Emma, who works for Aras na Gaeilge in Galway, won the colourful title in Crosshaven, Co Cork, over the weekend after entering the competition on a whim.
“I can’t believe I won. It is just a great opportunity. I will be doing events with the Irish Cancer Society and the St Patrick’s day parade and there is talk of us going to the International Redhead Convention in the Netherlands. When you have red hair, when you are young you want to fit in or you rebel against it. But I grew up to eventually appreciate my hair. And there are young kids here today with red hair and they are proud of it.”
Father-of-three Andy O’Neill, from Kilkenny, was named King of the Redheads. His three daughters wondered if this made them princesses by default and it was agreed that they could take on the honorary titles.
Organiser Joeleen Cronin said Crosshaven was a hive of activity over the weekend with activities such as fast and foxy speed dating which they called their own “conservation project”, the Grand Redhead Parade lead by the Carrigaline Pipe Band, Vinyasa Foxy Yoga, Redheads V Gingers tug of war, the MOGO (Music of Ginger Origin) Awards, the world’s largest red head Céilí dance and the coronation of the new King and Queen of Redheads.
“It’s been going great. I have even lost my voice. The crowning of the King and Queen of the redheads was the highlight,”says Joleen.
The Terrins-Egan family from Galway were named the best redhead family while the best redhead granny Debbie Murphy hails from Atlanta in Georgia. She is currently staying with family in Myrtleville having been given the gift of a flight to Ireland for Christmas in order to attend.
The best redhead Dad award went to Willie Bermingham from Co Meath who says everything in his house is red or ginger. He named his daughter Ruby and has a passion for all things red especially fire engines.
The best redhead mum award went to Sheila Kingston of Shanakiel, Co Cork. Sheila is mother to three beautiful redheads and spends her life “armed with factor 50.”
The festivities also included the “Red Olympics” at Myrtleville Beach with Team Foxyfest taking gold.
More than 2,500 people attended the festival with redheads travelling from as far away as Australia, Hawaii, and Canada for the event.