Ireland's Brendan Gleeson won a best-actor Emmy overnight for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the film 'Into The Storm'.
The film was directed by Dubliner Thaddeus O'Sullivan.
Gleeson prevailed over a shortlist that included Ian McKellen, Kenneth Branagh and Kiefer Sutherland.
Accepting the award, the 54-year-old Gleeson said: “Now there’s a turn-up for the books.”
He went on to thank leading crew members, including producer Frank Doelger, as he remembered his mother in his acceptance speech.
“In particular Frank Doelger for allowing my mam and dad to see a first cut of this, of 'Into the Storm', before my mam died. It meant a huge amount to me and I’d like to thank him for that,” Gleeson said.
More success was to come for Ireland as the evening progressed, with Dearbhla Walsh taking home the gong for outstanding directing of a miniseries, movie or a dramatic special, for the BBC's 'Little Dorrit'.
Arts Minister Martin Cullen says the two successes show that Irish artistic talent continues to garner a positive response internationally.
Irish Film Board chief executive Simon Perry praised the Irish success.
“It’s great to see, amid the gloom of such a recession, that the flames of Irish talent burns as brightly as ever,” Mr Perry said.
“Irish directors, actors, writers and film crew are a great asset to Ireland, and these awards will ensure that we continue to retain our international reputation for creativity and innovation.”
The 61st Emmy Awards opened with a glitzy song routine by host Neil Patrick Harris.
The former Doogie Howser MD star wasted no time before making jokes at rapper Kanye West’s expense.
The hip hop star was forced to apologise after ruining singer Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at last week’s MTV video music awards.
“Here’s hoping Kanye west likes 30 Rock,” the host quipped in reference to the Tina Fey sitcom which is up for 22 Emmys.
The joint BBC/HBO venture 'House of Saddam' yielded success with a best supporting actress in a miniseries or movie award going to Iranian-born Shohreh Aghdashloo.
The award for outstanding variety, musical or comedy show went to nightly satire 'The Daily Show'.
Alec Baldwin won an Emmy for best actor in a comedy. It was one of a slew of gongs taken home by the '30 Rock' crew, including that for outstanding comedy.
Veteran actress Glenn Close took home the title for lead actress in a drama, with Bryan Cranston taking the male title for his role as Walter White in Breaking Bad.
In so doing, Cranston beat British comedian-turned-actor Hugh Laurie, who was nominated for his portrayal as Dr Gregory House in the medical series that shares the character’s name.
House also missed out in the blue ribband award of best drama, this time to popular series Mad Men.
During a poignant break from the award giving, the star-studded audience paused to pay tribute to stars of TV who had died in recent months. Those remembered included Golden Girl Bea Arthur and British actress and wife of Liam Neeson, Natasha Richardson.
The biggest round of applause was saved for Patrick Swayze, whose death was announced just days before the ceremony.
:: Drama Series: 'Mad Men', AMC.
:: Comedy Series: '30 Rock', NBC.
:: Actor, Drama Series: Bryan Cranston, 'Breaking Bad', AMC.
:: Actress, Drama Series: Glenn Close, 'Damages', FX Networks.
:: Actor, Comedy Series: Alec Baldwin, '30 Rock', NBC.
:: Actress, Comedy Series: Toni Collette, 'US of Tara', Showtime.
:: Supporting Actor, Drama Series: Michael Emerson, 'Lost', ABC.
:: Supporting Actress, Drama Series: 'Cherry Jones', 24, Fox.
:: Supporting Actor, Comedy Series: Jon Cryer, 'Two and a Half Men', CBS.
:: Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Kristin Chenoweth, 'Pushing Daisies', ABC.
:: Miniseries: 'Little Dorrit 'PBS.
:: Made-for-TV Movie: 'Grey Gardens', HBO.
:: Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Brendan Gleeson, 'Into the Storm', HBO.
:: Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Jessica Lange, 'Grey Gardens', HBO.
:: Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Ken Howard, 'Grey Gardens', HBO.
:: Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Shohreh Aghdashloo, 'House of Saddam', HBO.
:: Directing for a Comedy Series: 'The Office: Stress Relief', Jeff Blitz, NBC.
:: Directing for a Drama Series: 'ER: And in the End', Rod Holcomb, NBC.
:: Directing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Series: 'American Idol: Show 833 (The Final Three)', Bruce Gowers, Fox.
:: Directing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic Special: 'Little Dorrit: Part 1', Dearbhla Walsh, PBS.
:: Variety, Music, or Comedy Series: 'The Daily Show With Jon Stewart' Comedy Central.
:: Reality-Competition Program: 'The Amazing Race', CBS.
:: Writing for a Comedy Series: '30 Rock: Reunion', Matt Hubbard, NBC.
:: Writing for a Drama Series: 'Mad Men: Meditations in an Emergency', Kater Gordon and Matthew Weiner, AMC.
:: Writing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Series: 'The Daily Show With Jon Stewart', Comedy Central.
:: Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic Special: 'Little Dorrit,' Andrew Davies, PBS.
:: Host, Reality or Reality-Competition Program: 'Jeff Probst, Survivor', CBS.
:: Original Music and Lyrics: 81st Annual Academy Awards: Song Title: 'Hugh Jackman Opening Number', ABC.