Meet The Irish Tatler Women the Year Award Winners For 2019

Despite coming from a small country, our winners sure know how to make an impact

They came, they saw, they won!

The Irish Tatler Women Of The Year Awards took place at The Shelbourne Hotel on Saturday night, and what a night it was...

Guests arrived looking no short of fabulous glamour with sultry, decadent and diverse styles championing the incredible diversity and individuality at the event.

From endless boujee cocktails, a string quartet to a trip of a lifetime to Abu Dhabi the result of a successful night was going to inevitable. 

As the awards kicked off and the winners were announced an overwhelming sense of support and praise from the room became paramount for an overall heart-warming, feel-good mood.

The event celebrated the inspirational Irish women game-changing all aspects of life and proved how much of a difference one person (particularly a woman) can make. Whether the winners were familiar faces or fresh to your radar something new was to be learned from each one. Safe to say attendees left with some extra added gusto to their step.  

Without further adieu here is a list of our amazing winners:

The Fashion Award, In association with M&S

An agenda-setter for the industry, both at home and further afield, her work features a strong feminist rhetoric and most recently, her SISTERS show was inspired by the power that sisterhood can have in affecting social change for women across the globe.

Not only did this collection nod to the amazing craftsmanship of Carrickmacross lace, it was also in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund, highlighting women’s rights globally for bodily autonomy.

Natalie B. Coleman

The Media Award 

2019 has seen this space in a constant state of flux, but when nothing is certain, everything is possible. Being the voice of women in, not only one, but two sectors which they are under-represented, our Media winner sits down weekly with some of the most influential people from the world of science and technology and decodes the jargon for us lay folk. 

As Newstalk’s resident Technology correspondent, she makes AI approachable while not dumbing it down, she covers the mounting challenge of protecting children online and regularly grills the Irish Data Protection Commissioner on the complexities of GDPR. 

Jess Kelly

The Music Award

Ireland, as a nation has such a rich heritage when it comes to this category, but right now, on a global stage, Irish music is having a serious moment. 

And right at the forefront of that wave are a band described, rather delicately by Blindboy, as a mix between Sonic Youth and Dolores O’Riordan. Enjoying airtime with songs like Favourite, Gay Girls and Rats, their insanely catchy hooks, sang in genuine accents give them a real standout sound on both the radio and festival circuits. Roll on the release of their debut album in 2020.

Pillow Queens

The Literature Award 

We live in a society now, where our obsession with doing more is rivalled only by our preoccupation with doing more, harder, better, faster and stronger. We’re gunning the engines at max speed, cramming our workdays full of tasks and then feeling guilty if we steal a few minutes to read a book in the evenings, for anything other pure pleasure. 

Our Literature award winner changed that pattern for us somewhat though, with her captivating and impossible to put down books. Pages dripping dialogue that feels so real, you almost feel like you’re eavesdropping on something you shouldn’t be, she’s been praised by The New Yorker as the “first great millennial novelist”.

Sally Rooney (award collected by her sister)

The Visual Arts Award 

This year’s winner had high popularity video, sound and hand-made embroidered objects. Our winner already holds the prestigious title, of the President of the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin, the first female to do so at the RHA in 200 years. O’Brien was Secretary of the RHA from 2012 until 2017, the first time a female artist has ever held this position. 

She has received plaudits worldwide, and has been described by The Irish Times as, an artist who she “offers a new kind of anonymity, a hidden door through which to make an escape” something which all good visual art should do,

Abigail O'Brien

The Entertainment Award, in association with FREE NOW

Industry-wise, the term entertainment can cover-off many things, but the word’s actual definition is the action of being provided with amusement or enjoyment, and that’s exactly why we’ve chosen this person to win our Entertainment award. 

Not only lighting up any room she enters but breaking down barriers at every opportunity as well, our Entertainment winner has had a busy few months making history as the first plus-size woman of colour to grace the cover of an Irish fashion magazine. From make-up artist to media starlet, she’s blazing a trail for a fresh type of femininity on our TV screens, and her trajectory is only on the rise. 

Nadine Reid

The Film & Drama Award, IN association with Lancôme

A well-respected Shakeperian actress with countless credits under her belt, including My Left Foot and the Harry Potter movies, our Film and Drama winner has reached a whole new audience more recently, thanks to her scene-stealing television turns. 

Getting two nods at this year’s Emmys, as a bonafide member of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s It-Crew, with roles in both her spy thriller Killing Eve and as the anti-heroine’s therapist in Fleabag. 

Fiona Shaw (award accepted by Charleen McKenna)

The One To Watch Award

Shaking things up a bit at the Irish Tatler Women of the Year Awards, we are debuting a new award this year. So much of what’s gone before has been about legacy, longstanding names in their respective fields and Hall of Famers, but as we face the last few months of the 10’s and enter into the 20’s - we wanted to shine a bright light on what’s to come. 

The winner of our One-to-Watch award is, in herself, a bright light. The political newcomer emerged as one of the stars of this summer’s European parliament elections after her break-out performance during a televised debate and she was an integral part of the so-called “Green Wave” which saw unexpected support for the party throughout the country. 

Saoirse McHugh

The Businesswoman Award, In Association with Enterprise Ireland 

When deciding on this category, we asked our judges to be mindful of two main things. The first, and more obvious one, being clear commercial success. The second, and slightly less measurable was the resilience required to be a woman in business right now. 

Marrying hard science to the needs of society, our Business award winner is the founder of the first Irish biotech company to receive backing by the European Investment Bank. Last year, it launched the world's first bioactive healthcare ingredient to be used in supplements and new drugs, discovered and delivered through artificial intelligence.

