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Outgoing Miss Ireland Pamela Uba congratulates Ivanna McMahon (27) from Barefield.

‘Absolutely surreal’ says Ennis doctor on Miss Ireland win

A CLARE doctor who worked in a hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic has been crowned the new Miss Ireland.

Ivanna McMahon, 27, from Barefield told The Champion she is “over the moon” to have taken the title at 75th Miss Ireland competition which was held on Saturday at The Royal Theatre, Castlebar.

Ivanna, who qualified for the competition as Miss Munster, will now go on to represent Ireland in Miss World later this year. Speaking to the Clare Champion Ivanna says she is thrilled with the win, though she admits it came as a surprise.

“I’m absolutely delighted, I’m still a little bit in shock. It was definitely a surprise, absolutely surreal, but I’m absolutely thrilled.”

Cheering her on at the ceremony were her proud parents Catherine and Brian alongside other family and friends.

“It was brilliant having them there supporting me. I can’t get over the overwhelming amount of support and well wishes that everyone has given me, from the fellow contestants that were competing with me – they’re all just wonderful, amazing girls, so talented and so supportive – to my friends and family at home and abroad.”

Ivanna studied medicine at University College Cork and graduated in 2020, going on to do her internship at Cork University Hospital. She then went to University Hospital Tralee to work in surgery, working in the GP Scheme at Tralee General Hospital throughout the pandemic. She explained that it was working during this difficult time that led her to the decision to enter the competition, saying she wanted to have “no regrets”.

“I graduated in 2020, they pushed forward our graduation so that we could come out and start working with everybody during the pandemic.

“That was quite a tough time, it was stressful but I was absolutely delighted to be able to take part in it.

“Everyone in healthcare, but also outside of healthcare that worked during the pandemic, I just think they are all absolutely amazing. The whole country really banded together.

“After working during the pandemic it really pushed me to do everything I want to do in life, to try and have no regrets. I wanted to push myself to do something completely different that I never would have done before.”

Before entering the competition the closest she had got to any type of modelling was a school fashion show at Gaelcholaiste an Chláir, she told the Champion.

“This is my first time ever doing anything like this any type of pageants or photo shoots or anything similar, but I’m absolutely thrilled that I did, and obviously so delighted with the results.

“The only time I’ve ever been in a modelling show was in secondary school, that was my only ever show so this is all completely new to me. And I love it.”
Ivanna is now taking a well-deserved year out from her medical career.

“I’m so excited for all that’s to come now in the future with Miss Ireland. I’m sure I’m going to have a great time.”

She is looking forward to representing Ireland in Miss World and continuing her ongoing fundraising and support for charities Variety Ireland Children’s Charity and the Irish Red Cross in Clare.

She explained that Miss Ireland contestants were asked to raise funds and awareness for Variety as well as a charity they felt strongly about as part of the competition’s emphasis on ‘Beauty with a Purpose’.

She says she is “really excited” to continue working to highlight the work of these charities throughout the year.

“I just want to say thank you so much to everyone in Clare for all their support. And I’m so so proud to be a Clare. Up the banner.”

A talented musician, Ivanna wowed guests on Friday night at the Miss Ireland Diamond ball with her performance Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine on the harp.

She started playing the harp at the age of 13 and has played with the National Irish Harp Orchestra  and toured Germany and Austria. 

She also plays six other instruments including the drums, harmonica, fiddle, bodhrán and tin whistle and has won all Ireland Championships for drums and harmonica.  Ivanna is also a fluent Irish speaker.  

Ivanna was crowned by Pamela Uba as she bade an emotional farewell to her year as Miss Ireland and looks forward to a glittering career ahead.

The 37 finalists this year were put through their paces in a challenging competitive process over the last three months testing their skills in debating, public speaking, talent, sports, modelling, social media and each finalist was tasked with raising much-needed awareness and funds for their chosen charities. 

The over-riding theme this year for Miss Ireland, sponsored by TanOrganic, was ‘Our World Our Future’ with a focus on the environment and global citizenship.  

“We are so proud and grateful to sponsor this year’s Miss Ireland. This year’s theme ‘Our World Our Future’ completely aligns with our brand” said Noelle O’Connor, Creator and Founder of TanOrganic “Eco, ethical and sustainability are at the core of everything we do. Working with the contestants to make a difference for a better world and future has been a joy.

Established in 1947, Miss Ireland has been the launch pad for many eminent, successful, and inspiring women in Ireland.  In recent years the Miss Ireland Franchise has raised over €351,220 for various charities.

Ivanna received a lucrative agency contract and a host of prizes including jewellery, gowns, professional photo shoots, beauty and hair products and will jet off to represent her country at the Miss World Festival which is televised in over 100 countries around the world.   She will also enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to the Maldives to do a photoshoot later in the autumn.

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