Waterford’s Anna Manahan became just the second woman to be conferred the honour of Freedom of the City at a ceremony in City Hall last weekend, 19th April 2002.

Cllr. O’Neill formally proposed that Ms. Manahan be admitted Honoris Causa to the Freedom of the City of Waterford. Ald. Daniels seconded the resolution and then,
the Council having adopted the proposition, Mayor of Waterford, Ald. Hilary Quinlan invited Ms. Manahan to sign the roll of freedom.
 The scroll was then signed by both the Mayor and the City Manager, Mr. Breen, who placed the scroll in a casket, together with a specially engraved pen, and presented it to the actress.

Anna Manahan’s name on the freedom roll joins such notables as Eamon deValera, Andrew Carnegie and John Redmond as well as sports heroes, John Treacy and Sean Kelly. Former President of Ireland, Mrs. Mary Robinson was the first woman to receive the honour. In her acceptance speech, Ms. Manahan spoke fondly about her native city and her pride in receiving its highest award. “I never thought I’d receive this honour, I thought it was beyond my reach but the people of Waterford wished me to have it, they wanted it for me. They say no man is a prophet in his country, but I say with respect, except in Waterford. To be the first Waterford woman to receive this honour is awe-inspiring - it is the crown of my life,” she said. In his introduction to the ceremony, Mayor Quinlan stated that Ms. Manahan was a unique citizen who in the course of her career has been an Ambassador for Ireland and in particular her native city. “Anna has never forgotten her roots in Waterford and has availed of every opportunity to promote her native city and demonstrate her love for it.”

Proposing the resolution, Cllr. O’Neill paid tribute to Ms. Manahan’s career.
“The essence is that Anna Manahan did not just act the roles but lived the lives of the characters she played. This unique honour, bestowed by the City of Waterford, is reserved solely for those who show excellence in a particular field. Anna Manahan has achieved this excellence through her acting career and done so proudly as a daughter of Waterford.”

Ald. Daniels reiterated the Deputy Mayor’s sentiments stating that Ms. Manahan’s acting is of the highest quality, and recognised by fellow actors in winning a Tony award. He said that at the height of her international acclaim, Anna had ‘always, and proudly, not just maintained her links with Waterford but promoted all that is good and positive about her native city.”

Copyright © 2006 Waterford History