pics courtesy Kay Dennehy
Sean Underwood, Blarney’s Relentless Rower, was named as 2018 Blarney Person of the Year on Saturday January 19th at the Blarney Person of the Year awards held at the Blarney Castle Hotel, receiving a rapturous response from the 150 guests. Earlier, musician Donal Ring saw his 60 year musical career acknowledged when he was inaugurated into the Blarney Hall of Fame. Master of Ceremonies at the event, co sponsored by The Muskerry News and Blarney and District Chamber of Commerce, were John Henchion and Damian Boylan who, along with Kate Durrant, founded the awards nine years ago.
Speaking at the awards, Kate said, “In a world that seems to thrive on negativity and finding flaw, it’s lovely to be in a room full of positivity, a room full of people who, through their actions, remind us of all that is good and right with the world.” She concluded by sadly acknowledging Denis Murphy who recently passed away, and had been ‘part of the integral fabric of these awards.’
John Henchion said, ”We receive many nominations throughout the year and no one is voted a person of the month lightly. The awards are a way for us to show off the talents and hard work of people who just don’t know how to show off. People who work tirelessly under the cloak of invisibility, with humility and for the common good, not for any personal gain.
Damian Boylan continued, “We consider ourselves extremely lucky to live in a village where charitable and altruistic work is the rule and not the exception. The eleven people or groups that are being honoured here tonight richly deserve their monthly award and so much more. The Blarney Person of The Year award endeavours to applaud and recognise our unsung heroes who put their community and their charitable work before themselves.”
The panel of judges had the hard job of deciding from a panel of monthly winners that included Sean Underwood who, along with three friends, rowed for more than 32 days from the Canary Islands to Antigua to raise more than €30,000 for CUH Children’s Wards; church organist Jo Ann O’Connor who has played the organ for 25 years in The Church of The Immaculate Conception, Blarney; consummate musician Donal Ring who has performed professionally for more than six decades; Eoin Murphy owner of Eoin Murphy Fitness for his charitable work; Julia Downey who continues to be the heartbeat of the Whitechurch community as she has been for many years; triple Olympian Emily Coleman who came home with three medals from the Special Olympics; renowned environmental ecologist Tom O’Byrne; scout leader Will Roche; Sean and Chris McCarthy who are currently taking the Karate world by storm; Hannah O’Mahony who has completed five half marathons and many mini marathons for charity; and retired doctor, Shane O’Neill, who gave over 40 years of his career to the people of Blarney.
The awards were attended by over 150 people representing all sectors of Blarney society including Blarney Sergeant Mark Dempsey, Community Garda Sean O’Dwyer, Blarney United FC President Henry Murphy, Blarney GAA Chair Jim McCarthy, Scoil Mhuire gan Smal principal Padraig Sheehan, Blarney Tidy Towns Chair Adrian O’Connell, Blarney and District Chamber of Commerce Chair John Foley, Brand Blarney Chair Deborah Maguire and former Blarney People of the Year Tom MacGrath and Donal Hayes.