Hook Lighthouse was named as Overall Winner of the Munster Express/Dooley’s Hotel Heritage & Culture Awards for 2009 at a ceremony held at Dooley’s Hotel last (Thursday) night.
“I’m absolutely stunned and thrilled all at once,” said Lighthouse centre manager Anne Waters, when picking up the overall award designed by sculpted by Dunmore East resident Michael Fitzgerald.
“This really caught me by surprise, I have to admit,” she added. “I really wasn’t expecting to be up here in front of everybody!
“But on behalf of everyone at Hook Lighthouse, many, many thanks to Dooley’s Hotel and The Munster Express for creating these awards and for choosing us as winners of this fantastic prize.
“To be singled out from among the many superb organisations and individuals that have been recognised by these awards over the past year is a source of enormous pride to me.
“We’re all the same boat in the south east, whether we’re promoting heritage or culture and I can’t really put into words how grateful and delighted we are to receive this wonderful award.”
The Lighthouse, considered one of the country’s leading tourist attractions by a host of experts, including the Lonely Planet Guide, is also home to a range of art classes, café and gift shop.
“And of course we have our own whales now,” joked Ann, referencing the recent spectacular humpback whale breaching three miles off the Hook.
“It’s a fantastic location, it’s steeped in history, our staff treats each other like family and there’s hardly a day goes by, driving down towards the Lighthouse, that I don’t pinch myself because it’s such an absolute pleasure to work there.”
The ceremony also included the presentation of the Fourth Quarter awards for 2009, namely:
• Heritage Individual: Pat Grennan of the Kennedy Homestead, cultural museum and visitor centre, New Ross, represented at the ceremony by his wife Siobhan
• Heritage Group: Waterford Museum of Treasures, with Curator Eamon McEneaney proudly accepting the award on behalf of his staff
• Culture Individual: Musical Director Kevin O’Carroll, proudly carrying on a great tradition of family involvement in the Waterford musical sphere, and
• Culture Group: Little Red Kettle, represented by the ever-busy and ever-enthusiastic Ben Hennessy.
Award sponsors Kieran Walsh (Munster Express) and June Darrer (Dooley’s Hotel) congratulated all 16 award recipients recognised during the first year of the scheme.
They in turn won praise for introducing their heritage and culture initiative from Deputy Mayor of Waterford Davy Daniels and Fáilte Ireland Chairman Redmond O’Donoghue.
There will be extensive coverage of yesterday’s awards ceremony in next week’s Early Edition.