Galway singer Julie Feeney was the surprise winner of Ireland's inaugural Choice Music Prize, announced during a ceremony at Dublin's Vicar Street music venue last night (Feb. 28). Ahead of the gala,

Galway singer Julie Feeney was the surprise winner of Ireland's inaugural Choice Music Prize, announced during a ceremony at Dublin's Vicar Street music venue last night (Feb. 28). Ahead of the gala, BellX1 and Hal were installed as the bookie's favorites.

Unheard of a year ago, the classically-trained chanteuse scooped the prize and was presented with the €10,000 ($12,000) winner's check, courtesy of industry bodies IMRO and IRMA. The award also includes €5,000 ($5,900) worth of advertising on national radio station Today FM.

Remarkably, the singer has no record label and no manager -- she released her self-titled debut album herself last year.

The prize -- awarded to the best Irish album of the year -- is voted for by a panel of 12 industry professionals from the print and broadcast media.