Forty years ago history was made on RTE television when Galway-born Evelyn Murphy became the first female to present a weather forecast live on national television, writes Seán Creedon.
The first Met Éireann forecaster to broadcast live on Telefís Éireann was George Callaghan on New Year’s Day, 1962.
Friday June 24, 1983 was also a momentous day and Evelyn Murphy’s appearance, after Charles Mitchel had read the main nine o’clock evening news, was big news in the papers the following morning. It made all the national newspapers and was a page one story in the Irish Times.
Evelyn hails from Taylor’s Hill in Galway. Her father Paddy worked in the Land Commission and her mother Eileen, who is still going strong at 95, worked in CIE before she got married. She has three younger siblings, two sisters and one brother.
She attended the local Dominican national and secondary schools in Taylor’s Hill. Then four years at University College Galway where she studied Physics and Maths and later Evelyn did a two-year Masters in Oceanography at UCG.
After college Evelyn headed to the US and the University of Miami where she planned to do a PhD.
‘‘I did one year in Miami, but most of the people I met over there had already done seven years and still hadn’t completed their PhD, so I decided to come home and look for a job,’’ said Evelyn.
She got a job as a Weather Forecaster and trained in Galway, Shannon and Dublin. Another Galway girl, Teresa Cunningham, came into Met Éireann a few days after Evelyn, but she never worked on television.
‘‘I joined in 1979 and I moved to Dublin permanently in 1981 shortly after Met Éireann had moved from O’Connell Street to a new building in Glasnevin.
“There were different teams of meteorologists in Met Éireann. Jerry Scully, Aidan Nulty and myself all started on television around the same time. We joined the television team of Paddy McHugh, John Doyle, Michael Gilligan and Michael Cleary, replacing people who were heading for retirement.
‘‘Paddy was the manager and he drove me over to RTÉ in Donnybrook in his car to prepare for my first television broadcast. We went over to RTÉ on the Thursday just to have a look around. Paddy introduced me to Charles Mitchel and said to Charles, now do you have any advice for Evelyn who is starting tomorrow night?
‘‘Charles said ‘make sure your clothes are comfortable and that you are happy in them because then you can concentrate on your weather forecast.’ It was great advice. In the early days we used to have to bring over our weather forecast charts to Donnybrook under our arm.’’
Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own