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Published by Harmonia Norah, 2017-06-28 07:30:21




A seminal year for Irish women, 2013 saw boundaries broken and new heights reached. From
rising stars to sure-fire heroes, these sixteen exceptional women have all blazed a trail. Read on to

find out more about those women who made this year exceptional.


To encapsulate what makes a great winner of the title
of Irish Tatler Woman of the Year in just a few words is
not an easy task. But you can certainly start with these
two things: She makes you proud to be Irish and she
gives you hope as a woman. Which is exactly what our
round table of judges felt when discussing the recent
appointment of Ombudsman to the EU, Emily O’Reilly.

When Emily O’Reilly departments who repeatedly refused to
became the first female improve information on people’s rights to
Ombudsman for complain to the Ombudsman during the
Ireland, it was regarded recession. As she told The Irish Times at
as a landmark moment. the end of her two terms this September:
One that proved the “The office had a very good reputation
shattering of ceilings of and profile when I came in. I think now,
any material is possible and that, despite 10 years later, it perhaps has a higher
having written some unfavourable articles profile. And the reputation, hopefully, is
in her job as a political journalist about still intact. Given the drubbing that so
certain members of the government at the many public bodies have had over the last
time, the ‘Old Boys’ Club’ was finally a few years, I think that is something to be
thing of the past. Amid objections from proud of.” And yet, we’re still to get to
some parts of the Dáil and some Irish the most remarkable moment to date in
newsrooms, O’Reilly was to take on the O’Reilly’s career. This autumn, the former
role as a watchdog, handling complaints award-winning political journalist became,
made against public bodies. It was – and winning in the third round of voting, the
is – a position that requires complete new Ombudsman for the EU, bringing
impartiality and great courage and, as her strength as an independent watchdog
she herself once said, “unless you have to the European Commission. Yet again,
the trust of both the administration she will be the first ever woman to take
and the people, you’re screwed”. Still, on this role – and she beat five other
O’Reilly took on the unenviable role of candidates, including three MEPs, to the
representing both the people and the State post. Her appointment was celebrated in
in as equal and fair a way as possible the Dáil when O’Reilly was congratulated
and, over the following 10 years, was to by Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton,
see the country dip into recession and Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin and
complaints to her office rise by more Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams as well as
than 30 per cent, reaching a decade high. Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who said that
Undeterred, O’Reilly steered the office the win was “an indication of her high
through these times with dignity while calibre as a candidate and the quality of
raising the public profile of the office the presentations she made”. A mother
of the Ombudsman to unprecedented of five, Emily O’Reilly’s extraordinary
levels, all the while gaining that very trust achievement and success as Ireland’s
in measures beyond expectation. This ombudsman, coupled with her recent
she achieved by – or perhaps in spite of appointment as Ombudsman to the EU
– being outspoken about “the vulgar fills us with pride, reverence and, indeed,
fest that is much of modern Ireland” hope for the future. For these reasons, we
during the boom years in the early days, are thrilled to name her the 2013 Irish
to naming and shaming the government Tatler Woman of the Year.

Through finding her own voice “sensitising” of the judiciary to
and having the courage to speak SPECIAL RECOGNITION victims. Doyle’s message is one
out, Fiona Doyle has become of positive empowerment carved
an inspirational figurehead to self-confessed child rapist escape jail. from a traumatic childhood. She
hundreds of others who have Doyle admitted that she initially “fell to has subsequently written a book,
suffered at the hands of abusers bits”, her suffering compounded by the Too Many Tears, documenting
and the courts. Raped and abused length of time it had taken and effort she her struggle, in which she is
by her father for over a decade with such had gone to in order to bring the abuse purposefully candid about the severity
regularity she described it as “as frequent to light. The public reaction didn’t go of the attacks, avoiding any gloss that
as having dinner”, it was said by Justice unanswered and, two days later, Justice would diminish the violence inflicted
Paul Carney to be one of the most serious Carney reversed his decision to release upon her. She has continued to fight
cases of abuse by a father that he had ever her father Patrick O’Brien on bail, the system, taking the case to the High
seen. Revulsion was felt nationwide then, sending him instead to jail for three years. Court to get the ruling overturned and
when Doyle’s father, who pleaded guilty Accepting that releasing the 72-year-old campaigning for a minimum sentence to
to 16 counts of rape and sexual abuse was inappropriate and insensitive, he be set for rape cases. A deserving winner
against his daughter, walked free from expressed his “profound regret’’ to Fiona of this very special award, Fiona Doyle
court in Janaury, when the last nine years Doyle. A week later, Doyle met with is a true representation of what it means
of his 12-year sentence were suspended Taoiseach Enda Kenny, outlining her to be a survivor, not a victim. “Having
due to ill health, age and remorse. A experience of the legal system, the impact found my voice I want to continue to
national outcry ensued. Disillusionment in of her father’s sentence, and asking for speak out,” she recently said. “Speaking
the Irish judicial system sent shockwaves minimum sentences, younger judges, and out is power. Hearing my story will make
through both the media and the public, it easier for the next person.” For her
with Fiona’s case being championed courage, endurance and inspiration, Fiona
by other abuse victims who felt the Doyle is our Woman of the Year Special
injustice of a ruling that could let a Recognition.

