Ballinagore's Karen Elliffe claimed 52nd annual W.R Shaw Queen of the Land Festival crown in the Bridge House, Tullamore, this weekend.
Karen, who was overwhelmed when the announcement was made, paid great tribute to her family and fellow contestants who had made it the “most memorable weekend ever”, and especially thanked the Queen of the Land committee for making each one of them feel special.
Karen comes away from Tullamore with the prestigious W.R Shaw Queen of the Land title and the Linda O’Brien tiara that accompanies the it, a specially commissioned piece of Galway Crystal from Cahill Jewellers, plus €1,000 sponsored by W.R. Shaw, a two-night break in the Bridge House Hotel, and a €200 clothing voucher from Kode Clothing.
Judge and reigning Queen Christine Buckley announced Karen as the winner, and complimented her for being an excellent ambassador for her club and county. Gerard Mahon, chairperson of the committee, paid tribute to the 32 girls who took part and said the committee is very much looking forward to working with Karen during the year. "She will make an excellent Queen of the Land.”
Aoife Dooner from Kildare took first runner-up and Hannah Barton from England took second runner-up. Chris Manley was selected by the Queens as best escort and receives a €200 voucher for Guy Clothing and a weekend break in the Central Hotel. Contestants were judged on a range of attributes including appearance, dress sense, rural knowledge and elocution.
The festival which has grown from humble beginnings is now one of the most prestigious events on the Offaly social calendar. Huge crowds attended this year’s festival from all over Ireland due in no small part to the fantastic line up of entertainment and 32 entries from all four corners of the country along with our English, Scottish and Northern Ireland Queen.