The late Mick Dowling, who was Heritage Officer of the Slieve Bloom Association.
A keen supporter and promoter of the Slieve Bloom Mountains has sadly passed away.
Mick Dowling from Camross, Co Laois was chairman of the Laois Tour Guides, Heritage Officer in the Slieve Bloom Association, and a committee member of Laois Heritage Society. He was also on the Laois Leader board and a member of Laois Public Participation Network.
A farmer and a bachelor, over the years Mr Dowling led thousands of walkers young and old through his beloved mountains, sharing his expert knowledge and love of the landscape and history.
His death at the age of 84 took place on Thursday, October 10.
Cllr Seamus McDonald is chairman of the Slieve Bloom Association.
"We are all shocked. Mick was leading walks every Sunday up to a few weeks ago. He presented a slide show in Mountmellick recently for heritage week. He was in great form and we didn't think he would go so quickly.
"He was a great historian, his knowledge went back thousands of years. He was a member of our association all his life and was a former chairman. He will be a great loss to Laois heritage and tourism," Cllr McDonald said.
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has spoken about his sadness also.
"I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my friend Michael Dowling. I've known Mick all my life, he was a champion of rural development, rooted in Camross. He was an expert on local history and heritage. In many respects, he was Laois's own sheanchaí. My sympathies to the family and community in Camross," he said.
Laois Heritage Society has shared their sadness at the news.
"Very sad news coming in this morning of the passing of one of our committee members Mick Dowling. Laois has lost a great advocate for heritage in the Slieve Blooms and surrounding areas. May he RIP." the group said on Facebook.
There are no funeral arrangements as yet.