- 17 Nov 21
John Francis Flynn and Ye Vagabonds were the big winners on the night – with both acts earning two awards each.
Following last year's virtual ceremony, the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards returned to Vicar Street on Tuesday night – to celebrate the very best in Irish folk music.
Given the restrictions on live music and gatherings over the past 20 months, there was a palpable air of celebration, as some of the country's finest and most innovative folk musicians – as well as their friends, families and fans – gathered in the Dublin venue. The President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins was also in attendance, earning one of the mightiest cheers of the night as he took his seat.
Hosted by presenters John Creedon and Ruth Smith, the night featured performances from a selection of nominees and other lauded acts – including Dundalk group The Mary Wallopers, Scottish singer-songwriter Eddie Reader, Kíla, Alannah Thornburgh, The Breath, Clare Sands, Greenshine, John Francis Flynn, Stephanie Makem, Susan O'Neill & Mick Flannery and John Spillane.
Farah Elle and Liam Ó Maonlaí also performed a special commission, 'Strange Boat', that explored the theme of displacement.
John Francis Flynn, who was crowned both Best Emerging Artist and Best Folk Singer, was presented with his first award by The Cobblestone's Tom Mulligan. In his acceptance speech, Flynn stressed the important role The Cobblestone has played in providing a space for the current generation of Irish folk musicians to form their own community.
The likes of Anne Enright and Cait O'Riordan were also on hand to present awards – with Damien Dempsey delivering a particularly moving speech about Christy Moore, who was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award. In a special video, Ed Sheeran, Bernadette Devlin McAliskey and more congratulated the legendary Co. Kildare singer-songwriter.
Moore also treated fans to the final two songs of the night – 'Johnny Boy' and 'Lisdoonvarna' – which brought the night to a joyously raucous conclusion.
A television highlights programme of the Folk Awards will air on RTÉ One on Saturday, November 20. See the full list of winners below:
- Best Emerging Artist: John Francis Flynn
- Best Folk Instrumentalist: Caoimhín Ó Fearghail
- Best Original Folk Track: Chain Reaction – Mick Flannery and Susan O’Neill
- Best Traditional Folk Track: I’m a Rover – Ye Vagabonds
- Best Folk Group: Ye Vagabonds
- Best Folk Singer: John Francis Flynn
- Best Folk Album: Solas an Lae – Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin and Ultan O’Brien
- Hall of Fame: Sarah Makem
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Christy Moore