The 50th anniversary of the International Miss Macra took place in the Anner Hotel, Thurles, over the August bank holiday weekend. Eighteen women from all over Ireland travelled to Tipperary to take part in the three-day festival run by Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra.
The contestants boarded Glasheen’s bus to drive to the Fethard Horse Country Experience before heading to Coolmore Stud for a tour. Afterwards, the contestants had lunch in The Rock House, Cashel, before returning to Clonoulty Community Hall for ice-breaker games and to meet their host families.
That night, a charity event was held in local pub Coffey’s of Stouke, where over €400 was raised for ‘Kick it for Corey’.
That morning, the contestants had to rise early for their private interviews with the adjudication panel and MC Valerie Wheeler of Spin South-West Radio.
After the interviews had concluded, a reunion lunch was held thanks to sponsorship from Tipperary Co-operative. Former winners travelled from all over the island for the reunion, including the first ever Miss Macra, Dolly Fahy, who won in 1972. They were joined by the founders of the festival, the adjudication panel and committee members.
That night, the 2022 contestants took to the stage in the Anner Hotel ballroom for their on-stage interviews at the Contestant Cabaret, sponsored by Templetuohy Farm Machinery.
Following the on-stage interviews, all contestants were presented with a rose from Cashel Flowers and then danced the night away to music from The Music Makers and a DJ.
The contestants attended mass in Clonoulty Church, followed by a sports day and BBQ in Clonoulty GAA fields.
That night, the contestants in their ballgowns, along with the escorts in their tuxedos, had a champagne reception and official photos by Richie Sheehy Photography.
Later, they were welcomed into a packed Anner Hotel ballroom, where they were presented with a gift from contestant sponsor Michael Carew Jewellers before sitting down for a four-course gala banquet, attended by Macra president John Keane, Macra Munster VP Elaine Houlihan, host families, sponsors, founding members of the festival and supporters.
Following speeches and a presentation to festival founders Tom Horan, Michael Slattery and Mary Heffernan, who was representing her husband Paddy Heffernan (RIP), there was music from Silver Dollar and a DJ.
Shortly after midnight, the contestants were brought back into the packed ballroom for the winners announcement.
Third place, sponsored by Tipperary Co-operative, was awarded to Clodagh Rosemary Morgan, who was representing Louth. Second place, sponsored by FBD, was awarded to Niamh Casey who was representing Galway.
Of the 18 contestants, Amanda O’Sullivan of Banteer Macra, representing Avondhu, was crowned the winner, taking over from International Miss Macra 2019 Margaret Byrne of Carlow, who had reigned for three years due to Covid-19 Thank you to the Anner Hotel who was first place sponsor.
After a two-year hiatus, bringing back the festival post-Covid, with the added pressure and costs of the 50th anniversary and rising inflation, was very daunting.
Without support, we have no doubt that our return would not have been possible and we would like to sincerely thank our sponsors: Michael’s Jewellers, Templetuohy Farm Machinery, Tipperary Co-operative, Anner Hotel, FBD Insurance, Cashel Mart, Gleeson’s Quarries, Mid-Tipp Mart, Philip T Ryan Insurance, Credit Union, Centenary Cooperative Thurles, Drombane Coop, AIB, O’Dwyer Steel, Stakelums Home & Hardware, Stakelum Office Supplies, Premier Bathroom & Tiles, Breen’s Farm Machinery, Sarah Merrigan Tractor & Machinery Spares and Denis Kinane Motors.