The red carpet was rolled out as two films with strong West Limerick connections featured prominently at the Irish Film and TV Awards ceremony in Dublin’s Burlington Hotel last Saturday evening.

West Limerick’s interest in the IFTAs came from two tragic storylines: ‘The Summit’, which featured Kilcornan man Ger McDonnell as the main character (Ger sadly died on the descent after rescu-ing other climbers on K2 in 2008); and the story of Philomena Lee, originally from Newcastle West, whose sad story was taken on by actor Steve Coogan and made into the brilliant ‘Philomena’.

Tension was high as the best international film nominees were called. ‘Philomena’ was up against the best that Hollywood had to offer. ‘Philomena’ did win the award, along with Best International Actress (Judi Dench) and Best Costume Design with Consolata Boyle.

‘The Summit’ was in the George Morrison Feature Documentary category and again was up against the elite of modern day docu-mentaries. Ryan Tubridy made the presentation and there was delight and disbelief when he called out the winner as ‘The Summit’. Director Nick Ryan accepted the award and thanked everyone involved over the past five years. Shortly after receiving the award, ‘The Summit’s connections were joined by Hollywood star Colin Farrell who had seen the film in LA and said how proud he was watching the selflessness and sheer heroism of his fellow Irishman, Ger McDonnell.

Big winners on a proud night for West Limerick were ‘The Summit’ for Kilcornan and ‘Philomena’ for Newcastle West on an occasion attended by such stars of screen as Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Colm Meaney, Micheal Fassbender, Amy Huber-man and the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.

See photos on page 60.