More than 300 guests, including Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, attended the annual awards ceremony at the Fota Island Sheraton Hotel, to witness Dan Donovan getting accolades for his lifetime contribution to the theatre and education.
Mr Donovan, from Turners Cross in Cork city, was former vice-principal at Presentation College Cork and is known and admired as an actor, producer and director in theatre, since he co-founded the Southern Theatre Group with the late James N Healy in 1959.
Last year, Presentation College named their theatre in honour of Mr Donovan, who taught English, Irish and Latin at the school. His former pupils include film star Cillian Murphy and writer Eoghan Harris.
Mr Donovan was presented with his trophy jointly by the Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Michael Ahern and the Mayor of County Cork, Cllr John O’Shea.
Broadcaster Marian Finucane and Brian Crowley MEP acted as MCs at the ceremony which was jointly sponsored by the Irish Examiner, RTÉ, Southern Advertising and Sheraton Fota Island Golf Resort & Spa.
The awards were introduced 14 years ago and the 85-year-old joins a proud list of previous winners, including Roy Keane, Sonia O’Sullivan, Adi Roche and Fr Sean Healy.
Mr Donovan was chosen for the gong by judges Bishop John Buckley, city manager Joe Gavin and former county manager Maurice Moloney.
Other nominees included football coach Billy Morgan, channel swimmer Imelda Lynch and hurling legend Brian Corcoran.
Among the dignitaries who attended were Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin, his junior minister Michael Ahern and RTÉ’s director general Cathal Goan.