Pictured at the Limerick Person of the Year Award 2016 were Claire Culhane, Richard Lynch, Grace Culhane, Luke Culhane, winner of the Limerick Person of the year Award 2016, Olive Foley and Dermot Culhane. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick


The 14-year-old Limerick boy, Luke Culhane, whose viral video warning against cyberbullying and the late Anthony Foley – posthumously receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award – were today the top recipients at the Limerick Person of the Year 2016 awards.

The creation of a powerful video – ‘Create No Hate’ – saw Luke Culhane, from Castletroy View, selected as the January award recipient and made enough of an impact to have him selected all of 12 months later for the Limerick Person of the Year 2016.

Limerick person of the year 2016

Luke Culhane, whose viral video warning against cyberbullying went viral was named Limerick person of the year 2016. Photo: Sean Curtin True Media.

A budding filmmaker and blogger, Luke was motivated to create the video after being a victim of cyberbullying himself and, with over 500,000 views, its success was such that the story was picked up by Sky News, BBC, MTV, Fox, RTE and UTV, among others.

The international admiration for his efforts stretched all the way to December when he was named Young Person of the Year by prominent French newspaper Mon Quotidien.

Accepting the award, Luke Culhane said: “Thank you so much to everyone that supported the video, the main thing is that helped loads of other children after I Skyped a school in South Africa it inspired them to make their own video. It’s not just me that won, it’s the whole of Limerick.”

Today’s event, held at the Clayton Hotel, Limerick, also saw Olive Foley, wife of the late Anthony Foley, receive a Lifetime Achievement award on behalf of her husband, whose death on October 16th last led to one of the single greatest outpourings of sadness ever experienced across Limerick.

The legendary Shannon, Munster and Ireland No. 8 Anthony moved with his family from Murroe to Killaloe when he was 3 years old but had an indelible connection with Limerick over the years.  He was schooled at St. Munchin’s, where he first gained prominence as a schools rugby star, before going on to become the most coloured captain in the history of Shannon and Munster rugby.

Speaking at today’s event, Limerick Leader Editor Eugene Phelan said:  “It’s fair to say that the two recipients today were utterly inspirational in very different ways but we are here with mixed emotions in relation to them today.

“We all marvelled at Luke’s courage and, indeed, technical ability in putting this video together. It relates to an area that all of society is exercised and very concerned about but when it is a 13-year-old member of that society, as he was then, we are all humbled by what he did.  Luke is clearly a leader and I suspect that this is the start of what will be a hugely successful career in film and one that, will no doubt, leave its mark in a very positive way on society.”

Speaking of the award to Anthony Foley, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon said: “With regard to Anthony Foley, all of us who love rugby and sport generally were totally shocked by news of his death. I don’t think I have ever seen anything like the collective sense of loss that greeted this.   He was an incredible man both on and off the field.

Limerick Person of the Year 2016

The 14 year-old Limerick boy, Luke Culhane, whose viral video warning against cyberbullying and the late Anthony Foley Ð posthumously receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award – were today the top recipients at the Limerick Person of the Year 2016 awards. Photo: Sean Curtin True Media.

“We all celebrated his rugby achievements and got so much joy here in Limerick from that.  But the other side of Anthony was what he did off the field, his charity work and just how he held himself as a person. He was arguably the most modest sports star and this is an acknowledgement that he totally deserves.”

Speaking at the event, Olive Foley said:  “I’m pretty sure Anthony would be recoiling with the attention here today.  He was very proud of his association with Limerick and from a sporting perspective will always be associated with Munster and Shannon, with many of his greatest rugby moments here in Limerick.

“We know that everyone here misses him and it goes without saying that we do. But we really appreciate the fact that he is thought of and remembered so fondly, including with this Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Now in its 16th year and sponsored by The Limerick Leader, Southern Marketing Design & Media and the Clayton Hotel, the Limerick Person of the Year Award was set up to honour the achievements and success of local people.

Pat Reddan, General Manager, Clayton Limerick Hotel said: “We are delighted to sponsor such an event that showcases the very best of Limerick and the people who call it home, they truly are all inspirational.”

Congratulating all nominees, Dave O’Hora of Southern Marketing Design & Media said: “each of the nominees have in their own way made an outstanding contribution to the cultural, sporting, business and community scene in Limerick, today Limerick celebrates and it should.”

Past winners of the title include philanthropist JP McManus, world champion boxer Andy Lee, rugby stars Paul O’Connell and Tony Ward, author Donal Ryan, transatlantic rower Paul Gleeson and Thomond Park developer Pat Whelan.

The Limerick Person of the Year 2016 judging panel consisted of Eugene Phelan, Editor of The Limerick Leader; Conn Murray, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council; and Cllr. Kieran O’Hanlon, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick.

For more information on Create No Hate click here

To read past stories on Limerick Person of the Year click here


They queued for four hours in advance to meet the man who is without a doubt a true Limerick legend.

Coinciding with the release of his much-anticipated autobiography, Paul O’Connell signed copies of his book, The Battle, in O’Mahony’s Bookshop .

Over 500 people queued for hours to meet former rugby legend Paul O’Connell at his book signing in Limerick city this past Sunday, eager to get a signed copy of his book The Battle.

The book signing was due to begin at 2pm, however after The Battle author observed images of the lengthy queues on I Love Limerick’s social media, he arrived early so as not to disappoint fans on his home ground in the Treaty City.

Paul O Connell book signing at O'Mahony's Bookshop. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

Paul O Connell book signing at O’Mahony’s Bookshop. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

Even before he was due to meet his legions of fans, he had planned to sign more than 200 copies of The Battle, which were pre-ordered by customers who couldn’t attend the signing.

The Battle was co-written with Alan English, former editor of the Limerick Leader and current editorial director of Iconic Newspapers, which own the Leader. He also attended the signing along with many family members.

I had the honour of interviewing Paul at the book signing. With typical modesty, when asked how he felt about the phenomenal turnout, he joked that the book might be an easy Christmas present for people, as many queued to purchase several books for friends and family members.

The former Munster, Ireland and Lion’s captain described The Battle as “the full story. I think it’s very honest and I hope people will enjoy it,” he said.

I asked him what exactly was ‘The Battle’ he faced, he revealed, “the battle was mainly with myself, the injuries, playing high-pressure games, trying to win things, trying to be successful,” and told me, “blaming myself when we lost a game made me better.”

I asked him how it felt to be so loved by the people of Limerick, “I am very proud of my Limerick roots. I love living here, the sense of humour the people have, what a great place to live.”

I admire Paul so much, not just for his sporting achievements, but for his soul. Paul is a man who is truly proud of our beautiful city as he has said himself on numerous occasions and proved undoubtedly over the years through his involvement with positive campaigns and charity work. Congrats Paul. All of Limerick are rooting for you!

You can find out more about the  Paul O Connell book, ‘The Battle’, here.
Here you can read more stories about Paul O Connell.