Dr Nora Khaldi

The Sport Award

Irish women excelling in sport isn’t a new concept, but big noise around them often is. Luckily, pomp and ceremony is not what drives many of our elite female athletes, nor is it what motivates our worthy Sports winner tonight, to keep going. 

At 14, she was told girls don’t box and no club would have her, yet last year, she took the gold medal in the Lightweight Division at the Women's World Boxing Championships. This summer, she captained our national team - made up of both male and female boxers - at the European Games in Minsk, before having to withdraw from the final due to a hand industry. 

Kellie Harrington

The Public Life Award, in Association with Tipperary Crystal

Politics and Public Life are rarely terms that are mutually exclusive and in the case of this winner, that’s particularly true. Lauded by the National Women’s Council of Ireland “a fantastic champion for equality and women’s rights” ,the lawyer, Labour Party Lead and famous former-Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union President played a leading role in the successful campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment. Everything she has done and continues to do keeps the best interests of Irish women at its heart.

Ivana Bacik

The Entrepreneur Award, in association with Boots 

They say, when it comes to in entrepreneurship, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but every time, you learn and given the number of businesses under our winner’s name, we’re pretty certain she’s ready to write a book on it. 

With over 24 years of experience running health and social care services, our winner’s latest venture looks to revolutionise the sector through a suite of digital and in-app solutions that will reduce paperwork for staff, create virtual villages to improve connectivity and most importantly, enhance the overall delivery of care.

Mairead Mackle

The Social Award, IN association with Etihad Airways 

Success without a presence on social media is a rare feat today and conscious of its growing world domination, we created this award in an effort to recognise and celebrate those who are doing it stellarly – be they a female-lead business running super-engaging Facebook ads or an individual developing their personal brand on Instagram. 

As it turns out, our social winner is actually both. With a huge following as one of the country’s leading lifestyle influencers, she uses her platform powers for good, advocating for sustainable fashion, mental health awareness, body positivity and self-love. 

Roz Purcell 

The Influence Award

In some circles, the word ‘influencer’ is considered a dirty one, but when you strip the idea back of its preconceived notions and hashtag #gifts, having the capacity to affect change in character or behaviour wields great power. 

What one does with such great power though, is what really counts - and our winner makes sure she uses hers to galvanise the gals. Bowing at the altar of the Three F’s: feminism, femininity and fun, and fervent throughout both the Marriage Equality Act and Eighth Amendment referendum, she’s now turning her attention to the growing destruction of Dublin city’s cultural hubs in favour of mega-hotel after mega-hotel. 

Andrea Horan

The Gamechanger Award, in Association with Cointreau 

The term ‘trail blazer’ is oft overused these days, but it’s a word that is entirely apt when it comes to the nominees of this category. Each one displays talent, bravery, strength in the face of adversity or is striving to make our country a better place for future generations.

Changing the game is no small ask and by definition, it requires a certain type of thought and approach that upends established order. Disrupting the norm and creating a radical social shift is exactly what the winner of this award has been doing over the course of the last twelve months, and the job is far from done. 

Waging a war on the fact that only 3 % of sports coverage you see in media is female orientated and with the tagline of "if she can't see it, she can't be it," the 20 20 initiative is an ambitious two-year-long rally cry to better promote and champion women in sport by the year 2020. So far it has enlisted the support of leading Irish female athletes to be role models subsequent generations will want to emulate - physically-strong, mentally-healthy, socially-respected and culturally-equal.

20 x 20

The Special Recognition Award, in association with TReatwell

This year’s winner made headlines when she defined the phrase ‘dignity in death’. Our winner’s life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of  just 24. 

A diagnosis such as that could leave anyone paralysed in fear, but instead, it galvanised Laura, who appeared in a number of promotional videos speaking passionately as she advocated for girls to get the HPV vaccine, dedicating her life to tirelessly campaigning for the cause. When she tragically passed away in March of this year, three years after her diagnosis, she left behind a legacy.

Laura Brennan (award accepted by Laura's Mum, Bernie)

The Icon Award

Founder of TRUST, a private charity set up in 1975 to provide medical assistance to homeless people in Ireland, she is the former chairperson of the Sentence Review Board and the Irish Human Rights Commissioner.

Known for promoting understanding and compassion towards the needs of the outsiders in society, she continues to find practical ways to help combat the social exclusion of those who are all so often overlooked. 

Alice Leahy

The Woman Of The Year

Our Overall Woman of the Year 2019 is no stranger to Irish Tatler or the world of fashion. Her reach, however, spans far beyond that world, as she has become a poster girl for a new kind of equality in the fashion world. A talented writer, academic and campaigner, this woman started on a high with her inspiring Ted Talk, titled 'Why Design Should Include Everyone' and is on a mission to make the fashion industry accountable and inclusive of everyone.

Since then =, she’s rubbed shoulders with Anna Wintour, hung out with Kim K, FROW-ed it at the finest fashion shows. But ladies and gentleman, that’s not what her purpose is. We spoke about trailblazers earlier and this woman is the living definition of one. She co-founded the Inclusive Fashion and Design Collective (IFDC) with the US disability advocate Liz Jackson and even took her campaign to the White House, quoting "Design is an enormous privilege, but it is a bigger responsibility".

One of fifteen women selected to appear on the cover of the September 2019 issue of British Vogue, by guest editor Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, our overall Woman of the Year for 2019, is Sinéad Burke. 

Sinéad Burke

READ: A Rally Cry: Why We Need To Support Women More Than Ever

READ MORE: The Bargain Beauty Products Team Irish Tatler Always Have In Their Kits

You May Also Like