KLenonueidsye 3

Achieving longevity in the fashion industry is no mean feat,
but prospering over three decades is an accomplishment we
thought could not go unmarked. Celebrating 30 years this
year, Irish fashion designer Louise Kennedy continues to
provide her loyal female following with the sophisticated,
yet understated, collections for which she is loved. One of
Ireland’s most successful designers, she never fails to delight
critics by putting modern twists on her trademark style
while still continuing to expand and innovate. In 1990,
Kennedy was commissioned to design the inauguration
outfit for the country’s first female Irish president, Mary
Robinson, and continued to design her clothing throughout
her term in office. In 1997, she designed the uniforms for
Aer Lingus crew, which are still worn today. In 1999, she
launched a contemporary crystal collection that become
the fastest growing designed crystal in the international
marketplace. She has created stamps for An Post and
judicial robes for the Supreme Court, has dressed members
of the British, European and Middle Eastern royal families,
and her star-studded client list includes names such as
Cherie Blair, Beyoncé, Kylie Minogue and the late Elizabeth
Taylor, to name but a few. This year has seen the launch
of her first bag, the Kennedy, a French calf-leather tote
developed in collaboration with British luxury brand,
Tanner Krolle, as well as her own signature fragrance. Her
autumn winter 2013 collection was lauded for its exquisite
lace detailing. Describing her enduring success, she has said:
“I don’t feel any different from when I started and I put that
down to the passion and energy I have for my work.” She
has adapted her business to developments in the industry,
embracing advancing technology while maintaining a
deep understanding of what her customers want, with an
emphasis on service and face-to-face interaction. Always
immaculate, her flagship store on Dublin’s Merrion Square
encapsulates Kennedy’s innate elegance and style, while her
store in London’s Belgravia continues to go from strength
to strength. And despite her enduring successes and high-
profile commissions, Kennedy still finds the time to mentor
and encourage new talent, and remains an inspiration, both
for budding designers and businesswomen alike.

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IRISH TATLER When Kitty Holland received a call from
WOMAN OF THE YEAR: a contact in the West of Ireland telling
MEDIA her about an Indian woman who had
Anne Harris lost her life following a miscarriage, she
Claire Grady knew it was big. Even then, little could
Dr Carol Coulter have prepared Holland for just how far-
Francesca Comyn reaching the Savita Halappanavar story
Kitty Holland would become. She broke the story on
Mary Fitzgerald the front page of The Irish Times on
Mary Wilson November 14, 2012, quickly turning a
Nicola Tallant global spotlight on Ireland’s abortion
Rachael English laws – or lack thereof. Halappanavar,
Ursula Halligan 31, had been admitted to hospital while
miscarrying on October 21. Despite being
KHitotlyland in severe pain, the miscarriage continued
WOMEN ofthe YEAR for four days. As there was a foetal
heartbeat present, the Halappanavars’
MEDIA AWARD request for a termination was refused.
Only when no heartbeat could be
detected were the contents of the womb
removed. Halappanavar died seven days
later, having contracted septicaemia
and E. coli. Including an interview with
Halappanavar’s husband, Praveen,
Holland’s groundbreaking article detailed
these events, which soon drew worldwide
attention. Calls from CNN, the BBC,
World Service, Channel 4 News and Sky
News followed with the story attracting
a record number of visitors to The Irish
Times website, eventually becoming the
most read story in the paper’s online
history. In the days following, Holland
wrote a piece for the Observer, outlining
the enormity of the response. “The
reaction to Savita’s death was instant,
phenomenal and universal,” she wrote.
“Here in Ireland the feelings were of
anger, deep sadness and shame. Outside
Ireland, the reaction seems to be of horror,
concern and bewilderment.” Nationwide
protests – which spilled over into India,
Britain and many other countries – calling
for a review of the abortion laws, were
held with an estimated 10,000 to 12,000
protesters marching in Dublin alone.
Ultimately, Holland’s article became a
driving force behind the Government
being forced to clarify Ireland’s position
on abortion. The Protection of Life
During Pregnancy Act was signed into law
on July 30, 2013 by President Michael D
Higgins and was described by Tánaiste
Eamon Gilmore as “a key milestone in
Irish law”. Holland’s front-page story
marked the beginning of the events that
led to that moment. Originally a staff
reporter with The Irish Times, Holland
has always held an interest in human
rights and social justice. A graduate of
Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City
University, she has reported on areas as
diverse as homelessness, drug addiction,
poverty and women’s rights. But this year,
Holland’s tenacity and dedication to the
truth highlighted the importance of media
in our democracy, and for this reason she
is our Media Woman of the Year.

IRISH TATLER When speaking to Irish Tatler back in

WOMAN OF THE YEAR: August, Charlie Murphy made a shocking
admission. “I could barely make a speech

Aoibhinn McGinnity at my sister’s wedding. I remember standing
Charlie Murphy there on the altar, digging my elbows into

Deirdre O’Kane my stomach so my hands wouldn’t shake!”

