Monday 19 November 2018

Blarney set to honour its Person of the Year

Bill Browne

Excitement is building ahead of one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the annual social calendar in Blarney.

On Friday week more than 100 invited guests will attend a gala bash at The Castle Hotel to find out which of the 11 monthly nominees will be unveiled at the 'Blarney Person of the Year' for 2017. 

Awards co-organiser Kate Durrant said that, as in previous years, the standard of monthly nominees was exceptionally high. 

"This is the eighth year these awards have been running, and with so many worthy nominees in 2017, our panel of judges have had a particularly difficult task on their hands," said Kate. 

"These awards recognise the outstanding achievements, leadership skills and altruism of so many people who help make Blarney and the surroundings district such a wonderful place to live and work in."

Kate said the awards carry across many different fields including, but not limited to, sport, business, the arts and community work. 

"Saturday night will be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the generosity, determination and hard work so many people. This can often go unnoticed, which was why awards such as these are so important in celebrating the many unsung heroes that live within out midst," she said. 

"In addition to highlighting the fantastically vibrant spirit that exists within our community, the awards also act an inspiration for others to follow."

The 11 monthly winners in contention  for Blarney Person of the Year 2017

Popular teacher John Kelly, who retired last year after a lifetime of teaching service and dedication to the young people of Blarney. His career spanned 43-years, at Scoil An Chroí Ró Naofa and Scoil Chroí Íosa.

Freda Hayes is head of not one, but two, iconic Irish brands, Blarney Woollen Mills and Meadows & Byrne. As a group they employ more than 500 people between three 16 stores across the country.

Combining his passion for music and film, Noel Holmes wrote, scored, directed and produced a 30-minute horror movie 'Jack Scott's Wood', which was screened at the International Russian Horror Film, festival.

The chairperson of the Blarney Retired Group, Bridget Harrington. The group meets every Wednesday afternoon, with Bridget and her hard-working committee keeping people fit and entertained.

Since taking over as head gardener of Blarney Castle Estates in 2010, Adam Whitbourn has overseen a programme of works that has breathed fresh life into the glorious gardens.

Hurler Mark Coleman last year became the first member of the Blarney GAA Club to start a senior championship match for Cork. He is also the backbone of many Blarney club teams and a role model for young players.

Mary Walsh was responsible for the birth of a new storytelling community called the 'The Gab', a community of storytellers and story lovers based in Blarney that meets once a month for a night of poetry, song and story.

Popular Blarney GAA chairman Martin Lynch has been involved in numerous community based events and groups within the Blarney area for many years.

Duo Eddie Geary and Barry Looney last year retired from the Blarney Swimming Club after an incredible cumulative 78-years of volunteering. Over the years they taught thousands of local young people to swim.

Since moving to Waterloo from his native Clonakilty in 1970, Pat Keohane has been quietly working on behalf of charitable and voluntary organisations. He also helped form the Waterloo Renewal Group.

Despite being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, equestrian Angela Lyons has won two Munster Dressage Championships, is a member of Para Dressage Ireland and has qualified to represent Ireland.