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Limerick Person of the Year 2013 Donal Ryan PHOTOS









Fashion Queen Celia Holman Lee receives lifetime achievement award

Richard Lynch with Limerick Person of the Year writer Donal Ryan and Celia Holman Lee who achieved a Lifetime Achievement Award. Picture: Noel Salisid.

Richard Lynch with Limerick Person of the Year writer Donal Ryan and Celia Holman Lee who achieved a Lifetime Achievement Award. Picture: Noel Salisid.

Multi award winning novelist Donal Ryan has been announced as the 2013 Limerick Person of the Year. The announcement was made at a gala awards lunch in the Clarion Hotel, Limerick where Fashion Queen, Celia Holman Lee, was also honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr Ryan, (37) Castletroy, Limerick achieved worldwide acclaim for his debut novel ‘The Spinning Heart’ which was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2013. The publication also won the Bord Gáis Energy Book of the Year 2012 and the 2013 Guardian First Book Award.

The Spinning Heart, written in 2010, has been described as an original, poignant and timely debut and one of the first literary novels to deal with the catastrophic social and human effects of Ireland’s financial collapse.

Mr Ryan was nominated among 11 other outstanding Limerick people including global entrepreneurs The Collison Brothers; Lions, Ireland and Munster star Conor Murray; local fundraisers Fergal Deegan, Shellie Murtagh and Martin Kiely, Limerick’s Senior Hurlers and local representatives on the Irish Women’s Rugby team.

The judging panel consisted of Alan English, Limerick Leader Editor; Conn Murray, Limerick City and County Council Manager/CEO; Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Kathleen Leddin and Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council, John Sheahan.

Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Kathleen Leddin, paid tribute to the ‘raw and exceptional talent’ of Donal Ryan saying he has made an outstanding contribution to Limerick, particularly as it celebrates its reign as National City of Culture 2014.

“In his debut novel, Donal Ryan managed to capture the heartbreak and hopelessless of life that many people felt during the post Celtic Tiger years in a compelling read that also had humanity and warmth,” she said. “Donal has had phenomenal success both in Ireland and internationally and I’m delighted that he and his family call Limerick home. I’m looking forward to much more from this gifted writer and at a time when we’re celebrating our cultural riches, he’s a worthy recipient of the Limerick Person of the Year.”

Proud Limerick woman, fashion stylist and TV presenter Celia Holman Lee was also honoured at the ceremony with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Limerick Leader editor Alan English said Ms Holman Lee’s pride in her city and determination to fly the flag for Limerick at every opportunity was the ultimate reason she was selected for an award.

“Celia has achieved excellence in her field, she’s extremely successful and is rightly regarded as one of the country’s leading lights in the fashion world,” he said. “But there are no airs and graces, she’s a true Limerick lady, a wonderful Ambassador for the city and she never forgot where she came from.”

Now in its 13th year, the Limerick Person of the Year Awards was set up to honour the achievements and success of local people.

The nominees for the Limerick Person of the Year Award are the 12 winners of the Limerick Person of the Month Awards featured in the Limerick Leader newspaper.

The 2013 nominees were:

January : Fergal Deegan, volunteer fundraiser

February: John Keyes, soccer coach and community leader

March: Limerick reps on the Irish Women’s Rugby Team

April: Tony Brazil, Mid West Region Ambassador

May: Jessie Griffin, cancer services fundraiser

June: Conor Murray, Lions, Ireland and Munster rugby star

July: Limerick Senior Hurlers, Munster Champions 2013

August: Joan McKernan, former county arts officer

September: Donal Ryan, award winning author

October: Martin Kiely, Walk of Life fundraiser

November: Shellie Murtagh, Inspirational Teacher (RIP)

December: John and Patrick Collison, Global Entrepreneurs

Previous winners of the prestigious Limerick Person of the Year award include JP McManus, philanthropist; Paul O’Connell, Ireland and Munster rugby player; Professor Paul Finucane, UL Graduate Medical School,  local activists Helen O’Donnell and Richard Lynch, transatlantic rower Paul Gleeson and Thomond Park developer Pat Whelan.


Pictures by Noel Salisid for 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Pictures by Chris Luszczki for 2014. All Rights Reserved.





Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.

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