Rachel McNamara from Newtownshandrum in Co. Cork has been crowned the 56th Tullamore Credit Union Queen of the Land.

The winner, representing Cork’s Avondhu Region, was chosen from among of a group of 28 contestants from across the country.

Hailed as “the Macra event of the year”, the two-day festival returned this month, following a three-year absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic, to the Bridge House Hotel in Tullamore, Co. Offaly.

Contestants in the 2022 Queen of the Land

Following the official opening on Friday afternoon (November 11) at the Tullamore Credit Union office, the contestants later took part in onstage interviews with Queen of the Land 2022 MC Peter Dunne who is a broadcaster with Midlands 103.

The judging panel included Midlands North-West MEP Maria Walsh, who won the Rose of Tralee in 2014, Sinead Conry, Queen of the Land 2019, and Paul Shaw, chief executive of Tullamore Credit Union.

On Saturday (November 12), the group toured the Tullamore Dew visitor centre and had further interviews with the judges before the gala dinner that evening.

Edel Ryan, Rachel McNamara and Joanne Cushen

Later in the night, Rachel McNamara, who teaches at the Salesian Agricultural College in Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick, was announced as the 2022 Queen of the Land.

Rachel was presented with the Linda O’Brien tiara, the perpetual trophy; €1,000 from Tullamore Credit Union; a specially commissioned Galway Crystal piece from Cahill Jewellers; and a two-night stay at the Bridge House Hotel.

The judges gave second place to Joanne Cushen who represented Kilkenny Macra, while third place was awarded to Edel Ryan from South Tipperary Macra.

Both runner ups received cash prizes and a piece of Galway Crystal jewellery.

Members of the organising committee thanked all the contestants, their supporters and sponsors, without whom they said the festival would not be possible.

It has been a busy couple of weeks for Rachel McNamara who was part of the Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) team that competed in the Open Junior Show in Montichiari, Italy in October.

The 25-year-old claimed top honours in the Senior Stock Judging and Reason Giving.