Dearbhla Walsh It’s been just a few short months since then

Eva Birthistle   and, in that time, Murphy’s career has gone

Eve Hewson from strength to strength, capping off what

Michelle Dockery has been a fantastic 2013 for this young

Michelle Fairley and immensely talented actress, tirelessly

Susan Loughnane building a reputable name for herself both

Suzie Lavelle here and in the UK. It’s almost impossible

to believe that she could suffer from stage
fright, especially when, as Siobhán in RTÉ’s
Love/Hate, she acted in a vicious rape scene,
a performance that earned her an IFTA
for Best Actress at this year’s ceremony.
This award should have a resonant ring
in the ears of the Wexford native, as she
can now add a hotly-tipped Oscar feature
to her list of credentials, following her
performance as Kathleen in the much-talked-
about Philomena (starring Steve Coogan
and Judi Dench), which is already making
ripples in the Academy shortlist pool, with
rumours that it may even be nominated for
Best Picture. Murphy graduated from the
Gaiety School of Acting in 2008, initially
making her presence felt by treading the
boards in prolific theatre productions
staged both locally and worldwide, and has
been flirting on the fringes of stardom ever
since, dividing her time between London
and Ireland. Murphy made 2013 her own
by taking pivotal TV roles in which she
could demonstrate her talent while cutting
her dramatic teeth on projects that would,
in turn, make her a household name.
The critically acclaimed and ‘refreshingly
brilliant’ (The Guardian) BBC series The
Village, screened in the spring of this
year, garnered a terrific performance from
Murphy as minister’s daughter, Martha
Lane, requiring her to learn and perfect
a notoriously difficult Yorkshire dialect.
The show – written by BAFTA-winning
writer Peter Moffat – effectively singled
ChMaurrlpihey Murphy out as an emerging talent with an
effervescent and dynamic screen presence.
And there is no sign of her letting up.
Feature drama 71 is currently in post-
production and the Game of Thrones-style
epic Northmen: A Viking Saga is currently
being filmed, with Murphy getting top
billing as Inghean. Her return to screens
this year in Love/Hate has further cemented
Murphy as one of the most exciting and
versatile actresses working today. Yet when
asked this past summer if she could be the
next ‘big thing’, the endearingly humble
Murphy was giving nothing away. “I’m
WOMEN ofthe YEAR always really apprehensive about saying it or
about painting anything or jinxing anything
or putting a label on it. But thus far, it’s been
hell of a ride.” If 2013 sets the standard for
artistic excellence, we sincerely hope Charlie
FILM AND DRAMA Murphy lets us sit in the passenger seat for

what promises to be a thrilling journey.


Aisling Bea
Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh
Deirdre O’Kane
Dr Eva Orsmond
Hilary Rose
Laura Whitmore
Lucy Kennedy
Maia Dunphy
Sharon Horgan
Tracy Piggott

AislingBeaWOMEN ofthe YEAR

Kildare native and Trinity alumni Aisling profile screen roles, including a spot acting dazzling four- and five-star reviews from
Bea is a brave woman. Funny, sporadic, alongside female funny royalty Jennifer publications such as the Guardian, who
immensely talented with a number of Saunders in BBC3’s Dead Boss, penned said, “you won’t see many more assured
creative strings recently added to her by none other than Irish comedienne newcomer sets than this hugely endearing
bow, Aisling Bea is also fearless. Why? Sharon Horgan. Add that into the mix and accomplished introduction to the
She took a pop at Niall Horan from One along with a lauded performance on 29-year-old Irishwoman abroad”, and is
Direction during one of her acclaimed Russell Howard’s Good News Extra this scheduled for an appearance on the panel
stand-up performances, and incurred the year, and you’ve got the makings of an show 8 out of 10 Cats with Jimmy Carr
online wrath of hundreds of incensed emerging comedic Irish talent making this year. In among all of this comedic
teenage girls…a gutsy feat in our eyes. serious waves across the pond. She admits chicanery, Bea still finds the time to
But then, Bea’s self-deprecating and witty that she got into stand-up as more of a write, publishing her short stories, Miss
comedic style has already won her the “dare” and that, as she approached her Bea’s Wee Tales, online, as well as doing
coveted Gilded Balloon ‘So You Think thirties, was looking for a new challenge regular radio work and appearances.
You Are Funny’ award (previously won after spending most of her time working Oh did we mention there was a script in
by the likes of Peter Kay and Lee Mack) the acting circuit. But with comparisons production? There is no doubt that Aisling
at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, already being made to Sarah Silverman, Bea is an across-the-board entertainment
even more notable given she is only the it’s abundantly clear that what started powerhouse, and with no sign of her
second female to have done so in the last out as a dare is now turning Bea into a workload lightening any time soon,
25 years. Renowned for her intensely bona fide star. In August 2013 she was the we can anticipate that the best is yet to
whirlwind stand-up performances, she only woman nominated for the Foster’s come. Enough to knock a few more One
has also cut her teeth on various high- Best Newcomer Award for her debut Directioners off their collective perches,
stand-up show C’est La Bea, receiving that’s for sure.

