The women who have been recognized for their careers, special achievements, and overall remarkable behavior at the 18th edition of the Irish Tatler Women of the Year Awards.
Judges had a particularly tough time this year, as 2018 was an especially busy, emotional and challenging year, with Irish women across the country stepping up, speaking out, supporting, creating and making significant changes across all the categories highlighted. Without further ado, here are the women who made 2018 in Ireland:
Click on each awardee's name to learn more about their 2018 accomplishments.
Phelan unwillingly found herself at the heart of the Cervical Check Scandal, and despite tragic circumstances, keeps using her voice to save other women's lives.
Vodafone's CEO, an advocate of women in STEM and an accomplished triathlete, O'Leary is an absolute powerhouse.
Spence is the co-founder and CEO of one of Ireland's most successful companies, Softco. She strongly supports women talent in leadership and high-ranking positions through her role as a mentor for Growth Ireland.
The Green Army had us riveted to the screen during last summer's World Cup. Their ground-breaking silver medal for Ireland and the bright path they paved for young women in sports are nothing short of exceptional.
Leigh is the founder and CEO of a charity which looks after children with special needs. Bridging the gap between the private and public sector, sensational kids is made up of a wonderful team of people who make a tremendous difference for families throughout the West of Ireland.
FILM & DRAMA
McGee has become one of Ireland's most beloved screenwriter with her TV-show Derry Girls. Her own success and the portrayal of women she offers via her characters - witty, funny, daring - are to be celebrated in an industry often called into question for its sexism.
ARTS AND LITERATURE
Cartmell is the new creative director of the Gate's Theatre. Her career and the recent direction she has taken at the helm of the Dublin institution are a reflection of her advocating for women writers, designers, and directors in the drama world.
Zamparelli has captured our hearts as one half of the comic duo "Bridget& Eamon". Her energy is communicative as Breakfast Republic radio host and we love her candid approach to the difficult balance between work life and motherhood.
Cunningham is one of the most talented Irish songwriters. She cut her teeth in LA and won multiple awards from a very young age. She is now coming back with her own music inspired by her experience abroad.
Blackwell is one of the country's most prestigious lawyers, she has spent her career defending people against unfair debt laws and advocating for rape victims. As CEO of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, she relentlessly fights for the fair treatment of both accused and victims and urges for the teaching of consent in schools.
HALL OF FAME
A key negotiator during the Good Friday Agreement, McWilliams took the lead of a female political party when women were not often seen doing so. Her research on domestic violence, rape survivors' support, and poverty have made of her an advocate of women and their rights throughout the island and above its confines.
Victim of sexual abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church as a child, Collins has since come forward and fought for change within the Church, as well as children's safety online. Her commitment to truth-speaking opened up discussions and partake in changing today's church establishment.
Kerr is a seasoned journalist committed to truth and trust in a time where media is often in the eye of the storm. As the co-founder of NevaLabs she aims to help every single one of us to take back control over the way we consume information.
Sweetman's business method and entrepreneuship style is led by her passion for Irish nature and for the lovely memories she creates for her clients. Her beautiful designs create a sparkle of joy in every lucky person opening one of her trademark little pink boxes.
Repeal Campaigners - Tara Flynn, Anna Cosgrave, Ailbhe Smyth, and Gaye Edwards.
This award goes to every single person who took part in the history-making campaign. Flynn, Cosgrave, Smyth, and Edwards are given special nods for sharing publicly their stories, taking organizational leads and creating symbols under which a whole campaign could gather.
and finally...the one you voted for:
The COVER STAR OF THE YEAR AWARD goes to
Former model and Outlander's lead actress Balfe talked to Irish Tatler about facing mental health issues during her career in the fashion industry and shared her hopes about the #MeToo movement : "I think there's been a real shift and I think people aren't going to put up with shitty behaviour anymore. And they shouldn't."
* This article was originally published on our sister publication Irish Tatler.