Meteorologist Joanna Donnelly: My late mother’s sudden departure set me adrift

Malin Head in Co Donegal (Niall Carson/PA)
Malin Head in Co Donegal (Niall Carson/PA) Malin Head in Co Donegal (Niall Carson/PA)

Meteorologist Joanna Donnelly said it was the death of her mother that inspired her new book about the headlands of Ireland.

The Met Eireann and RTE forecaster has dedicated From Malin Head To Mizen Head: A Journey Around The Sea Area Forecast “to the memory of my mother, Marie Kelly” following her death in 2021.

The front page reads: “Her sudden departure from this world set me adrift. The journey around the headlands has helped me to start to right the course.”

Donnelly said it was as the first anniversary of her mother’s death approached that she felt a build-up of stress and tension and used driving as a coping mechanism.

“I was panicking because I wasn’t getting any better,” she told the Irish Times.

The meteorologist drove 350km to Loop Head and back to Dublin in one day, around the headlands of Ireland from Slyne Head to Erris Head, from Bloody Foreland to Malin Head and to Fair Head.

“It was one of the most successful days of my life. It was going over the rainbow into another dimension.

“It was like a week’s holiday in a day, and then I came home.”

The book is billed as a journey of Ireland’s sea area forecast, visiting the places that are a “familiar part of the daily broadcast” while explaining the history and science behind it.

Donnelly said the launch of her second book “went great”, sharing a series of pictures including with her Dutch husband and fellow meteorologist Harm Luijkx.

She said: “Was delighted to have family, friends and colleagues. Harm gave such a lovely speech that I was completely thrown and forgot some of the key points I wanted to make in mine.

“But a lovely evening was had by me. I hope by everyone else too. Available now as a perfect gift for a weather geek you know a couple of months down the line.”