At the RDS in Dublin, the country’s leading musical lights took time out yesterday to pay tribute to Liam Clancy and Stephen Gately for their diverse work in promoting Irish music.
Mr Clancy, who was part of the legendary Clancy Brothers group which stormed the international stage, was the subject of a special tribute during the festivities.
The star, who died in December aged 74, was once described by a young Bob Dylan as “the greatest ballad singer” he had ever heard.
Separately, Boyzone member Stephen Gately, who died in October in Majorca, Spain, was the subject of an emotional tribute from his band-mates Shane Lynch and Keith Duffy.
While the posthumous recognition hit a sombre note during proceedings, the night was still a celebration of Ireland’s music industry.
Among the main winners were Westlife who, despite ongoing criticism over their sugar-coated lyrics, proved they can still lay claim to be Ireland’s pop kings by being named Best Irish Pop Act for the tenth year running.
Among the other artists to be recognised for their ongoing contribution to the Irish music industry were folk singer Christy Moore, who was named Best Irish Male, and Brian Kennedy, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Henry Mount Charles, who hosts the annual Slane festival, was given the Industry Award for his continuing support of Irish music, while Florence and the Machine, Michael Buble, Leonard Cohen and Lady Gaga all received international gongs.
In total, 18 awards were presented on the night, nine of which were chosen by the public.
International stars of sport, music and screen presented awards on the night including Colin Farrell, Jamie Heaslip, Luke Fitzgerald, Michael Fassbender, Louis Walsh, Patrick Bergin, The Saturday’s Una Healy, Liam Cunningham and U2’s Adam Clayton.
The Meteor Ireland Music Awards will be broadcast on RTÉ 2 at 9pm tomorrow.