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An unforgetable experience

She may not have brought home the crown but Ballinruan’s Róisín Rodgers, who represented Clare Macra in this year’s International Miss Macra competition, says the experience is one she will never forget. She shares her experience at the recent competition in Tipperary.

 

THE first day of the competition I arrived bursting with excitement to be heading to the 42nd International Miss Macra Festival as the Clare Macra na Feirme representative and looking forward to what promised to be an action-packed and thoroughly enjoyable weekend. That it surely was!

All 22 contestants arrived at 12noon in the luxurious Dundrum House Hotel in County Tipperary. On arrival, we were welcomed by the International Miss Macra Committee, Clonoulty Rossmore Macra and members of the adjudicating panel. Contestants were presented with their sashs, name badges and official photos were taken. Contestants also had lunch with the National Macra Na Feirme president, Kieran O’Dowd from Sligo.

Then it was on to the world-renowned Coolmore Stud for a full tour of this impressive 3,400 acre estate owned by trainer Aidan O’Brien. Here contestants were given the real inside view of Coolmore, got to meet staff, see many of the state-of-the-art equine facilities and meet some of the world’s most famous race horses. The highlight of course was getting to meet the world’s most famous racehorse, Galileo, valued at €41 million. For someone who has a keen equestrian interest this, to me, was a dream come true, a once-in-a-lifetime experience which words cannot express.

Next it was on to Clonoulty Rossmore Community Centre where contestants had an action packed evening of zumba dancing. Then it was time to meet our host families for the weekend. The hospitality and generosity that we received was second to none and my host family were amazing. I felt truly honoured and privileged to be part of such a close-knit community in Clonoulty Rossmore and Dundrum.

Friday night kicked off the first of the weekend’s celebrations with a beach-theme fancy dress disco.
Saturday morning saw all of the contestants put through their paces with their private interviews with the panel of three judges. Following this, contestants took part in rehearsals for their on-stage interview for Saturday night’s live cabaret. That afternoon was the annual South Tipp raft race which took place in Golden, where Macra clubs from around the country took part and Miss Macra contestants cheered on teams eagerly.

That night the contestants had their live on-stage interviews with Mike Egan MC. I sang My Lovely Rose Of Clare while accompanying myself on the harp. Contestants then danced and partied the night away.
On Sunday all contestants attended The International Miss Macra mass at 11.30am, celebrated by Rev Fr Egan in Clonoulty Parish Church. Afterwards contestants took part in a Blast From The Past Sports Day in Clonoulty Rossmore GAA grounds where all contestants wore their county jersey.

That night saw the highlight of the festival as it drew to a close with the International Miss Macra Gala Banquet Ball in the Dundrum House Hotel, attended by approximately 300 guests. On arrival we were welcomed to a champagne reception, official photos were taken followed by a five-course meal. Each contestant on the night was presented with a memorandum piece of jewellery.

It was a true honour and privilege to represent the Banner County and put Clare Macra Na Feirme on the map nationwide. I am extremely grateful to have been selected as the Clare representative and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the 42nd International Miss Macra Festival.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I have made friends for life and I would love to re-live every moment of it all over again.

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