Singer and songwriter Tomás Mac Eoin from Connemara has been named this year’s recipient of Gradam RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.
The annual lifetime achievement award is given to people who have made a significant contribution to the Gaeltacht and Irish-language communities through their work.
From An Bóthar Buí in An Cheathrú Rua in Conamara, Tomás Mac Eoin is a multi-talented artist, as a singer, actor, songwriter and poet.
His acclaim spread from his own Galway community to a far-wider audience after performing and recording with The Waterboys.
Tomás featured on their Fisherman’s Blues album, receiving a platinum disc which hangs proudly in his home, and he has performed on The Late Late Show several times.
Gearóid Mac Donncha, Ceannaire of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta said that Tomás is a ‘gifted singer, composer, poet, actor and entertainer who has always maintained an unbreakable connection with his community, his home place and his culture’.
“He has done great work to promote the Irish language and culture, and his work with the Waterboys spread that influence far and wide, helping to promote the language in the English-speaking world,” said Gearóid.
“This award is from RTE Raidió na Gaeltachta, but in effect it’s an award from our listeners for a very special person, a Gaeltacht treasure. I’d like to congratulate Tomás, and wish him all the very best.”
Irish bronze sculpture specialist Jarlath Daly designed the award presented to Tomás, which includes a musical stave with notes, the comedy and tragedy masks symbolising drama, and the Celtic Triskle.
It is normally presented during the Oireachtas festival, which was due to take place in Galway this year, but instead broadcaster Máirtín Tom Sheáinín presented Tomás with the award at his home in An Cheathrú Rua and it was announced on the Ceiliúradh an Oireachtais 2020 programme on RTÉ RnaG at the weekend.