Barrowhouse student Teresa Brennan is the newly crowned 2012 Queen of the Land, having beated off 25 other contestants from all corners of Ireland.
Teresa spoke to the Leinster Express this week from Galway where she is back studying to be a Gaelscoil teacher.
“It was a huge surprise, I didn’t think I was up for a chance. I had a brilliant weekend, and it was a shock to win, we were so excited,” said Teresa, a member of the young East Laois Macra club. Her club members and family including parents Bernadette and Ignatious joined her on stage for tearful celebrations after the announcement was made.
The annual festival, sponsored by FBD, is open to all Macra na Feirme clubs, and is on the for for 48 years.
Much more than a beauty contest, organisers say it is primarily based on personality, with winners also judged on their rural knowledge and elocution. The judges included the 2011 Queen Bernie Woods, Joe Healy, a former Macra president and livestock editor for the farming independent, and Amanda Brennan from FBD Tullamore.
The contestants and their escorts enjoyed a festival weekend packed with entertainment, music and fun, though it had its serious moments too, with a 20 minute private grilling from judges, and indeed Mass on Sunday morning with the Tullamore Gospel Choir.
“It was a brilliant weekend, the highlight was getting to meet clubs from around Ireland. The private interview with the judges was tough enough, the on-stage interview was more about yourself, but it was nerve wracking, there were 1200 people there on Saturday night,” says Teresa, whose Macra awards in public speaking and debating were sure to have stood to her.
She is anticipating a busy year ahead, fulfilling her official duties as Queen of the Land.
“I am really looking forward to it, the entire club are,” she said.
The East Laois club meet monthly in Ballylinan. Find them on facebook.