Miss Eiblish Maher (International Miss Macra Festival PRO) Reports.
As the 2014 August bank holiday draws ever closer, we find ourselves glimpsing the last remnants of our Irish Summer. That agreed, there now remains that impulse, found within all of us, to complete at least one great ‘last hurrah’ before our Summer season once again fades to Autumn.
So if you are looking for a fun and unique party event in which to participate, why not visit the 2014 International Miss Macra Festival, taking place in less than two weeks time from Aug 1st – Aug 3rd inclusive, at the luxury Dundrum House Hotel, Dundrum, Thurles, Co Tipperary.
This year will celebrate the 43rd anniversary of the International Miss Macra Festival, superbly organised as always by the Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra na Feirme club, here in Co Tipperary.
Calendar of forthcoming Macra Festival events for 2014.
Friday: The festival will kick-start on Friday August 1st when this year’s 21 contestants will meet the Festival Committee in the grounds of the luxury Dundrum House Hotel; beginning midday. Dundrum House Hotel, often described as an ‘Irish Oasis’ set in the heart of Tipperary’s Golden Vale, creates the perfect location for those intent on seeking relaxation and fun. The competitors will then be taken on a tour of the world renowned Coolmore Stud Farm, followed by a ‘Zumba Secession’ in Clonoulty Community Hall. Later that evening the girls will meet up with their host families. The tradition of the contestants staying with host families is very strong within the local community and Macra are extremely grateful for their generosity and commitment by our host families over the past 43 years. This year the Friday night will be a themed disco and what more fitting a theme this year than ‘Farmer Style,’ (Make sure you all have your peaked caps, dungarees and steel capped rubber boots at the ready.)
Saturday: The contestants will awaken early on Saturday morning for their interviews with this year’s competent judges. There are three judges; (1) Declan Ryan who has held every officership on our festival committee, including Chairman throughout the years and is currently the President of Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra club. Joining him will be; (2) Joan Pollard Carew, renowned poet and well known patron of Irish dancing. Joan is also the wife of Michael Carew, of Michael’s Jewellers fame who sponsors annually the second prize in our festival and who has contributed greatly to same in terms of resources, time and advice. This year we are proud to announce that there will be a new judge; (3) joining us will be Caroline Kinane from Tipp FM Radio and we wish her the very best of luck with the tough task of selecting International Miss Macra 2014.
After the interviews on Saturday, the contestants will again have a chance to relax at the annual South Tipperary Macra Raft Race, which will take place in the neighbouring village of Golden at 4.00pm sharp. This activity is mainly for assembled Macra supporters who don a life jacket and make their county proud as the person – made rafts battle the river currents. (Trust me the historic St.Brendan’s voyage wasn’t a patch on this major upcoming event.)
Saturday night will see the girls dressed in their finest; ascend the stage for the cabaret. Mike Egan, previous Macra member, will interview the girls two at the time in front of a marquee full of supporters, friends and family. Once the cabaret is finished the contestants can enjoy themselves, with their supporters, in the Venue to the band ‘Lebowski.’
Sunday: Sunday morning sees the girls attend Church in the local parish of Clonoulty. Afterwards, there will be a Macra family fun and sports day, followed by a barbecue. The contestants will proudly wear their county colours as they battle it out through a custom built Macra obstacle course, complete with parallel Tractor Parking (toy) and a demonstration on Friesian Cow milking (cardboard).
Immediately after these sports, the preparations for the Miss Macra Annual Ball will commence. There will be a hairdresser, Tara and others, on site for each contestants and female committee members. Photographs of the girls plus their escorts will be taken by the festival photographer, beginning at 6.00pm sharp. This will be then followed by a ‘Champagne Reception,’ and a Five Course Banquet which will takes place in the Dundrum House Banqueting Suite.
Following the Banquet and after dinner speeches the band ‘Memphis’ will take to the stage to begin the dancing, until the bewitching hour of 12.00 midnight when the judges will announce this year’s winner, together with those adjudged as taking second and third place. The crowned winner and runners up will then have their photographs taken with the main sponsors of the festival.
Now with the winner crowned; the festival now draws to a close, as the committee breathe a sigh of relief, proud of their many months spent planning, as the entire ballroom fills with Macra and non-Macra members who will continue to dance late into the night.