STiaolbboht an

When trying to summarise Director, then appointed Group Finance
all that Siobhan Talbot has Director in 2009. This impressive series of
achieved, it is hard to pinpoint events means Talbot has been integral in
one singular event that Glanbia’s growth strategy for the past two
could have determined such decades. As chairperson of the Investment
meteoric success. Above all, Committee, she has overseen a dramatic rise
the Kilkenny native refuses in finances, with company revenues in 2012
to be referred to as the ‘token amounting to e2.2bn (expected to increase
female’. Earlier in the year, it to e2.4bn in 2014), and has played a part
was announced that Talbot would in Glanbia’s transformation from minor to
be taking over from John Moloney as major player in the international nutritional
Chief Executive designate of food group foods market. Confidence in the company’s
Glanbia, becoming the first woman in decision to appoint Talbot as leader was
Ireland to lead a PLC with a turnover evident in the announcement they issued in
in excess of e2 billion, and one of only May, praising her “operational, financial and
two women to become figurative in the strategy experience”. Citing her predecessor
country’s stock exchange. Not to mention John Moloney as an important “mentor”,
the pressure of taking the reins of a mother of two Talbot is an inspiration
company that holds its stock within the beyond the academic and business world,
very male-dominated field of agriculture battling and surviving breast cancer after
and farming. Born into a farming family, a 2010 diagnosis. Moloney said he was
her father died when she was 15, leaving “delighted” with the decision to make
her mother Maura – a national school Talbot his successor and made mention
teacher Talbot has often referred to as of her “drive, energy, deep knowledge
a key influence in her life – to raise five and commitment” which will “move the
children. Talbot initially believed teaching group to the next phase of growth and
to be her calling, but it was only when development”. Despite being seen as a “flag-
she completed a Bachelor of Commerce bearer” for Irish businesswomen, Talbot
in UCD that she realised her future lay has no time for gender quotas. “All of us
in finance. Talbot began as a chartered have to overcome challenges to progress.
accountant for Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Whether male or female, each of us has
holding a position which took the opportunity to succeed.” She has also
IRISH TATLER acknowledged that, as a woman, it can be
WOMAN OF THE YEAR: her as far as Australia, but hard to achieve a work/life balance and
returned to Kilkenny in the recognises the merit of having a support
BUSINESS early 1990s to build a home network and family infrastructure. Talbot’s
Ann O’Leary with her husband. She joined commitment to achieving excellence, for
Bríd Horan Glanbia in 1997 after five becoming the first woman here to lead a PLC
Cathriona Hallahan years at Waterford Foods. and so challenging the gender archetypes
Her determination and talent so prevalent in her chosen field, makes her
Imelda Hurley were quickly recognised and the deserving winner of this Irish Tatler
Lorraine Twohill she became a member of the Business award, and ultimately recognises
Maeve Carton group’s operating executive the achievements of this exceptional and
Regina Moran in 2000. Five years later, she accomplished woman.
was made Deputy Finance
Sharon Buckley
Siobhan Talbot
Sonya Flynn



Annalise Murphy
Irish women’s rugby team
Juliet Murphy
Kelly Proper
Nikki Symmons
Sinéad Keane
Therese Maher


Too often the role of women in winning performance again highlights Day. Another barrier was broken in the
international team sport gets overshadowed the ever increasing success of women in campaign for the recognition of Irish
by their male counterparts. We live in a sport in this country, and without doubt sportswomen when RTÉ announced it
world where major sports personalities of a will contribute to further participation by would be broadcasting the match – the
masculine variation stare down at us from women in sport and will help gain the due first time in history that a state broadcaster
marketing campaign billboards and grace recognition that women’s sports deserves.” had shown a live women’s rugby game.
punditry couches, many of whom offering The champions received a jubilant heroes’ For collective effort and discipline in their
nothing more than a sarcastic quip if welcome when they touched down in field and for blazing a trail for women
questioned about female achievement and Dublin Airport after the tournament, everywhere, the Irish Women’s Rugby team
equality in sport. Leave it to the ladies then, the win made even more special by the win a deserved accolade as our Women of
to bring home the goods. Earlier in the year fact the fixture took place on St Patrick’s the Year Sport.
the Irish women’s rugby team, coached by
Philip Doyle, beat Italy in Milan to win the
2013 Six Nations Grand Slam, showing
tremendous strength and determination in
fending off the Italians, who were gunning
for their third victory of the Championship.
Captain Fiona Coughlan lifted the trophy
through a blanket of heavy rain that had
fallen throughout the match, worsening
the conditions of the pitch but failing
to dampen the gritty Irish spirit as the
vocal support from an enthusiastic crowd
saw home two penalties from full-back
Niamh Briggs, securing the title at 6-3.
The girls in green entered the game with
impressive odds stacked in their favour,
boasting a defensive record that had seen
them concede only two tries and 23 points
in their last four games. This regimented
game strategy cemented their dynamic and
the team played with flair and confidence,
leaving fans on the edge of their seats
during a nail-biting second half when it
looked as if the tenacious Italian side may
pip them at the post. Coughlan’s team,
however, held strong, and the victory was
met with rapturous applause from the fans,
despite the grizzly weather conditions.
President Michael D Higgins was one of
the first to congratulate the team, issuing
a statement that read: “This Grand Slam



