‘Paudcast’ star Padraig O’Callaghan is named Limerick Person of the Year

Padraig celebrates his win with his Mum and Dad, Marie and Brian O’Callaghan.
Picture: Alan Place

The digital media star was announced as the winner at a ceremony in the Clayton Hotel Limerick, marking the first time in three years the event has been able to return to its usual format, where the monthly winners gathered to be formally honoured.
Celebrating its 21st year, the Limerick Person of the Year Award was set up to honour the achievements and success of local people at home and abroad.
Pádraig captured the hearts of the nation by sharing his tips on how to stay positive, particularly during the COVID-19 lockdowns was named the Limerick Person of the Month for January. From Knockainey began working on weekly motivational videos with his father Brian.
Brian explained it was a way to help his 11-year-old son, who has Down Syndrome, with his communication skills and confidence.
When the COVID-19 restrictions began to chip away at people’s motivation, the Paudcasts really gained traction with people all over the world tuning in for Pádraig’s nuggets of positivity.
Pádraig’s Paudcasts are published on Mondays on the social media platforms of Brian’s business, EcoStraws.
In his videos, Pádraig covers everything from the difference between being a manager and a leader, to the importance of starting your day right by making your bed, as well as the importance of offering support to those who need it when times are tough. Such has been the reaction to his Paudcasts, Pádraig is even contemplating a job in TV when he’s older.  He wants to be a “superstar”.
Addressing the presentation ceremony with a special recorded message Taoiseach Micheál Martin paid tribute to the monthly winners.
“It’s been another extraordinary year for Ireland, a year when the solidarity, generosity and resilience of our people have been shown time and time again. Now again as we face another unprecedented humanitarian crisis caused by an abhorrent and immoral war on Ukraine, the people of Limerick and Ireland are responding magnificently.
“We’ve seen that spirit exemplified through the actions and achievements of many of the nominees honoured today. I want to pay tribute to each one of you for the work you do to make your community in Limerick and the entire country a better and brighter place,” the Taoiseach said.
Speaking after being announced as Limerick Person of the Year 2021, Pádraig said: “It’s absolutely sensational, I couldn’t believe it at first. I wasn’t expecting it at all.”
Padraig’s father Brian added: “For Padraig to share the same stage as others who are held in such high regard is phenomenal, and for him to win the award, I can’t actually put into words how proud I am of him and his achievements and all the other nominees.”
Pádraig is a pupil of Knockainey N.S. and this week, Principal Marie Hartnett expressed school’s pride on Pádraig’s achievement. “The whole school community of Knockainey National School is so proud of Pádraig. His happy go lucky personality, his work ethic and his wonderful support network of family and friends have shaped him into the young man that he is today-kind, friendly, unassuming and confident.
“His weekly Paudcasts show the world a fraction of what we are lucky to see on a daily basis. Pádraig is never short of a word and with a smile on his face he lights up every room. His achievements to date are so well deserved. Huge congratulations to him and his family. One thing is for certain – we ain’t seen nothing yet!!
Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Daniel Butler said: “The Limerick Person of the Year event once again showcases the amazing people we have across the city and county who do that little bit extra and help their communities and people in need. It is an amazing credit to each and every one of the monthly winners that you continued with your selfless spirit throughout what was a very difficult year.”
“Congratulations to each and every one of you and special congratulations to the overall Limerick Person of the Year, Padraig O’Callaghan. What you have done has helped so many people, young and old. Through your words, creativity and wit you have allowed us all to look at our lives at a slighted angle that will allow us to focus on the positives and deal with the pressures of life. You fully deserve being called Limerick Person of the Year.
The 2020 Limerick Person of the Year Dr Catherine Motherway, who played a leading role in the response to Covid-19 pandemic, was the guest speaker at the ceremony.
Past winners of the title include: Dr Catherine Motherway; Olympian Roisin Upton; philanthropist JP McManus; Limerick’s All-Ireland winning senior hurling team; World champion boxer Andy Lee; rugby star Paul O’Connell; Tidy Towns champion Helen O’Donnell and anti-bullying campaigner Luke Culhane.
The monthly winners in 2021 were: January – Pádraig O’Callaghan; February – Family of the late John Fitzgerald; March – TY Enterprise Students from Thomond Community College; April – DrawOut urban Art; May – Jack O’Connor; June – HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare’s Home Support Service; July – Limerick-born Tokyo Olympians; August – Limerick All-Ireland Hurling Champions; September – Róisín Ní Ríain; October – Treaty United FC; November – Ballysteen Carnegie Development Company; December – Limerick City Centre Traders’ Association.