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PHOTOS – Civic Reception honours Sr Phyllis Donnellan and Celia Holman Lee



Sr Phyllis Donnellon and Celia Holman Lee with members of Limerick City and County Council at City Hall for the Civic Reception. Picture: Beth Pym/ilovelimerick

Sr Phyllis Donnellon was honoured in recognition of her many years of commitment as a Little Company of Mary Sister and Celia Holman Lee for her contribution to the Irish Fashion Industry

At Limerick City Hall on Friday, February 28, Mayor Michael Sheahan held a Civic Reception honouring Limerick’s Sr Phyllis Donnellan and Celia Holman Lee, for their contributions to the city. 

Sr Phyllis Donnellan, in recognition of her many years of commitment as a Little Company of Mary Sister in caring for the sick and their families and her ongoing support in providing person-focused care throughout the Midwest.

Celia Holman Lee for her contribution to the Irish Fashion Industry for over five decades, as the founder of Ireland’s longest-running modelling agency based in her beloved Limerick and to especially mark her major achievement as one of Ireland’s top fashion icons.




Celia, originally from Ballynanty, Limerick, has had a major impact on the Irish fashion and modelling industry over the last five decades. With a highly successful modelling career beginning at the age of fifteen, she went on to establish her own agency, the Holman-Lee Model Agency, at the age of twenty-two and has been running it for over thirty years. 

This is Ireland’s longest-running modelling agency, based in none other than Limerick City. Celia Holman Lee is widely known as one of Ireland’s top fashion icons, with her many fashion shows and television appearances, particularly her regular fashion slot on Virgin Media’s Ireland AM which has been running for several years.

Celia has achieved so much during her life, including a lifetime achievement award at the 2014 Limerick Person of the Year Awards, recognising her lifelong commitment to promoting Limerick City. She also was the winner of the first-ever VIP Style Awards in 2002, voted by the public, and is a constant contender on the country’s Best Dressed List.

On accepting her Civic Reception award, Celia said, “I am more than honoured, and especially to share this wonderful stage with Sister Phyllis, thank you, such an amazing woman. I am delighted with this. I don’t really know what to say but I just want to thank my family, all of you, we don’t see each other enough, it’s fantastic to see you all. And to lifelong friends that are here, I want to thank you all.”

The other honouree of the night was Sr Phyllis Donnellan. Her efforts in the Little Company of Mary in St. John’s Hospital all across Ireland and her current aid in the Milford Care Centre have proven her to be quite a superstar when it comes to helping people.

Sr Phyllis first came to Milford in 1986 and entered the Little Company of Mary. Since then, she worked as a nurse in St. John’s Hospital in Dublin, Galway and Limerick and continued improving the Milford Care Centre.

At the Centre, Sr Phyllis meets with the families of patients, volunteers and fundraising for the organisation. She remains in contact with those people, furthering her impact on the lives of many and her devotion to the citizens of Limerick.

Sr Phyllis Donnellan has remained in Co. Clare where she still helps those in need of nursing, physical support or mental support. She was always there for people and will never stop being a go-to person, which is what owned her the recognition.

Mayor of Limerick City and County Council Cllr Michael Sheahan spoke about the recipients saying, “Sr Phyllis Donnellan and Celia Holman Lee’s chosen career paths hardly ever cross, yet here we have them here today at perfect headquarters in perfect company. They are so because they come here as two women who illustrate those wonderful qualities that define our Limerick city and county.”

For more information on Celia, click here.

For more stories on Mayoral Receptions, click here.

Photos: Beth Pym/ilovelimerick

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.