As International Women's Day draws to a close, we can't help but reflect upon some of the fabulous Irish women who've made out telly screens that bit more exciting over the past decades.
From the newsreaders to the weather girls, the actresses to the continuity announcers, these talented women have beamed out from our tellyboxes, told us what was happening in the world outside our window, or taken us away from life as we know it. Here, without further ado, are just Ten Female Icons of Irish Television...
There wasn't a house in the land that didn't tune in to hear the news of the day delivered in Anne's dulcet tones. She joined the RTE newsroom in 1978, and read her first bulletin on Christmas Day that same year. Thus began a 33 year career as one of the country's most respected newscasters. The nation wept when she finally hung up her hat in 2011.
This weather woman is so much more than just a meteorologist. She's a style icon and even scooped The Eric for TV Personality of the Year at our awards ceremony in January. Words don't do the lady justice, so we'll let the outfits speak for themselves.
Sharon Ni Bheolain
Ciunas, bothar, cailin, bainne. Is there anyone but our Sharon who could inspire an ad on the telly? The Six One anchor began her long career in TV broadcasting back in 1994, presenting the news as Gaeilge on RTE, before taking the helm at News 2 in 1997. From there she moved on host her own Irish language show, Turas Teanga, before she took her rightful place as Queen of the News Bulletins beside Bryan Dobson at the Six One desk. A1 Sharon!
Before the Seoiges swanned into town, there was only ONE woman RTE would regularly call upon for hosting duties. Mary Kennedy gave one of the best Eurovision performances of all time, managing to make it down all those steps in a smashing guna at The Point Depot. Fluent in both Irish and French, Mary worked in the RTE newsroom before going on to host Open House with Marty Whelan, and was the regular presenter on Up For The Match and the People of The Year Awards. She's still going strong, helming Nationwide alongside her former newsroom colleague, Anne Cassin.
You can't talk about Irish television without mentioning Colette Fitzpatrick. This lady burst on to our screens back in 2001 as a fresh faced newscaster and occasional presenter on TV3's Ireland AM. Since then the highly qualified journalist has gone on to anchor panel show Midday, and prime time current affairs show Midweek, while still managing to squeeze in a few news bulletins along the way.
Love her or loathe her, Adele King has been a staple of Irish telly since before most of us here in the office were born. She starred in her own TV series, Twink, in the 1960s before joining Play The Game, and making appearances on various variety shows throughout the years. We'll always remember her for that infamous Mickey incident, and the Late Late 50th Anniversary piss up...
Ah Mim. Sure doesn't she host everything under the sun these days eh? RTE loved the Prime Time presenter so much that they gave her her own chat show for the summer, and never looked back. Love it or hate it, it's there year in year out. A Law Graduate, O'Callaghan trained as a producer at the BBC in London before being headhunted by RTE in the early 1990s. She came on board to present economics and business programme Marketplace in 1993, before taking her place at the helm of Prime Time in 1996.
The only actress among the bunch, Mary McEvoy makes our list of TV icons because we couldn't talk about women in Irish telly without mentioning Biddy from Glenroe. For years Mary graced our TV screens, making every Sunday night that little bit more special. Of course she's also a highly intelligent woman, and regularly offers her two cents on TV3's Midday, while making the odd guest appearance as Bernard's mam on Republic of Telly. We LOVE a woman who isn't afraid to have a good laugh at herself.
Grainne and Sile Seoige
You can't talk TV without mentioning the Seoige sisters, and yes, they come as a pair. Grainne first came to out attention as a young journalist on TG4, where she read the inaugural news bulletin. She joined TV3 in 1998, establishing herself as one of the station's icons before moving on to Sky News Ireland, RTE and ITV's Daybreak (in that order). If there was a show to be presented, you'd find her at the helm, and at one stage she was joined by younger sister Sile, who became a star in her own right. Think of them as Ireland's answer to the Judds, y'know, without the singing and the drama. And a crackin sense of humor, wha?
Speaking of ladies who've toed the line between TV3 and RTE while doing a million other things in between, Claire Byrne is fast becoming one of the most accomplished women on Irish telly. The talented broadcaster worked with Channel 5 in the UK and TV3, had a highly successful career in radio and went on to co-host RTE's The Daily Show with Daithi O'Se before joining Miriam O'Callaghan and Pat Kenny on the Prime Time team.
Honourable Mentions: Thelma Mansfield, Kathleen Watkins, Jennifer Maguire, Kathryn Thomas, Jean Costello, Geraldine Plunkett, Charlie Murphy, Ger Ryan, Pauline McGlynn, Moira Deady, Anna Daly, Mairead Farrell, Blathnaid Ní Chofaigh, Sheana Keane, Maura Derrane, Lucy Kennedy, Laura Woods, Amanda Byram, Anne Cassin, Eileen Dunne, Eileen Whelan, Una O'Hagan, Sinead Kennedy and the one and only Pat Leavy.