Thursday 18 October 2018

Popular weatherman McWilliams dies at 63

Grainne Cunningham

THE columnist and weather expert Brendan McWilliams died yesterday after a short illness, aged 63.

As a regular contributor to newspapers, radio and television, Mr McWilliams, was the country's best-known commentator on all aspects of the weather and the natural environment.

Born in Dublin in 1944, his early childhood was spent in Waterville, Co Kerry, where his father Sean, also a meteorologist, was in charge of Valentia Observatory.

After graduating in Science from University College Cork in 1964, he joined the Meteorological Service and worked as a weather forecaster, first at Shannon Airport, and later at the Central Analysis and Forecast Office in Dublin.

During the 1970s he was a regular presenter of the daily weather forecast on RTE television.

Since 1990 he has been assistant director of the Meteorological Service and his daily 'Weather Eye' column for The Irish Times, begun in 1988, has become one of the most popular features of the newspaper.

Weather Eye dealt with popular aspects of meteorology, hydrology, climate, astronomy and environmental matters. The column is widely respected for its scientific integrity by those with a scientific background, and enjoyed by general readers for its literary, historical, folklore, and occasionally humourous content. Two collections of the daily articles, 'Weather Eye' (1994), and 'A Weather Eye on Literature' (1996), have been published in book form. A third, 'A Weather Eye on History', is in preparation.

Irish Times editor Geraldine Kennedy yesterday paid tribute to the columnist, describing him as a "quintessential part of the Irish Times" and as "irreplaceable".

Ms Kennedy extended her deepest sympathy and gratitude to Mr McWilliams' family.

Mr McWilliams was much in demand as a lecturer and contributed frequently to radio and television programmes, including a five-part radio series on climate change, entitled 'Weather Warning'. He made a weekly live contribution, usually on Tuesdays, to Today with Pat Kenny.

Mr McWilliams is survived by his wife Anne children Laurie and Stephen.

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