IRISH TATLER Dublin-based Sonya Lennon joins an impressive list of
WOMAN OF THE YEAR: previous recipients of the Irish Tatler Woman of the
Year Fashion Award, and with good reason. The stylist,
FASHION broadcaster, author and fashion designer is loved by
Emma Manley industry insiders and fashion followers alike for her
Helen Steele straight-talking approach to all things sartorial. A staple
Joanne Hynes on Irish television for more than seven seasons on RTÉ’s
Louise Kennedy Off The Rails, Lennon’s wealth of experience, spanning
Lucy Nagle 23 years in the industry, has deservedly earned her a
Martha Lynn dedicated following. Following the success of the series,
Orla Kiely Lennon, together with her co-presenter and long term
Roisin Linnane collaborator, Brandan Courtney, penned two best-selling
Simone Rocha titles – Love Your Look and Your Best You. In June 2010
Sonya Lennon she created The Dais Project, a trilogy of fashion films
to showcase the best of Irish fashion – established and
emerging – on the international scene. Dais I and Dais
II were selected for La Jolla Fashion Film Festival in LA,
sitting alongside works by Bruce Weber, Karl Lagerfeld
and Rankin. The same year saw the creation of Dress
For Success Dublin, a non-profit organisation established
in Ireland by Lennon to promote the economic
independence of disadvantaged women. Providing
a network of support, professional attire and career
coaching, the initiative has grown and grown, expanding
its offices in both Dublin and Cork. 2013 saw Lennon
again collaborate with Courtney for their eponymous
clothing label Lennon Courtney – a collection of core
essentials that are at once practical and directional.
Lennon describes the range as “clothes for wearing”
and says: “We know that women want a wardrobe of
‘friends’, not challenges, to help them look and feel their

best. We deliver solutions for work, rest and play with
understated, intelligent design.” An integral part of the
Irish fashion scene, she sits on the board of the Irish

Crafts Council, representing the fashion industry.
As well as offering a wealth of industry knowledge
Lennon also sits on the Innovation Committee.

The past year has been a seminal one for her, with
the launch of the Lennon Courtney Studio Dublin
– the brand’s first standalone store – and the birth
of Frockadvisor, a social commerce platform for

independent retailers which received a massive
boost with sponsorship from Wayra, a global
accelerator programme for digital startups,
created by Telefonica.

AMnncHa Mugahy Born in Ballylynan, Co Laois, Anna May
WOMEN ofthe YEAR McHugh left home at 17, having completed
HALL OF FAME a secretarial course. Her illustrious career
began as secretary to JJ Bergin of the National
Ploughing Association (NPA) in 1955. In 1973,
she was named the Managing Director of the
NPA, an appointment that caused a stir in a
predominantly male field, and additionally
maintained her position as secretary of the
Association. But it was her gender that turned
out to be an asset, she has said, not a hindrance
in getting the position: “There were 28 or 29
men going for the job and one man didn’t
want to see the other man getting it, so I was
the choice.” Her zeal for the development of
the National Ploughing Association and the
National Ploughing Championships is regarded
as being responsible for their expansion, and
the phenomenal success of the Championships
is widely credited to her unique vision. Now
in its 81st year, the National Ploughing
Championships is a unique success story,
and remains Ireland’s primary agricultural
exhibition, acting as a massive boost to local
and national farming, food, tourism and agri-
sectors. Under McHugh’s guidance it has
grown to be the biggest national ploughing
championship in the world, attracting more
than 320 competitors in the national finals and
delegates from as far afield as New Zealand.
In 1997 she was elected as the first female
delegate to the board of the World Ploughing
Organisation, boosting Irish relations abroad,
and was instrumental in Ireland’s hosting of the
World Ploughing Championships in 1996, at
which President Mary McAleese credited the
“amazing Anna May McHugh” for bringing
Ireland to the world stage. In 2006, she was
honoured with a Doctor of Philosophy Honoris
Causa by the Dublin Institute of Technology,
where she was spoken of as “the driving
force behind the NPC’s unparalleled success
story”. Her acute leadership skills have led the
business to a thriving position, and in 2011
figures released proved McHugh’s business
acumen, with an accumulated profit of almost
e9.5 million in 2010. In 2011, McHugh was
honoured for her outstanding contribution to
rural life at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of
the Year Awards, and, two years later, received a
Lifetime Achievement Award at the FBD Women
and Agriculture Awards 2013. Additionally,
in 2013, she was awarded the 2013 Veuve
Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Award,
unanimously selected by the judges for her
“entrepreneurial spirit and innovation, as well
as leadership, vision, courage and charisma,
displayed over a 60-year career”. In 2013 the
National Ploughing Championships broke
numerous records, drawing its largest crowd
ever to the Stradbally event on a single day –
with more than 90,000 attendees and a first-day
record of 81,000 attendees. For her continued
dedication to Ireland’s indigenous industries, her
support of the agricultural sector and breaking
countless barriers in the process, Anna May
McHugh is the newest member of the Irish
Tatler Women of the Year Hall of Fame.

