President: professor left a rich legacy of research
President Michael D Higgins led the tributes to the noted historian, Professor Ronan Fanning, who died yesterday.
Prof Fanning (75), was Professor Emeritus of Modern History at University College Dublin where he also studied.
Mr Higgins described Prof Fanning as a "much admired and respected historian whose extensive research and writings delivered a rich legacy to Irish scholarship".
He said he was an accomplished author and frequent broadcaster who "possessed a rare and wonderful talent for capturing and enrapturing his audience with an energetic and passionate literary style".
"He will be missed by his colleagues in academic life and by all of us who had the privilege of knowing him," he said.
Prof Fanning, of Donnybrook, Dublin, passed away in a south Dublin nursing home. He was predeceased by his wife, Virginia and is survived by his daughter Judith, sons Gareth and Tim, brothers Adrian and Paul and other family members.
He was a distinguished student, who won a scholarship to Cambridge University. Among the positions he held at UCD was director of archives acquisitions. He was also a member of the Royal Irish Academy.
UCD president Professor Andrew Deeks said news of his death was met with "deep sadness" within UCD.
"He was one of our leading historians. He contributed to the university in countless ways over many years," he said.
Prof Deeks said Prof Fanning was "truly gracious with his guidance and advice".
National University of Ireland (NUI) chancellor, Dr Maurice Manning said "his loss will be keenly felt". He said the country "had lost one of its most eminent historians".
Dr Manning described him as a "brilliant teacher; he encouraged and inspired new generations of Irish historians".
He brought his considerable academic talents to bear on the study of many aspects of modern Irish history.
Dr Manning said he wrote the "authoritative biography 'Éamon de Valera: A Will to Power' which followed in a list of very distinguished publications stretching back to his 'The Irish Department of Finance 1922-58' published in 1978".
Professor Fanning was a regular columnist with the 'Sunday Independent' and, last year, contributed to the series of 1916 commemoration supplements, jointly produced by the Irish Independent and UCD.