The 45th International Miss Macra Festival this year returns to Thurles, Co. Tipperary
Pictured L-R: Declan Ryan (Pres. Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra), Simone Loughman (Int. Miss Macra Secretary), Susan Willis (2015 Int. Miss Macra Winner), Anne Marie Lyng (Chairperson), Helen Hayes, (2015 Int. Miss Macra Runner-Up), Jamie Driver (Anner Hotel), Geraldine Henchion (Tipp FM Radio), at the official launch of the 2016, 45th International Miss Macra Festival to be held in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, on August Bank Holiday Weekend 2016.
Clonoulty-Rossmore Macra na Feirme are delighted to confirm that this year’s International Miss Macra Festival will take place over the 2016 August Bank Holiday weekend, from Friday the 29th of July to Monday the 1st August, here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary. This will be the Festivals 45th year and is an exceptional representation of what just one farming organisation can achieve; through hard work, determination and the full support of its local community.
This year will once again see young ladies travelling from all over Ireland, in the hope of following in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Miss Susan Willis (Co. Carlow); in being crowned International Miss Macra 2016. This, as stated, 45th year of the festival, will see many new initiatives and a change of scene, but first a brief history lesson.
International Miss Macra Festival History
The International Miss Macra Festival is a personality competition, a mini Rose of Tralee, if you will, for Macra na Feirme Clubs and their members. The festival was founded by Mr Paddy Heffernan, Mr Tom Horan and Mr Michael Slattery back in 1971. Initially Macra Members were met with little enthusiasm from Macra National Headquarters, but the Clonoulty / Rossmore club did not allow this to deter their ingenuity. As a rural farmers organisation they ploughed on (pardon the pun), regardless, with their plans and year on year since its conception this festival has blossomed with as many as 32 contestants competing annually each year, from Ireland and abroad.
The 90’s saw an interest from rural youth and agricultural organisations abroad, e.g. 4H clubs in America and Scottish Young Farmers, begin to develop. The International Miss Macra Festival is somewhat unique in that it is run by the same local Macra Club every year; rather than a County Executive and their scale of success is a testament to both the dedication of the Clonoulty-Rossmore Macra members and the massive support of the local Tipperary community.
The local Clonoulty / Rossmore community, in particular, play a most important part in this festival, with households taking on the role as ‘Host Families’ for each of the contestants, year after year. This tradition remains very strong; seeing the contestants receive the warmest of welcomes, as they become adopted into the hearts of the local host families. To these ‘Host Families’ go our committee’s gratitude for their never ending support, generosity, overall commitment and loyalty, each year.
International Miss Macra Festival Returns to its Roots
This year, 2016, sees the festival returning to its initial roots; coming back to Thurles, Co. Tipperary for the full duration of the weekend. Such is the high calibre of the venues in Thurles that the Festival this year will take place in three separate areas, as we showcase the best that Thurles and Co. Tipperary has to offer: Hayes Hotel (Birthplace of the GAA), on the Friday night, The Dome on Saturday and the magnificent family-run Anner Hotel (Graded Four-Star by Fáilte Ireland), on Sunday night.
This year, the festival will kick-start on Friday the 31st of July when contestants will meet the festival committee in Clonoulty village. Friday afternoon also offers contestants a chance to take a personal tour of the world famous Coolmore Stud Farm, followed by lunch in the Anner Hotel restaurant. Next the contestants will take part in a Zumba class in Clonoulty Community Hall where contestants, host families and local people will get their chance to ‘meet and greet’; a long-standing tradition of this festival.
International Miss Macra Judges
The judges for the 2016 competition this year are:-
(A) Joan Pollard Carew, representing Michael Carew Jewellers, Friar Street, Thurles. Joan, whose husband is main sponsor of the festival, is herself a published poetess and well known nationally in Irish Art and Irish Dancing circles. Joan and her husband also contribute greatly to the festival in terms of invaluable support, time and advice.
(B) Geraldine Henchion, representing Tipp FM, Tipperary’s No 1 Local Radio Station. Geraldine also well known in Art Circles, joins the panel for the first time this year.
(C) Declan Ryan, who has held every known post of responsibility on the International Miss Macra Festival committee and also currently holds the title of President of the Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra club.