Andrea Begley When Celine Byrne first saw the opera, during a year spent
Celine Byrne working as an au pair in Milan, she never envisaged that she
Heathers would later carve a career for herself on the very stage that ignited
Lisa Hannigan her initial passion. Yet today, the Kildare native is recognised as
Roisin Black one of Ireland’s premiere sopranos and 2013 has been an exciting
Sharon Shannon year for this radiant prima donna, with a slew of high-profile
Sinéad O’Connor performances in a variety of musical disciplines that in turn earn
SOAK her a deserved place on Irish Tatler’s honour call. On reflection,
Una Healy things weren’t always so clear. On leaving school, Byrne was
Veronica Dunne unsure about what she wished to do in college but was confident
about how strongly she knew that she loved music. It was this
epiphany that persuaded her to begin her degree at the DIT
Conservatory of Music. Her obvious talent and rich soprano was
recognised early on by her tutors and she was then encouraged
to enrol in a Master’s degree in music at the Royal Irish Academy
of Music, an ambitious move considering she was pregnant and
caught in the whirlwind of organising her own wedding at that
time. Overcoming these odds, however, Byrne then met Veronica
Dunne, one of Ireland’s most renowned singing teachers, who was
immediately struck by Byrne’s potential and gritty determination.
Dunne worked continuously with her student, giving her the
confidence to explore her talent and literally give voice to the
unbridled potential bubbling beneath the surface. Ten years after
her first singing lesson at the age of 19, Byrne’s powerful voice
won her one of opera’s most prestigious awards, first prize in
the 2007 Maria Callas Grand Prix in Athens. Other awards and
accolades soon followed, including the William Young Prize at the
Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition in 2007 and
the Margaret Burke-Sheridan Gold Medal for her contribution
to the Arts in 2009. It is worth mentioning, however, that Byrne
has achieved many personal goals over time to coincide with
the professional achievements and accolades bestowed upon
her. Performing for President Obama and Pope Benedict XVI
raised her artistic status to new heights, and in a year that will
culminate in a return to the prestigious Royal Opera House in
Covent Garden in the opera Parsifal (under Antonio Pappano)
this December, this queen of arias is only beginning to reap
the benefits of her reign, being lauded in the press as having
‘the potential to be one of Ireland’s greatest-ever sopranos’.
Hardworking and incredibly accomplished, with a voice that
matches her personality in both purity and strength, Byrne has
been a worthy and honoured contributor to the Irish arts and is a
deserving winner of this musical accolade.


Amanda Pratt
Caroline Keeling
Dr Anne Cusack
Grainne Barron
Jane Kelly
Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh
Joanna Gardiner
Mary McKenna
Moya Doherty
Sinead Heffernan

fashion labels Origins and Anthology, sold
ENTREPRENEUR in stores and as wholesale internationally.
In 2012, Pratt became aware of just what
Creative director of Avoca, Amanda Pratt home from London “unemployable”, an international success Avoca had become
has brought the family-owned company and grateful of a job at the mill, working when the shop on Suffolk Street was listed
a long way since its humble beginnings with the yarn. Together with her brother as one of British Vogue UK’S 100 Best
as a small hand-weaving business. After Simon, now food director of the company, Shops outside London. As a long-time
graduating from Trinity where she Pratt made a decision to put all of her reader of Vogue, Amanda was “chuffed”’
studied History of Art and Architecture, efforts into the Avoca brand, in order with the recognition. Twenty-three years
Pratt set her sights on London, where to make their careers more enjoyable on and many 10-hour work days later,
she completed a Postgraduate Degree and “to extend the scope of what Avoca Pratt never tires of her work with Avoca.
in Clothing Technology at the London offered”. The enthusiasm of the siblings, Her love for design and creativity is
College of Fashion. With such a along with the combined efforts of the evident from her beautiful collections, each
creative background, it is no wonder rest of the Pratt family, has made Avoca of which shows remarkable originality
that Pratt has played a key role in the the success that it is today; the brand each season while remaining true to the
transformation of the woollen mill her currently employs 600 people in 10 stores Avoca aesthetic. “Creating a collection is
father Donal bought in the 1970s into nationwide. In addition, the 10 Avoca very much a treasure-hunting expedition,”
one of Ireland’s most popular companies. Cafes are renowned for their homemade she has said. “I’m at my happiest when
However, when she joined Avoca in food and their popularity has given rise I find a fabric or button or detail that I
1990, Pratt claims she had no plan or to the bestselling Avoca Café cookbooks. fall in love with and can’t explain why.”
ambition in mind. In an interview with Staying true to her original passion, Pratt Despite her success and busy schedule,
Totally Dublin magazine last year, she has kept her focus on the creative side of Pratt has always found time to help other
explained that she had always been the business. She is responsible for the women with big ideas. She has been a
passionate about fashion but had been charming Avoca aesthetic that oozes from lead entrepreneur on the first two cycles
advised that it “was not a good career the interior of every store and the design of Going for Growth, an initiative that
move”. She described how she returned of home accessories, as well as for its two supports female entrepreneurs who wish
to expand their business. Pratt maintains
her connection with Going for Growth
through her membership of the advisory

