Kieran’s Lord Mayor Column, The Echo, 3 February 2024

Honouring Cork People:

Not so often are the deeds of Corkonians are celebrated. Cork can be a proud but humble space. However, last week coincided with the 2023 Cork Person of the Year Award. Cork honoured some of Cork’s greatest human beings and their inspiring stories, work and caring DNA.The deeds of several Corkonians in their own way excelled in their special topic ranging from sport, to comedy, to music, to charities, community activism, to cycling, to missionary work to literature.

Cork is truly fortunate to have this year’s range of monthly award winners championing their craft for the public good. A sincere thank you for being you, enormous goodwill, for building communities of people, and your leadership over many years. Thank you for the journey you have brought us on. Long may you do what you do, enjoy it, and keep moving forward with. And that we in Cork are very proud of you.

The Cork Person of the Month and Cork Person of the Year awards scheme was established in 1993 to celebrate Cork’s greatest asset in City and County – our people. Each month a person or persons are selected and at year’s end, the Cork Person of the Year is chosen from these monthly winners. The general public is invited to nominate anyone for these awards by emailing Check out the website of Cork Person of the Year for more on the awards scheme, Home – Cork Person of the Year

The website outlines that the organisers of the awards do so on a voluntary basis and are proud and honoured to do so. This award scheme not only celebrates Cork people but it also helps to promote Cork as a good place to live, work and play. Over the last thirty years the organisers have honoured some 400 Persons of the Month and 33 Persons of the Year. Some years more than one person receives the monthly and yearly award.

As Ireland does not have a state-backed National Honours Scheme, like most countries do, we have added some extra national awards. The Honorary Cork person award goes to people not from Cork, but to those who may have contributed to Cork and Ireland in some positive way. It has gone to people who Corkonians admire like Broadcaster John Bowman and Rugby Coach Joe Schmidt and to those who promote Cork around the world like entertainers Jeremy Irons and Michael Flatley.

The Frank & Walters Band being crowned as the Cork Persons of the Year for 2023. This esteemed recognition acknowledges the band’s profound impact on Cork’s cultural tapestry and the arts over an illustrious 30-year plus career. The Gala Awards Lunch was held at the Metropole Hotel before an invited audience of 200 guests who represented all sectors of Cork life. 

The Frank and Walters are a renowned Cork-based band that have achieved international success with their classic Indie hits, charting both inside and outside Ireland. The Band members are lead vocal & bass Paul Linehan, drums Ashley Keating, lead guitar Rory Murphy and keyboards Cian Corbett. The group’s longevity and the enduring popularity of their music, including the Cork Anthem “After All”, which was voted Cork’s favourite song, showcase their unique position in the music world. The band, known as strong ambassadors for Cork, continue to be a major presence with a vast catalogue of albums and singles that are widely acclaimed and sold globally.

Awards Organiser Manus O’Callaghan commended The Frank & Walters Band, stating, “Their win reflects not only their musical prowess but also their unwavering dedication to Cork’s artistic scene. The Frank & Walters have played a pivotal role in making Cork the cultural hub that it is today”.

The awards ceremony also celebrated Cork’s literary luminary, Alice Taylor, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame by last year’s recipient of the Honorary Cork Person of the Year, broadcaster Mike Murphy. Alice Taylor, celebrated for her ground-breaking contribution, To School Through the Fields, acknowledged as the top-selling Irish published book, persistently captures the spirit of rural Ireland in her prolific literary works.

The Honorary Cork Person Award was presented to broadcaster Dáithí Ó Sé, who co-costs the RTÉ Today Show alongside Maura Derrane from the RTÉ Cork studio for many years. 

Honouring Stories of Douglas Community School:

One of the other ideas I keep returning to in Cork is that several of the locations around us possess a strong sense of character, place, and are a source of inspiration. Last week as well coincided with the 50th anniversary of Douglas Community School. Close to 300 people were in attendance including myself. The school’s story from 1974 was retold and its connection its sense of place and character.

As guests arrived, a photographic collage of the five decades of Douglas Community School was playing on the big screen, evoking memories of days gone by – school tour images, team photos, staff versus student soccer matches.

The official ceremony began with the audience led by a blend of speakers and video clips showcasing the development, growth and ethos of the school over the years. Keynote speakers included myself, Tánaiste Micheál Martin, Principal Pat Barry, Chairperson of the Board of Management, Ms Mary Shields, Mr Jim O’Sullivan, representative of the Cork ETB and President of ACS, Mr James Duignan.

A reading about lifelong learning from 5th Year student Michael Morley reminded all those present that “the best thing for being sad… is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails”.

The MC for the afternoon, Deputy Principal, Mr Chris Hickey, introduced a “Video of Time Capsule” which 1st Years had been working on. Several important items featured in the time capsule ranged from a mobile phone to the Douglas Community School’s 50 Year Anniversary publication.

Next up were some oral history chats with retired teachers Mr Jim Maddock, Mr Brian O’Connor and Ms Máire Thomason, past pupil James O’Connor, recipient of Gradam an Phríomhoide and finally Ms Martina Nash, proud parent of five sons who all attended Douglas Community School. James’ closing words on his time in Douglas Community School spoke about equality of opportunity; ”We won’t ever have equality of circumstance but we always have equality of opportunity”.

Check out the website of Douglas Community School for more on their fiftieth anniversary, DCS Celebrates 50 Years🎉 — DCS Cork