Brilliant night as Donegal’s Mary from Dungloe International Festival selects ‘Donegal, Gaeltacht and Dungloe Marys’

Matt Britton

Reporter:

Matt Britton

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matt.britton@donegaldemocrat.com

Brilliant night as Donegal’s Mary from Dungloe International Festival selects ‘Gaeltacht and Dungloe Marys’

Sheer joys for two sisters, Rachel and Lauren Doherty .

The Democrat's Matt Britton along with the reigning Mary from Dungloe Eva Ní Dhoiblinn along with Donegal Mary, Niamh Gavigan, Dungloe Mary Rachel Doherty and Gaeltacht Mary Courtney at Saturday night's finals. INDD 2105 Mary WEB 1 MVB

The Waterfront Hotel in Dungloe was awash with glamour and brimming with atmosphere and expectation last night (Saturday) for the county finals of the Mary From Dungloe International Festival.

With huge interest in what is this year’s 50th festival, there was a palpable air of excitement in the hotel as contestants and their families gathered to see the style and listen to the contestants.

While all the girls were wonderful, there have to be winners selected and tough as this difficult job was, the decision made saw three top class entrants come through as winners.

The lovely Niamh Gavigan from Kilcar was selected as the Donegal Mary. A student of English and drama at University College Dublin, Niamh is a familiar face in Killybegs where she works part time with Rooney’s Centra in the harbour town.

Another familiar face to followers of marching bands, Courtney Boyle, the band leader with All Ireland Champions Maghery, was chosen to represent An Gaeltacht - no doubt music to the ears of all in the coastal parish.

Rachel Doherty from Meendrain, a keen runner, was chosen as the Dungloe Mary. Three months ago Rachel and her sister Laura ran in the gruelling Cara 10 mile Challenge. Last night in the Waterfront Hotel, they were celebrating when Rachel was selected as this year's Dungloe entrant for the Mary of Dungloe International Festival.

Rachel, who works in the hospitality industry at the Waterfront Hotel, told the Democrat, “My sister Laura and I have been working with various aspects of mental health. It is something we are both passionate about and when we read about the Cara 10 race, we decided to just  go for it.

“We ran it for the Jigsaw organisation and succeeded in raising €800 sponsorship for charity - it might be small but hopefully it made some difference.

“It was quite funny really - we had been training for the 10k but started at the wrong time - we ended up in the middle of all the ten milers but sure we just went for it!”

Outstanding success

Meanwhile, Martina Boyle Diver, one of the organisers of last night’s event said, “Tonight was a great success, much more so than we had anticipated. The calibre of all the girls who put their name forward was just superb - it can take a lot of courage to put yourself out in public but each and everyone of these girls have done themselves and their families proud. I can just feel it - this year’s festival is going to be an  outstanding success.”