A native of Bray, Co Wicklow, to say that Emma Alex Barclay
Hannigan possesses bravery by the bucketload Arlene Hunt
would be an understatement. A self-confessed Caroline Grace Cassidy
“cancer vixen”, Hannigan’s tremendous story Catherine Dunne
has seen her battle the disease a mammoth eight Christine Dwyer Hickey
times, publishing seven bestselling titles in the Emma Hannigan
process. Hannigan’s story began in August 2005, Kate Kerrigan (AKA Morag Prunty)
the year she discovered she possessed the cancer- Louise Phillips
carrying gene, BRCA1. In a courageous move, Mary O’Rourke
Hannigan underwent a double mastectomy and Niamh Boyce
ovariectomy the following year. However, in
2007 the unthinkable happened, and Hannigan
was diagnosed with the disease she had sought so
hard to prevent. It took the form of breast cancer
and an auto-immune disease, dermatomyositis.
Not one to give up without a fight, she underwent
treatment, beating the cancer. However, she had
relapses in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, and
still receives treatment to this day. It was when
she was receiving radiation for her third bout of
cancer that Hannigan used her real-life experience
to write her searingly honest but ultimately
uplifting memoir, Talk to the Head Scarf – an
unflinching account of a cancer patient that
answers the questions most people are afraid to
ask. She says: “Boredom from being made to sit
in bed led to a wonderful thing. I began to write.
I knew this was the missing part of the jigsaw
to make my life complete.” Since 2009 she has
published six bestselling fiction novels including
Designer Genes, Miss Conceived, and Keeping
Mum. This past year has been a poignant year
for Hannigan. In addition to releasing a version
of Driving Home for Christmas in paperback this
month and writing a new novel set for release
in April 2014, she has just been diagnosed with
cancer for the ninth time. Yet on the topic of her
battle with the illness she remains ever-positive
and effervescent: “I can’t change whether or not
I get cancer again,” she has said, “but I promise
you one thing – I can damn well chose how I
deal with it. So wig on, chin up and remember,
nothing can banish a smile from your face unless
you allow it.” An inspiring thought to live by
from a truly inspiring individual.

Diagnosed with breast cancer this on to such a painful time in her
year, singer, businesswoman and life, in doing this Majella will
wife of Donegal singer Daniel help other people out there now
O’Donnell, Majella O’Donnell with breast cancer know that they
caused a sensation when she shaved SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD are not alone.” Just three days
her head live on RTÉ’s The Late after the show aired, O’Donnell
Late Show in September, ahead of had raised more than €550,000
undergoing chemotherapy, to raise funds O’Donnell told presenter Ryan Tubridy, for the Irish Cancer Society. Speaking
being careful to point out that her decision that day, again to Tubridy on RTÉ Radio,
for the Irish Cancer Society. Outspoken to shave her head was about the charity,
in the past about her struggles with O’Donnell broke down, saying it exceeded
depression, O’Donnell took the step to not a publicity stunt. “I’m only here to her wildest expectations: “I thought, I’ll
raise awareness and funds for the Irish
raise awareness for the charity and to take Cancer Society – I don’t need attention aim for €50,000 and if I aim for the stars
charge of her condition. “I feel strongly I’ll get the moon.”Tubridy admitted the
that I am just one of thousands of people in this arena for this kind of thing.” Her reaction she received on The Late Late
extraordinary act of selflessness and
with this illness,” she said at the time. solidarity with other cancer sufferers Show was the greatest he had seen. Since
“I want to take control of the hair loss then, the Irish Cancer Society put a figure
associated with my chemotherapy by drew widespread praise, with the chief of €550,00 on the amount O’Donnell has
executive of the Irish Cancer Society,
deciding when and where to shave my John McCormack, echoing the public raised and, despite the loss of her father
head.”Within minutes of O’Donnell’s in October, she has continued to promote
appearance on the show, the Irish sentiment. “Majella is extremely brave the charity and the cause. For her bravery,
to take the huge step of shaving her hair
Cancer Society became inundated with on national television,” he said, adding, her selflessness and the ability to turn
calls and its website crashed under the a traumatic experience into something
ensuing flood of goodwill. “I know that “Losing your hair to cancer treatment can positive for others, Majella O’Donnell
be a devastating time for many women…I
so many people are praying for me and is the worthy recipient of a Special
that amount of power creates power,” personally commend her for bringing light Recognition award.


