Louise Crowley of Limerick was crowned the 54th Annual Clarke Machinery Group Queen of the Land 2018 on Sunday night last.
Louise came out on top of 30 Queens by impressing the judges with her personality, her passion for her farming work and connecting with her local community. The 2nd runner up is Aisling O’Driscoll from Muskerry – Cork (Terelton) and 3rd runner up is Roisin Lynch from Ramor, Cavan.
The weekend saw 30 Queens descend on the Bridge House Hotel, Tullamore early Friday morning. They headed off on a tour around the faithful county, calling to Clonmacnoise and to Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre, among other sights. After the official opening that evening, the Queens took part in an open forum discussion with a panel of well known women and men in the farming industry before heading to the Palace Nightclub for a night of swinging and jiving, with country music sensation Marty Mone. On Saturday morning, the girls were up early for interviews with our esteemed judging panel – Gerard Clarke, Managing Director of Clarke Machinery Group; Emma Birchall, reigning 2017 Queen of the Land; Anna Marie McHugh, assistant managing director of the National Ploughing Association; and Joe Healy, president of The Irish Farmers Association after which they were treated to hair and make-up by Ritzy’s Tullamore and Opium Skin & Beauty Salon. Each queen was then greeted by their escorts in Hugh Lynches, who were interviewed (and mocked) by Rock on Paddy, one of Offaly’s well known entertainers. On Saturday night, after the Queen’s onstage interviews, the crowd was entertained by Transmitter, the Groomsmen and Joe Wynne until late.
But no rest for the wicked – after a long night of partying, the Queens were up again Sunday morning for an epic showdown between Queens and escorts in Cosmic Bowl, Tullamore. They later attended a very special ceremony in the Church of the Assumption, Tullamore and met some of the local people of the town. Afterwards, they headed to the Harbour Bar for some well-earned refreshments and a chance to chat and mingle. The greatest work was yet to come however, as the girls prepared for the Gala Banquet. Each Queen brought glamour and style to the closing event of the festival – rivalled only by Ger Mahon, chairman of the Festival who is known in Macra na Feirme for his sense of style! Following the delicious banquet, the LOLS entertained the crowd. The only interruption to the dancing on the floor was at 12 midnight, when the crowd all gathered in anticipation for the announcement of the 2018 Clarke Machinery Group Queen of the Land.
Louise Crowley was presented with the Queen of the Land Linda O’Brien tiara, the Clarke Machinery Group sponsored perpetual trophy, the Clarke Machinery Group sponsored €1,000 prize, a specially commissioned piece of Galway Crystal from Cahill Jewellers, a two night break in the Bridge House Hotel and a €200 clothing voucher from Kode Clothing. Both runners up received a €200 cash prize and a specially commissioned piece of Galway Crystal. The Escort of the Year is Andrew Corrigan. The Escort of the year was chosen by the Queens. Andrew received a Tony O’Donoghue sponsored perpetual trophy, a weekend stay for two in the Bridge House Hotel, €300 clothing voucher from Guy Clothing and a prized Gold Card for Copper Face Jacks, Dublin.
Chairman, Ger Mahon had this to say after the announcement: “We, the committee, are delighted to see Louise crowned the 2018 Clarke Machinery Group Queen of the Land. We are sure she will do a great job of representing our Festival all over the country for the next year. We would have been happy, honestly, to see any of the contestants win as they have all proven to be charming, intelligent girls. We hope they will return to the Festival in the future. Of course, we are also sad to see our 2017 reigning Queen, Emma Birchall, leave her role as well as she has done a superb job throughout her reign. With another Festival closing, I am most grateful to all the hard working committee, all our generous sponsors and most of all to our supporters, who came from all over the country and further afield to enjoy the Clarke Machinery Group Queen of the Land Festival 2018”.