Herald's George is honoured with bursary at Liberties Festival
MUSIC enthusiast and film critic George Byrne (right) would have been "very proud" of the new student bursary, worth €8,000, announced in his honour in the Liberties last night, his family have said.
Details of the bursary were unveiled at the launch of the 45th annual Liberties Festival, which was attended by members of George's family, including his parents Mick and Kay and sister Andrea.
The bursary is aimed at helping students of journalism, music and cooking, reflecting some of George's many loves.
The bursary will see students being granted a sum of between €500 to €1,000 towards their education.
The much-loved Herald writer died earlier this year at the age of 57 following a short illness.
Last month a concert was held in Whelan's called Celebrating George, which was attended by his family and friends, and the money raised from the gig has gone into a bursary which has been set up in his name.
George's close friend Paul O'Mahony, who was one of the organisers of the gig, paid tribute to the journalist last night.
"He was an incredible person. I knew him for over 30 years," he said.
He recalled that George was his first friend when he moved from Cork to Dublin and they had stayed friends down through the years.
"We ended up writing for Hot Press together and various other publications," he said..
"He went on to write for the Herald and the Irish Independent and was just such a fantastic, individual character," he said.
"He had one of the sharpest wits I have ever known," he said at the launch of the festival in St Catherine's Church, Thomas Street.
"George was born and raised in the Liberties, and he lived just down the road here, until April when he passed away and he will always be remembered around Dublin and in this area," Mr O'Mahony said.
Speaking afterwards to the Herald about the new bursary, Mick Byrne said his son would have been "proud" of it.
Festival director Michael Conlon confirmed grants will be available for students starting college later this year.
Meanwhile, Lord Mayor Cliona Ni Dhalaigh launched the festival, which runs until next Saturday.
"I think it is evident here tonight that the spirit of the people in the Liberties is alive and kicking," she said.
Some 40 events will be presented in 16 venues in the heart of the city, with 80pc of completely free of charge.
Details of how eligible students, who are resident in Dublin, can apply for the financial assistance will be on two websites from August 3, see: libertiesfestival.com and www.siccda.ie.