Astoria, N.Y. -- Six women competed last Saturday for the honor of representing 'Mary from Dungloe' this summer at the annual pageant, an event at the heart of Donegal's 'Mary from Dungloe International Festival.
Delighted to be at the table of fellow member Tom Dullaghan and his gracious aunt, Down native Jean Malone, Mary Grady, my sweetheart, and I were enthralled at the scope, organization, energy, earnestness and sheer charm of the New York 'Mary from Dungloe' Gala Dance, an event that has endured since 1978. Our table was rooting for Tom's niece, 22-year-old Donegal native Olivia Dullaghan, who alas didn't finish in the money.
The New York 'Mary from Dungloe' for 2014 is 19-year-old nursing student Aimee Coyle, whose parents emigrated from Meenaleck and Knockfola, County Donegal. Cheryl Ann McCullagh, 22, whose parents hail from Plumbridge, County Tyrone, was selected to represent New York in the 2015 pageant. (The New York event is held bi-ennially.)
Here are some highlights.