Westmeath woman takes home Queen of the Land title

The 52nd annual W.R. Shaw Queen of the Land festival was won last weekend by Karen Elliffe from Co. Westmeath.

Competing against 31 other contestants from all over Ireland, Scotland, England and Northern Ireland, Karen was declared the winner at midnight on Sunday, November 13.

Karen, who comes from Ballinagore in Co. Westmeath, will take home the W.R. Shaw Queen of the Land title and the Linda O’Brien tiara which accompanies it.

As part of the overall prize, she also take home a specially commissioned piece of Galway Crystal from Cahill Jewellers, €1,000 sponsored by W.R. Shaw, a two-night break in the Bridge House Hotel and a €200 clothing voucher from Kode Clothing.

Meanwhile, Aoife Dooner from Co. Kildare was the first runner-up while Hannah Barton from Macclesfield in the UK took second runner-up.

In another prize selected on the night, Chris Manley was chosen by the 32 contestants as the best escort, winning a €200 voucher for Guy Clothing in the process.

The festival, which took place in the Bridge House Hotel in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, attracted people from all over Ireland and abroad.

Contestants in the Macra na Feirme run event were judged on a range of attributes including appearance, dress sense, rural knowledge and elocution.

The contestants had to do an on-stage interview with MC Frank Forde, a comedian and impersonator, while they were also interviewed by a judging panel.

The judging panel included Christine Buckley, the W.R. Queen of the Land 2015, Billy Shaw of W.R. Shaw and Anna-Marie McHugh from the National Ploughing Association.

Announcing the winners, Christine complimented the Queens for being excellent ambassadors for their clubs and counties and wished the 2016 Queen well for the coming year.

Gerard Mahon, Chairperson of the festival committee, paid tribute to the 32 girls who took part in another successful festival.

The committee is very much looking forward to working with Karen during the year. She will make an excellent Queen of the Land.

“We have had another successful Queen of the Land festival, thanks in no small part to our main sponsors W.R. Shaw, the associate sponsors, committee and the many supporters that came from all over the country and beyond to Tullamore for the weekend.”