The cream of the Irish crop assembled in Dublin’s impressive Convention Centre last night, for the eighth annual Irish Film and Television Awards. I managed to wrangle a ticket, and was placed directly under the teleprompter - so could’ve put off the likes of Pierce Brosnan with lewd gestures if I so pleased. A moderately star packed, if slow moving night, the live show started off extremely well with host for the evening Simon Delaney amusingly inserting himself into some classic Irish set flicks. It promised something slightly different than other years, but the talented Dubliner was never again given the time or content to amuse as thoroughly. Still, a fine job he did.

In terms of handing out gongs, it was nice to see the likes of Martin McCann pick up a win. His acceptance speech was one of humility and surprise, and the young actor seemed genuinely delighted. Much was made of the Gleeson clans’ involvement in the awards, which concluded with two wins for Domhnall Gleeson. When they showed a clip for his IFTA winning performance in When Harvey Met Bob, I actually thought it was British Actor Ben Barnes playing Geldof (I haven’t seen the show). His father, Brendan, collected both his gongs, and when accepting his IFTA for Rising Star quipped, "Rising star? Funny, I could never get him up in the morning." 

While the setting and host lent themselves to a top drawer night of gong giving and backslapping, some of the categories and layout of said categories were a tad strange. The pre-recorded bit at the top of the show included the lofty categories of Best International Film, Actress and Actor. But those awards were announced fleetingly. Surely a camera crew could have headed to London to shoot a short acceptance speech from Jesse Eisenberg or Annette Bening? Even a representative from each studio accepting on their behalf with a note? Don’t have the category if you’re not going to do something - anything.

Not finishing until well after midnight, an after party downstairs failed to offer up Pat Kenny, or Marty Whelan drunkenly attempting a moonwalk. The fact you weren’t allowed drink booze during the ceremony seemed to curtail the fun somewhat, as everyone was tired, hungry and the proprietor of a sore arse after the last gong was handed out. In saying that, I’m sure it’s the same story with gong shows throughout the globe. Kim Cattrall offered a companion the best advice of the evening when she said "drink as much as you can beforehand, eat canapés, and then take water into the show with you." Survival tips from an awards show pro.