The traditional pre-festival warm-up, the Lady of the Moy 2017 competition took place in The Great National Hotel, Ballina on Friday 30th June.
Traditionally the first event in the festival calendar, the large crowd in attendance was treated to a night of glitz, glamour and entertainment as local lady Thérese Ní Láimhín, representing The Station House Hotel claimed the crown on the night.
The Lady of the Moy will represent Ballina Salmon Festival during festival week as well as acting as an ambassador for the town throughout the year. Holding the title of Lady of the Moy is regarded as an honour for the winning lady that offers great opportunities for networking, development as well as many fun, memorable occasions throughout the year.
Proudly sponsored by Allure Hair and Beauty, this year the competition boasted 14 contestants in total, each representing a local business or group. The contest was judged by Allure owner Martha Galvin, high-profile blogger and influencer Kieran O’Malley (aka ‘The Galway Player’) and acclaimed TV make-up artist Hayley Coleman. The wit of MC Ollie Turner of Galway Bay FM was a delight on the night as he guided them through their stint on stage. Most sang, danced or recited poetry for the crowd, showing once again the level of talent that exists in Ballina. Each girl also completed an individual interview with the judges.
Winner Thérese Ní Láimhín hails from Foxford, is a student in DCU, and has just finished her first year of studying primary school teaching. She is an accomplished musician, playing no fewer than four instruments, the piano, concertina, guitar and tin whistle. Indeed her performance at the Lady of the Moy 2017 contest consisted of Therese playing guitar a beautiful medley of songs in English and Irish. Therese is a pioneer and a proud Gaeilgóir, having grown up with the language at home.
Thérese said: “I’m very excited about the week and year ahead, and can’t wait to meet everyone, and see how it all works! It’s an honour and a privilege to represent my town, and I feel it’s so important to be able to speak about your own home town and be involved in things that are going on, particularly from a tourism point of view. It’ll be lovely to look back on this in years to come and to be able to say I was a part of it, and I can’t wait.”
Event organiser Mary Moyles, manager of The Broken Jug said: “The Lady of the Moy gives these young women a fantastic opportunity and the confidence they gain from standing up in front of their town is wonderful. They are all so proud to represent their towns and their businesses. In our eyes they are all winners and young women our town can be proud of.”
The Lady of the Moy 2017 competition was proudly supported by a number of local businesses. Allure Hair and Beauty were the main sponsors, providing the main prize and hair and make-up services for the event. The event was also supported by hosts, The Great National Hotel Ballina, as well as Gúna Nua Boutique, Winter’s Jewellers, Mayo Crystal, John Rocha, Moy Chocolates and Blooms ‘n’ Things. Local hairdressers and beauticians also sponsored hairstyling and makeup for the night, once again demonstrating the sense of community for which Ballina Salmon Festival is so renowned.
Winner of third prize on the night was Karen Hegarty representing the Broken Jug and runner-up was Mairead Hopkins representing The Empire Rooms. Catherine O’Boyle of the Merry Monk was winner of the audience vote. Guests were treated to a spectacular interval show by award-winning Sylvan Kelly School of Dance, who will also feature during the festival as part of the Celebration of Irish Music event taking place on Friday 14th July in the Military Quarter.