Michael D commends our winners for their tireless and selfless contributions to British civic life, writes Adam Shaw

Sporting, musical and community heroes from the Irish community were honoured at our 30th anniversary bash.

The Irish World celebrated 30 years of existence on Monday night at a star-studded gala event at the Novotel Hotel in Hammersmith. A number of esteemed guests, including sportspeople, musicians and community heroes, were honoured at the event.

Nathan Carter, the prince of Irish country and western music, headlined the evening’s entertainment, putting in a stunning performance with his band.

Nathan Carter headline act at the Irish World Awards, 2017

It was an emotional night for the Liverpudlian as he returned to the stage which kick-started his career as an up-and-coming artist. The 26-year-old was spotted by Irish World managing director and Longford native, Paddy Cowan, who booked him to play at the 2008 edition of the Awards.

Nathan has gone on to achieve great things in the world of Irish country and much more success lies ahead, but he appreciates the break that gig at the famous Galtymore in Cricklewood gave him.

“I’ll always remember that night and what doors it opened up for me,” he said. He was named ‘Best Irish Country Music Performer’ on the night, while 19-year-old Shane Owens received the ‘Best Irish Country Newcomer’ prize.

Other guests included current Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill, who received an award for his contribution to soccer.

Jacquie O’Donovan presents Tony Christie with his Lifetime Achievement Award at the Irish World Awards 2017

Irish country elder statesmen Foster and Allen and jazz and folk star Mary Coughlan turned in sterling performances, while Tony Christie, who has family from Co. Mayo, received a Lifetime Award for services to popular music.

Songwriter and music producer Don Mescall was honoured for his contribution to the music industry while Paralympic champion Katie-George Dunlevy scooped the ‘Greatest Sporting Achievement of 2016’ for her gold medal-winning performance in Rio.

There were also a number of acknowledgements for local unsung heroes and last year’s star performers in the GAA.

Paddy, who started The Irish World in 1987 from a caravan in North London, was grateful to all who had helped to keep the paper going through their continued support.

RTE’s Eileen Dunne and The Irish World owner Paddy Cowan at the Irish World Award 2017

“Throughout the dramatic political and social progress, us Irish in the country have got on with our lives and building or communities to the extent that, I firmly believe, and county affiliations to one side, there is a very distinct London Irish and UK Irish identity. And it is a rich one which is to be cherished and celebrated,” he said.

There was also a message from the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, which was read out by the Irish Ambassador, and a tribute from Irish President Michael D. Higgins.


“It is a testament of their appreciation of the community here that the staff and editors of ‘The Irish World’ have chosen to use this event, an event that marks such a significant milestone in the life of their newspaper, to honour and acknowledge the contributions of a number of exceptional individuals that have assisted and represented the Irish community in the United Kingdom over many years,” the President said.

“I join with you in offering recognition of their continued and selfless commitment to their neighbours, their localities, and their tireless efforts to building a better country together.

“May I also commend the Award winners, and everyone here, for the contribution they have made with determination, character and actions, to British civic life.”



Fr Brian D’Arcy – Best Religious Affairs Commentator
Celtic Crunch – Best Trad Band
The Murphys – Best Blood Harmonies
Shane Owens – Best Irish Country Music Newcomer
Tom Denning – For promoting sport in his local community
Anne Bradley – For promoting recovery from addiction
Clare McGilly – For services to palliative cancer care
Anne Lucas – For Irish Community Service in south London
Mary Coughlan – Lifetime Achievement for her service to Irish jazz and folk music
Marty Morrissey – For services to broadcasting
Noel McLean – for contributing to community life, sports and business in Warwickshire
Michael Conredcode – for contributing to community life, sports and business in Yorkshire
PJ Wade – for contributing to community life, sports and business in Gloucestershire
Willie Joyce – for contributing to community life, sports and business in Hertfordshire
Liam Coyne – for contributing to community life, sports and business in Lancashire
Peter Mossey – for contributing to community life, sports and business in Scotland
St Kiernan’s – Men’s Gaelic Football Team of the Year
Robert Emmett’s –Hurling Team of the Year
Parnell’s Ladies – Ladies’ Gaelic Football Team of the Year
Tara Camogie – Camogie Team of the Year
Shawn Cuddy – Lifetime Achievement Award for service to Irish Country Music
Mary Byrne and John McNicholl – Best Irish Country Music Duet of 2016
Grant and Forsyth – Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to European Country Music
Don Mescall – Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to International Songwriting and Music Production
Shauna McStravock – Best Young Irish Country Music Presenter
Jacqueline O’Donovan – for her contribution to improving cyclist safety in London
TLICN – Best Irish Business Network
Danny Sullivan – Lifetime Business Achievement Award and Best Irish Employer in the UK
Tony Christie – Lifetime Achievement Award For Service to Popular Music
Martin O’Neill – Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to Soccer
Nathan Carter – Best Irish Country Music Performer
Katie-George Dunlevy – Greatest Sporting Achievement 2016

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