Scotland’s Irish community welcomed Glasgow’s Maireád Uí Ghallchóir home a winner when she returned from a glitzy London ceremony clutching the first ever Hibernian Hero Award.
Ten tense nominees enjoyed the Irish Youth Foundation’s inaugural award night on November 1, but it was a shocked Maireád — pictured above centre — who was successful on the night. The IYF raised an impressive £80,000 through the initiative, run jointly with The Irish Post, and said: “We are delighted with the success of the debut Hibernian Hero Award event. Thanks to our corporate sponsors, those who bid in the auction and everyone who came and supported we managed to raise £80,000, which will be awarded in grants next year.” They added: “Huge congratulations to Maireád Uí Ghallchóir from Conradh na Gaeilge Glaschú who won the first ever Hibernian Hero Award!’’
The hard-working Co. Donegal native gasped with shock and delight as the results of the Irish Youth Foundation’s inaugural award competition, run in conjunction with The Irish Post, was revealed at Bentley’s restaurant in London.
Every one of the 10 award nominees who featured in our paper over the last six weeks were in London for the award night held at Irish chef Richard Corrigan’s restaurant. But there could be only one winner and a delighted Maireád Uí Ghallchóir (Margaret Gallagher) took home the £1,000 IYF cheque to boost the great work already being done at Conradh na Gaeilge Glaschú (The Gaelic League Glasgow).
Giving her acceptance speech in Irish, before translating into English, she dedicated the award to the Irish community in Glasgow and thanked everyone who voted for her via The Irish Post website and newspaper to win the competition.
The glitzy award evening took place over three floors at Bentley’s restaurant last week and boasted entertainment by high-octane traditional band Hungry Grass between courses at the prestigious Piccadilly eatery. There restaurant owner and celebrity chef Richard Corrigan was on hand to oversee the food service as well as the prize-giving and joined IYF chairman John Dwyer to celebrate the work of the 10 nominated projects, who are all supported by the IYF charity.
As the dinner finished both took to the stage to reveal the ultimate inaugural Hibernian Hero Award winner. Maireád was presented with a special edition piece of glassware by renowned glass artist Steven Newell, an Irish Post front page declaring her win and the £1,000 IYF donation to her organisation.
A silent auction which took place throughout the evening drew £40,000 in charity funds for the Irish Youth Foundation — which supports many organisations serving young Irish people across Britain and the North of Ireland.