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Tribute to Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh: A beacon of support and inspiration

We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, who passed away last week. Described as the "Voice of Ireland" by former President Mary McAleese he was truly that, not only for his beloved Gaelic Games, but also a Voice for TILDA. His unwavering support and dedication to our research mission have left an indelible mark on the study and the lives it has touched.

Mícheál’s contributions and support began as we were establishing TILDA with radio ads, and continued as we celebrated 10 years in 2016, our GAA partnership roadshow in 2019, to joining us in messages of hope during the recent pandemic. Mícheál leaves a legacy of dedication to supporting TILDA in research to improves the health and lives of our community.

During the initial stages of TILDA, Mícheál, alongside Olivia O'Leary, generously helped the study to get off the ground by voicing ads that aired during the initial weeks of our fieldwork, reaching listeners on various national radio stations. This radio campaign was crucial in raising awareness and encouraging participation in TILDA. The ads were broadcast over several months on local radio stations, further bolstering our outreach. Mícheál's iconic voice and heartfelt advocacy resonated deeply with the Irish public, helping to build a sense of trust and encouragement that was pivotal in our early days.

In 2016, TILDA celebrated 10 years of its work, bringing together over 650 of its original participants at a special event in Trinity College Dublin. Mícheál attended and spoke eloquently at the event, celebrating the participants and encouraging their continued involvement. His address underscored the enduring impact of his support. The celebration was a testament to the milestones achieved, thanks in no small part to his advocacy and the public's positive response to his message.

Watch below to hear Mícheál’s ever-poetic address to TILDA participants celebrating their dedication to TILDA and research.


In February 2019, Mícheál played a key role again for TILDA in the launch of our partnership with the GAA (2019-2020). This initiative aimed to highlight the secrets of successful ageing through a series of regional seminars titled ‘How to Age Well: Evidence from TILDA.’ These seminars brought valuable insights on ageing to communities across Ireland.

Mícheál’s presence at the launch underscored the vital role of social and community connections in positive ageing. He shared, “The GAA provided me and many of my generation with a social network that allowed us to stay connected and be part of something bigger than ourselves. I’m sure the seminars will offer everyone who attends new information that will help them age well.”

Pictured: Mícheál with TILDA PI, Professor Rose Anne Kenny and then-Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Helen McEntee.

The COVID-19 pandemic posed unprecedented challenges, but once more, Mícheál’s dedication to support TILDA and share a message of well-being did not waver. He participated in a joint social inclusion webinar, hosted by the GAA and TILDA, lending his voice and presence to ensure the continuity of our mission. His involvement during this difficult time was a message of hope and reassurance, reinforcing the importance of TILDA's work in understanding and supporting the ageing population in Ireland. Mícheál’s contributions to TILDA have been invaluable. His efforts in promoting the study, encouraging participation, and celebrating our milestones have significantly shaped our journey. We are eternally grateful for his unwavering support and the positive impact he has had on our work and the wider community.

Regius Rose Anne Kenny, Principal Investigator of TILDA, and a friend of Mícheál, reflected on his profound impact: "Mícheál's kind and gentle way, combined with his passionate advocacy, has been a cornerstone of our success. His voice not only reached the ears of our participants but touched their hearts, inspiring them to join us in this vital journey."

In typical fashion, Mícheál shared his love for life and words through poems. One such poem he wrote out for Rose Anne on the back of a menu at the lunch following the launch of the TILDA GAA partnership:

Another old Irish proverb, written on the back of another menu, reflects his thoughtful nature:

TILDA's success is a testament to the power of collaboration and the impact of dedicated individuals like Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh. As we continue to grow and evolve, we carry forward the legacy of his contributions, striving to honour his commitment by advancing our understanding of ageing and improving the lives of older adults in Ireland.

We invite you to join us in celebrating Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh's remarkable contributions to TILDA and the invaluable legacy he leaves behind.


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