There were celebrations in Macra communities across the country as Miss Macra finalists were welcomed home.

Members of Freemount Macra in Cork’s Avondhu region were over the moon when club member Sinéad Guiney was crowned this year’s winner in Thurles, Co Tipperary.

And in the host county, there was great delight when Josephine (OC) O’Dwyer of Dundrum Macra, South Tipperary, was crowned runner-up.

Aileen Sheehan of Berrings Macra, representing the Muskerry region in Co Cork, was third.

Sinéad held the position of club treasurer at Freemount from 2013 to 2015 and is involved in many Macra events and competitions.

She has won titles in Capers, senior debating, and National Talent Competition set-dancing.

Sinéad volunteers in her local community hospital and has acted as a carer in Lourdes and as a teacher in The Gambia.

Sinéad is also interested in traditional music and has been to Poland, Sweden, and England to play. She has also represented Ireland in the European Parliament.

OC is her club secretary and has said that this officership has helped improve her organisation and communication skills which stood to her when applying for her current job.

OC’s family is also involved in Macra — her brother won Mr Personality in 2014.

She has travelled around the country attending black-tie balls, Capers events, and farm skills competitions.

OC is very involved in GAA, playing camogie with Éire Óg and football with Cappawhite. She currently helps coach the underage players. OC also won the All-Ireland 2014 churn-racing championships.

Aileen is almost finished her second year as club PRO and has previously spent two years on the sports and social committee.

Aileen’s club has been very successful in competitions, having won Club of the Year, a Capers All-Ireland, and two All-Ireland indoor soccer competitions.

Aileen has also climbed Kilimanjaro for the Irish Heart Foundation and has participated in two white-collar boxing events representing Berrings Macra in aid of local charities.

Aileen follows in the footsteps of her mother, who was runner-up in the 1984 International Miss Macra Festival.

The names of the winners were announced in front of a record crowd of some 250 guests at a gala finale banquet in the Anner Hotel.

Earlier that day, all 22 International Miss Macra 2016 contestants had attended Mass in the parish church in Clonoulty-Rossmore and afterwards took part in a community family fun day.

Given the very difficult task of selecting the 45th International Miss Macra winners were Joan Pollard Carew, representing sponsors Michael Carew Jewellers; Geraldine Henchion of Tipp FM; and Declan Ryan, president of the Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra.

Speaking at the banquet, festival chairwoman Anne Marie Lyng praised the outgoing 2015 winner and runners-up. She said last year’s winners Susan Willis, Julie Muldowney, and Helen Hayes “had shown total dedication in their promotion of Macra principals and Macra clubs throughout the length and breadth of Ireland and abroad”.

The three-day festival is understood to have generated €300,000 for the Tipperary economy.


Lifestyle

Can you imagine Spanish churros, Moroccan tagines or even Christmas cakes without its fragrant taste?MIchelle Darmody: Warm smells of cinnamon

Rachel Howard visits the South Moravia region to sample this eastern European country’s finest tipples.They’re big on beer but could the Czech Republic be raising a glass to wine tourism too?

Lisa Salmon catches up with a cardiologist, who explains how a patient’s own stem cells can repair damage from heart disease and heart failure.How stem cells are mending broken hearts

Hannah Stephenson discovers America’s dark past and Martin Luther King’s vision for its future by following the civil rights trail.Charting America’s path to freedom on a road trip through the Deep South

More From The Irish Examiner