Denise Ryan, a twenty year old student of Food Science (with Business) at Waterford Institute of Technology will represent North Tipperary in the 45th annual International Miss Macra Festival of glitz and glamour which, after many years in Dundrum, will return to Thurles, where it was founded, on the Bank Holiday weekend of July 29th, 30th and 31st.
The event will represent a major economic and cultural boost to Thurles with a Nineties themed disco in Hayes Hotel on Friday, July 29th, a cabaret in the Dome on Saturday July 30th and a banquet in the Anner Hotel on Sunday July 31st.
A sports day will be held in Clonoulty on Sunday and the traditional Miss Macra Mass will be celebrated on the Sunday also.
Girls from up to 30 counties, including Northern Ireland will compete for a €2,000 prize-fund. The North Tipp standard bearer is Ms Denise Ryan, Dromard Hill, Clonmore, Templemore, who was selected from a bevy of beauties in Reidys’ of Newtown, Nenagh, recently. Daughter of farmer, Michael Ryan and Chartered Physiotherapist, Audrey Ryan, Denise is a past pupil of Clonmore National School and Presentation Secondary School, Thurles. Denise, who is a member of the hugely successful Devils Bit Macra Club in Templemore, has two brothers, Donncha (18) and Anthony (16).
But said Denise “The most important person to me and my family is my granny, Bridie Ryan. There couldn’t be enough words to describe how she has helped me and my brothers, from bringing us to trains, school, to work and even when the world would be against us she always would sacrifice anything to help us out of a tough situation. For a woman who is over 80 years of age she has taught me to cherish life, always be on the cautious side and always know that I can come to her with anything with open arms”.
My main hobby is my two horses. I take full care of and responsibility for them. I love the great outdoors and spending time with my dad, helping him with all the animal work and care, especially the young calves. I have achieved a level 3 Rescues Qualification, meaning I am close to becoming a lifeguard. I enjoy doing any sports and strive to be fit and healthy. I don’t honestly know what my ambition is for life but my ambition for this summer was to pass my driving test which I did, first time. The second ambition is to get my trailer licence. I have recently reserved my learner’s permit and l hope to pass the test by the end of the summer.” Denise enjoys Show jumping and other competitive events. “I joined to Devils Bit Riding School and won my first competition in Gurteen College last winter. I have many goals that I have set myself for this summer from getting more involved to improving my confidence, to getting to know the local farms and community more.
Where does she see herself in ten years time ? “I have learned that no plan can be set in place as events can change in a split second. I do know that I don’t want to see myself in a lab testing samples day in and day out. I would like to find myself making a difference, maybe in improving animal nutrition or developing a food product or an idea that I’m passionate about”. I have wanted to travel to Africa since I was younger. To see the wild animals that I came to know from watching the Discovery Channel. Also to witness the different cultures that would be so alien to me. I would love to learn what makes their culture so beautiful in a place where we see wild animals roam the deserts and jungles. I’d like to travel to Asia also and taste the exotic foods and especially to try eating insects. That would be a tick off my bucket list.
What would winning International Miss Macra 2016, mean to Denise? “Honestly, winning a title is just a title, it’s what you do after the competition that counts but having this door open for me to be a Miss Macra and represent my county is more than I could ever ask”.
Denise would like to show young people that Macra offers a great chance to improve one’s self with a wide range of activities from public speaking to entering into a talent show and making trips to other clubs around the country, making long lasting friends. “Winning Miss Macra would mean to me that I make friends through the event and gain experience that would be once in a lifetime as well as staying honest and try to encourage young people and point out that Macra can be a chance to improve yourself”.