THE President has led tributes to film-maker and conservationist Eamon de Buitlear who has died aged 83.
"I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Éamon de Buitléar, to whom several generations of Irish people are indebted for their knowledge and understanding of our national heritage," President Michael D Higgins said this morning.
"He will be remembered as an outstanding broadcaster in both languages.
A great communicator, his warm and engaging personality as well as his enthusiasm and knowledge touched people of all ages. He will also be remembered as an accomplished musician.
"His public service included his work as a Senator, a member of the National Heritage Council and the Central Fisheries Board.
"The donation of his important archive of film and papers to the National University of Ireland Galway was one of his final acts of immense generosity to the Irish people and to our future generations.
"Éamon will be hugely missed by all those who had the good fortune to know him. I would like to extend my sympathies to his wife Lailli, their five children, their wider family and many friends."
President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, described the wildlife expert and environmentalist as an outstanding figure of modern Ireland.
"An exceptional film-maker, a committed environmentalist, a public intellectual, author, musician and member of Seanad Eireann - he was a man of many parts and a man whose contribution to Irish society has enriched the lives of many generations," he said.
"Most of us can recall Eamon's passion for the Irish environment, brought to life through his books and television progammes.
"His enduring legacy will be a sense of respect for the landscape and heritage of Ireland, along with a joyful enthusiasm for the culture and traditions of our nation."
Mr de Buitlear donated his multi-media, bi-lingual archive to the university last year.
Dr Browne said the university was proud to have been entrusted with holding in trust a lifetime's work for the nation and for generations of scholars.
Mr de Buitlear died at his home in Delgany, Co Wicklow.
He had a long association with Sean O Riada through his love of Irish traditional music.