In a very special award this year, Irish Tatler
is recognising the exceptional work of one
woman who rises figuratively – and literally
– above many others of her sex. For the past
18 years, Miss Candy (aka Joe Supple) has
run the International Fashion Lunch in aid
of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. A fixture
on the social calendar, attracting an A-list
guestlist each year, Miss Candy has built this
up to be one of the country’s best attended,
and most talked-about, charity events. But
most impressively, and more importantly,
the annual event has raised an incredible
€2 million since it started. The money raised
has helped maintain the Rape Crisis Centre’s
counselling service through devastating losses
of funding and extremely difficult economic
times. Add to this the fact that many of the
centres around the country have reported
sharp increases in demand for their services,
often a demand they are unable to meet.
In the past 30 years the number of people
contacting their national 24-hour helpline
has risen from 76 in 1979 to 11,618 in
2010. Last year more than 9,000 counselling
calls were made. Yet the Dublin Rape
Crisis Centre continues to provide a safe,
confidential environment where men and
women can heal and recover from rape and
childhood sexual abuse: “In these times of
negativity and limited resources, Miss Candy
continues to make an enormous difference
to the lives of the many people who use our
service. We are delighted that Miss Candy
has been acknowledged by Irish Tatler
and we remain hugely grateful to her for
endorsing our work.” For her commitment
to helping other women and men, for her
dedication to those most vulnerable and in
need, for single-handedly helping to keep a
vital service going that relies on benefaction,
Miss Candy is a worthy recipient of our
Special Recognition award.




Our judging panel was chaired by Irish Tatler publisher Norah Casey and included
luminaries such as former head of RTÉ Radio Claire Duignan and Mary Davis.
Overseeing our fashion category was marketing manager of Marks & Spencer Ireland,
Carmel Breheny, while national director of Going for Growth, Paula Fitzsimons, joined
the panel for a second time this year, helping with our Entrepreneur category. Business
advice also came from CEO of FM104, Margaret Nelson. Casting a keen eye over our
media and drama nominees was previous winner Kathryn Thomas and IFTA chief
executive Áine Moriarty, while former Tánaiste Mary Harney lent her experience and
wisdom to the area of publlic life. Here is the panel in full.

Norah Casey Jessie Collins Shauna O’Halloran

Carmel Breheny Caroline Downey Paula Fitzsimons Claire Duignan Kathryn Thomas Laura Magahy Margaret Nelson

Mary Harney Sarah Bean Margaret Sweeney Jacqui Hurley Mary Davis Áine Moriarty




Marks & Spencer is delighted to support the Irish Tatler Women of the Year Awards 2013. These
awards celebrate the many outstanding achievements of Irish women both at home and on the
international stage. M&S has been dressing Irish women for 34 years and we are very proud once again
to sponsor the Fashion Award. 
Carmel Breheny, Marketing Manager, M&S.


Monart is delighted to support such a great event which recognises the wonderful work carried out by
women. Previous winners all excelled in their field and deserve the recognition and celebration which
this event provides. The Awards are a credit to all involved and we are proud to be associated with the
Irish Tatler Women of the Year Awards 2013.
Mark Browne, General Manager, Monart Destination Spa.


Sally Hansen is about beauty that works! How fitting then to support these wonderful Irish Tatler Women
of the Year awards, recognising the tremendous contribution that women in the media bring to our daily
lives. They entertain, delight and inform us, consistent with the hard working values of Sally Hansen
beauty products. We are delighted to be associated with the 2013 awards.
Sarah Bean, General Manager, Coty Ireland Limited.


Shiseido, one of the oldest cosmetic companies in the world, offers the finest in luxury skincare to
achieve beautiful skin and well-being. We are delighted to be an official sponsor of the Irish Tatler
Women of the Year Awards 2013, celebrating women who realise their personal potential within the
world of entertainment. It is great to be part of such a fabulous event acknowledging so many
fabulous women.
Maureen Dillon, Brand Manager, Shiseido Ireland.


Tipperary Crystal celebrates this year’s Irish Tatler Women of the Year Awards with specially-designed
pieces by Martin Croke, who is one of the world’s leading crystal designers. These are all handmade in
Ireland. We collaborated with Harmonia to design these magnificent pieces to celebrate the outstanding
achievements of Irish women internationally and at home.
Declan Fearon, Managing Director, Tipperary Crystal.


Liberty Insurance is proud to sponsor the Sports Award at the Irish Tatler Women of The Year Awards. 2013
has been a significant year for our company as, in a groundbreaking move, we became the first sponsor
to support both the GAA All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship and the Camogie Championships. We at
Liberty Insurance are thrilled to be associated with such an exciting event which recognises and celebrates
the role of women throughout diverse sectors of our society.
Annette Ní Dhathlaoí, Head of Marketing, Liberty Insurance


Hyundai Ireland is delighted to support the Irish Tatler Women of the Year Awards 2013. In particular, the
Business Woman of the Year Award which acknowledges the tremendous achievements of Irish women
in business. Hyundai, Ireland’s fastest-growing car brand, is proud to be associated with such outstanding
Irish business achievements.
Sarah Hayes, Marketing and PR Manager, Hyundai Ireland

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