories and the Wireless’ was co-authored with writer Declan Lyons and launched by his friend, the singer Daniel O’Donnell last  September 2014 tells the story of his life and career.
Now fans across the globe will tune in tonight at 10pm to hear the man himself pull out the door on ‘The Parlour of Dreams’ for the last time.  Listening tonight is not optional. It is quite imperative.