Elegance and colour win the day at Listowel
Conditions were soft on the track but perfect underfoot for 6in heels and the women who donned them for Ladies’ Day at Listowel Races.
Busy mother-of-two and Best Dressed Lady, Jill Duggan from Killarney, almost didn’t make it on time.
En route to the track, the beauty therapist had to make a U-turn, go home and collect her daughter Lilly, 3, and drop her to the childminder, as her husband, Patrick, had forgotten.
“I’ve never won anything like this before in my life and it was all very last-minute,” said Jill, who collected the turquoise Heidi Higgins dress coat from the dressmaker on Thursday.
The dress originally belonged to Jill’s mother, and she paired it with a turquoise and cerise pink hat from Mac Bee’s in Killarney, with matching shoes bought at Frank Coffey’s.
The bag and gloves were also borrowed from mum Mary O’Donoghue from Glenflesk.
The stylish ensemble was the winning combination and its wearer walked away with €3,000 cash and the use of a Honda Jazz car, sponsored by McElliggott’s for the year.
Gemma and Declan McDonagh had travelled all the way from Headford, Co Galway and it was worth their while as they walked away with the prize for Best Dressed Couple.
Nurse Gemma wore a stunning 1950s-inspired dress coat in pink that she had made herself at a dressmaking class at GTI in Galway. Farmer Declan looked dapper with a kerchief picking up the pink of his wife’s coat.
“We came down to attend vintage day on Saturday so winning this today was a bonus,” Gemma told the Irish Examiner.
RTÉ’s Today Show
presenters Maura Derrane and Dáithí Ó Sé were at Listowel to judge the bestdressed contests.
“You don’t really know what to expect but I think the variety was very good,” said Ó Sé.
His co-host said she liked colour but was also looking for something seasonally appropriate. That the winner chose an Irish designer was an added bonus.
“People think once you hit this time of year it’s all black but you know, a bit of colour really lightens it up and it was a very elegant outfit and she wore it well,” she added.
The judges decided on the winner together but had her spotted from the beginning.
First runner-up, Joanne Murphy from Kilgarvan, a seasoned Ladies’ Day competitor, explained the attraction.
A mother-of-four, Joanne is also secretary of the local juvenile GAA club, and Ladies’ Day is her day for herself when she escapes the testosterone and gets dressed up with her friend, Mags Healy.
“I won best hat at Killarney in 2011, wearing my first Carol Kennelly hat, and it’s like an addiction,” Joanne said, who also won the best hat at the Horse Show at the RDS the following year.
Ladies’ Day at Listowel Harvest Festival is one of the biggest racing dates of the calendar.
Numbers had been down slightly at the north Kerry track all week for its 158th Harvest Festival, due to the bad weather, but were back up again yesterday for the penultimate day.
Apart from being one of the biggest race days nationally, the harvest festival is also a traditional trip home for some exiles.
Tadhg Moriarty from Coolkeeragh, Listowel has lived in Harrow in London since 1975 but makes it home each year for the races.
He’s part of a group of around 30 based in London, who travel to the races each year. “I’ve only missed one year. I think I couldn’t get the time off work,” Tadhg says.
“Some of the fellows who used to come are no longer alive but more join in and once they get the hang of it, there’s no stopping them.”
The group used to make it home for the week but nowadays they do two or three days.
Tadhg explains what keeps them coming.
“It’s the atmosphere, the people and the craic. We sometimes do a bit of a tour and end up in Ballybunion or Ballylongford and the craic is always good there too,” he said.
The Harvest Festival concludes today, with the first race at 2.05pm.
Sinead Foley of Liscannor, Co Clare, and Lisa Daly, Brid Bruder, and Carol Stanley from Ballyhahill, Co Limerick show their style at the McElligott’s Honda Best Dressed Lady Day at Listowel Races yesterday.
Jill Duggan, Killarney, winner of the McElligott’s Honda Best Dressed Lady.
Karen Mulvihill with Maura Derrane and Dáithí Ó Sé after she won the ‘Best Selfie’ award at Listowel Races.
Sisters Katie Buckley and Linda Blake from Listowel at McElligott’s Honda Best Dressed Lady Day.
Joanne O’Flaherty and Sharon Quilter, both of Listowel, enjoy Ladies’ Day.