The 2010 Irish Blog Awards take place in Galway next Saturday (27 March), and most of the finalists were announced last week. To my amazement, Sentence first made the cut in the Specialist category, which is sponsored by iQ Content. There are 5–6 finalists in each of 22 categories; the other blogs in the Specialist category are Ronan Lyons, Bicyclistic, Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer, Etsy Ireland, and Organic Growing Pains. I’m honoured to be alongside them, and I wish them the best of luck!
Though I’ve never been involved in the IBA before, it seems in the main to be a spirited and informal celebration of Irish blogging in all its diversity and quality — a way to bring the community together and to encourage the exploration of other Irish and Ireland-related blogs. I’ve been browsing the shortlist and the earlier (not-so) shortlist and finding interesting sites of all shapes and subjects, many of which I might otherwise not have encountered. It will be good to meet their creators.
I’m also looking forward to meeting the people behind the blogs I’m more familiar with — writers I’ve been reading and enjoying for months or more. One of these is Irish artist (and co-finalist) Eolaí, who will be exhibiting new paintings on the night and who wrote very kindly about Sentence first. And it will be a chance to meet more of my fellow Culchies. (I contribute film articles to Culch.ie, which is a finalist in the Pop culture category.)
Big thanks to the judges and organisers, especially Damien, who volunteer so much time and effort to make it happen. A good way to support the awards is to spread the word, and to attend if you can. There is more information here, including an option to buy tickets in advance. Other events of interest are: Twestival Galway, which takes place at 19.00 on Thursday (25 March) in support of Concern; and on Saturday there is a Photo Walk at 11.00, a Meetforeal brunch at noon, and a Ladies’ Tea Party at 16.00. Whether or not you’re on Twitter, you can keep track of proceedings via the hashtag #IBA10.
Finally: if you’re at the blog awards, do say hello. I look more or less like my avatar, but with a beard, and in colour.
Update (29 March 2010): Eolaí won! I’m so pleased about this. The other blogs in the Specialist category (see paragraph 1) are all excellent, but Bicyclistic is a deserving winner. It is always a treat to read and look upon, and its creator is a very talented and dedicated artist, whom I finally had the pleasure of meeting. His acceptance speech was humble, heartfelt, and (I think) subtly humorous.
Forms and colours come to life through Eolaí’s brushwork, and he does us an honour by sharing glimpses of the world he sees. Even when he’s taking a break from painting — to walk the dog, watch the birds or make more tea — he keeps painting, or thinking about it. But Bicyclistic offers more than paintings; it is a broad canvas that accommodates many fine photos from Dublin and further afield, along with stories from a life lived in rich appreciation of the endless natural beauty that surrounds us.
Thanks again and very well done to the Irish Blog Awards team. It was a night of fun, good cheer, and wanton abuse of polystyrene props; Rick O’Shea, who presented the event, was a class act; and I got the chance to meet many bloggers I knew and didn’t know, though I missed just as many: when the teenage pop music hit top volume, I escaped upstairs in order to be able to keep talking with people without having to shout into their ears.
The final results are listed here — congrats to the winners and all the participants! A special mention goes to Culch.ie, which won Best Pop Culture blog despite my forays into obscure foreign films and the silent film era. The last word goes to the taxi driver who asked me what was happening in the Radisson Hotel.
“The Irish Blog Awards,” I said.
“The Irish what awards?”
“For internet geeks.”
“Oh, I see.”
Apparently Allan had virtually the same conversation with another driver. If taxi drivers have their fingers on the pulse of a nation, Irish blogging might be in trouble after all. But I don’t think so.