Síochfreadh Ní Lachnáin has been crowned the 2015 Mayo Rose after the selection took place in the Castlecourt Hotel, Westport on Saturday the 11th of April 2015.
13 girls took part in the competition this year, including Shauna Mulhall (Westport), Aoife Forde (Ballycastle), Aine McManamon (Newport), Rebecca Moran (Kilkelly), Clare Cullen (Killala), Grace Lynch (Ballyvary), Emma McNamara (Westport), Dawn Hughes (Bofeenaun), Natasha Neville (Bonniconlon), Avril Foy (Wesport), Donna McCafferty (Ballina), Shonagh Rowley (Meelick) and of course the winner Síochfreadh Ní Lachnáin from Newport who was sponsored by The Greenway Hostel.
Síochfreadh, who is 24-years-old and comes from a family of eight, was the ninth Rose to take the stage on Saturday night, where she was interviewed by Michael D. McAndrew about her life and aspirations.
She spoke a lot about her family life, and told the audience that her siblings and father all speak Irish to each other while their mother doesn’t have a word of the language, “We gang up on her a bit!” she joked. She spent many years of her childhood horseback riding with her sisters and has a very close bond with her family, who she said all have names as exotic and Irish as “Síochfreadh”.
Síochfreadh said she misses Newport when she’s away at work and sells the small town very well to her colleagues, telling them all about the horseback riding and surfing that can be done along the coast. She speaks so highly of it that she said her friends have even asked her, “Do you live in Summer Bay or something?”
After studying Equine Science in college, Síochfreadh now works as a research scientist in Limerick for a company that sell medical devices, but would love to take some time out to travel. Her aim is to visit every continent before the age of 25, and she said she would love to go to Africa.
The competition was full of talent this year, with Roses from all different backrounds, and International Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh commented that, “We’ve heard from mothers, students, people with work experience and that’s what it’s all about. I’m excited to see, at this point I don’t know who the Judges are going to select to represent the Mayo Rose for 2015. It’s going to be a tough call.”
CEO of the Rose of Tralee Ger Dillane also commented on the remarkably high standard in the competition, “This is my tenth year judging, and I find that the standard is getting higher and higher. What people have done with their lives in such a short time is a lot more, as well as people having gone to college they’re getting involved in a lot of charity work, getting involved in helping families and people who are down and out, there just seems to be a lot more goodness in them.”
While judges Ciara Keogh, Oonagh Sé Roiste and Ger Dillane retired to make their decision, impressionist Shane Cunningham took the stage. A speech was also read out from the 2014 Mayo Rose Hannah Ferguson, who couldn’t be there as she was sitting an exam in McMaster University, Canada.
At 11:30pm Michael D. McAndrew announced that Síochfreadh was to be crowned the Mayo Rose 2015, and she was then presented with her tiara and sash by Maria Walsh.
Síochfreadh who earlier told the audience that her Mother once said, “I didn’t have five daughters for none of you to become a rose!” said that she was in complete shock that she’d won the title, “Oh I’m delighted, I’m in shock to be honest I’m going to have to let this settle in because I really wasn’t expecting it. There was so many great girls up there and honestly I was down at my table and my sister was like ‘Yeah you’re not going to win this!’ so I’m shocked.” Delighted also though, it’s surreal.”