26 January 2024
By Elaine Murphy
The annual Cork Person of the Year Awards 2023 took place today with The Frank & Walters Band being crowned as the Cork Persons of the Year. 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.
Head of RTÉ Factual Content, Colm O’Callaghan wrote “In many ways, it’s hard to imagine that thirty years have passed since “After All” became a bona fide hit single and The Frank and Walters shared their dressing room at Top Of The Pops with Paul McCartney, and in other ways, it isn’t. Because there’s a timelessness to the great pop songs, and “After All” – like many of the Frank’s songs – is unquestionably one of the great pop songs. Not arrogant, just better, “After All ” is the best of The Frank and Walters, and the Frank and Walters are the very best of us. They stand for everything that sets Cork apart.”
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 groundbreaking 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. Previous inductees into the Hall of Fame include Ted Crosbie (2018), Fergal Keane OBE (2019), Tom Cavanagh (2020), Caitriona Twomey (2021), and Mary Crilly (2022).
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. Awards partner and organiser, Ann-Marie O’Sullivan said: “Dáithí’s infectious energy, humour, and optimistic spirit have brought laughter and joy to audiences across the nation for over two decades. This award recognises his incredible journey as a beloved TV presenter and media personality, who is doing it all here from RTÉ’s Cork studios.”
The Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor Kieran McCarthy, and the Mayor of Cork County, Councillor Frank O’Flynn, presented the awards, underscoring the unity of the city and county in recognising exceptional contributions.
Masters of Ceremonies were broadcasters Anne Cassin and Marty Morrissey. Speakers at the lunch were Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath; Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney; iconic broadcaster Mike Murphy; Kevin Bakhurst, RTÉ Director General; Bishop Paul Colton; Bishop Fintan Gavin; Manus O’Callaghan; and Ann-Marie O’Sullivan.
Award partners were RTÉ, The Metropole Hotel/Trigon Hotels, Tony O’Connell Photography, AM O’Sullivan PR, Cork Crystal, Masterkabin, Musgrave MarketPlace, Vondago Productions, CAVS, Robert Stephens Display, Manus O’Callaghan, Cork City Council, and Cork County Council. Award organisers are Manus O’Callaghan and Ann-Marie O’Sullivan.