It seems that when it comes to awards one West Donegal family have a penchant for winning practically every accolade that is going.
Not only have sister and brother Margo and Daniel O’Donnel both been awarded the ultimate honour as “Donegal Person of the Year” to name but a few, last Monday evening Margo O’Donnell received two awards at the annual Sunday World Country Music Awards.
Over 1,200 people attended the prestigious annual sell-out award ceremony which saw all the big names of country music in attendance, including Nathan Carter, Robert Mizzell, John McNicholl and of course, the local Dolan family.
People had queued from early afternoon at the Mullingar Park Hotel from all over the country and further afield and of course there was a large attendance from Margo’s native Donegal to watch her being afforded with a Life Time Achievement Award for her contribution to the Irish Music Industry.
Audience in awe
Introduced by RTE’s Ronan Collins, Margo, the Girl from Donegal, took to the stage to perform and left the audience in awe - so much so that she was the only artist afforded a standing ovation which lasted for almost ten minutes.
She was presented with her award by Nicola Tallant and Eddie Rowley from the Sunday World Newspaper but this was not to be the only award she was to receive on the night.
The national newspaper, which is synonymous with country music and indeed carries a weekly column from Margo’s brother Daniel, had decided to introduce a perpetual award in memory of the late Larry Cunningham who sadly passed away last year and had asked Margo to perform that famous song that Larry was known all over the world for, ‘Lovely Leitrim’.
It was a haunting but very moving moment for the audience, the special guests and of course for the family of the late Larry Cunningham. Unknown to the Donegal woman she was to receive the first ever Larry Cunningham award which was truly fitting as they had both a very close relationship. The award was presented by an emotional Beatrice Cunningham who was so moved to hear Margo and her rendition of ‘Lovely Leitrim’.
Beatrice said afterwards: “I am just so delighted that Margo was to receive this first ever award which is dedicated to my late husband. Both of them devoted their lives to music and Margo will surely ensure that the legend lives on.
“They both shared a very close bond and just loved working together,” she said.
Next year Margo will celebrate 50 years in the music industry and a host of events are currently being planned for this including a new autobiography on her life which she promises will be “No holds barred” addressing many of the highs and lows in a very fulfilling career.