Fun el­e­ment key in North­west event

Irish Examiner - Farming - - MACRA - Eoin Mc­carthy

The an­nual North­west Kings and Queens event takes places on Jan­uary 19 at Sligo Park Ho­tel.

Now in its 12th year, it in­volves Macra in the north­ern and west­ern coun­ties each nom­i­nat­ing a King and a Queen to rep­re­sent them. Sim­i­lar­i­ties can be drawn be­tween this com­pe­ti­tion and other Macra fes­ti­vals such as Miss Blue Jeans or Queen of the Land.

How­ever, North­west PRO Siob­han Gal­lagher clar­i­fied: “We are ex­clu­sively for the North­west coun­ties, we don’t ex­tend it out across the coun­try but it brings ev­ery­body to­gether.

“You could have hun­dreds of peo­ple from the north of Done­gal, or from Mon­aghan, be­cause it’s their way of meet­ing every­one once a year.” The Kings and Queens will come to­gether around lunchtime on Satur­day, Jan­uary 19. They are brought to­gether to get to know each other and are sub­se­quently paired up. “Ca­van might be paired with Gal­way, you are not in your county pairs, and they do a num­ber of team build­ing ex­er­cises dur­ing the day and then they have stage in­ter­views dur­ing the din­ner that even­ing,” Siob­han said. The fun el­e­ment of the com­pe­ti­tion was very much ev­i­dent dur­ing last year’s re­newal when con­tes­tants took part in novel ac­tiv­i­ties which tested their creativ­ity, their knowl­edge of each other, and their ca­pa­bil­ity to work as a team — in­clud­ing cre­at­ing a cas­tle, pen­ning a “Macra Poem”, test­ing their team­work with “The Cube” based games, and fi­nally a Mr and Mrs quiz.

A mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor in es­tab­lish­ing this fes­ti­val was a feel­ing that the ma­jor­ity of Macra fes­ti­vals were lo­cated too farm south in the coun­try, rel­a­tive to the North­west. “There is very lit­tle up the North­west, and we recog­nised the need for some­thing in the North­west to bring to­gether the coun­ties and have some­thing for them to look for­ward to in­stead of trav­el­ling to Miss Blue Jeans in Co Meath or Queen of the Land in Tul­lam­ore.”

Leitrim Queen Paula Kiernan (Car­ri­gallen Macra) and Done­gal King Luke Mcclin­tock (Proper Job Macra) were crowned North­west Macra King and Queen last year. “The King and Queen are crowned around mid­night, and they get €200 each, and the cov­eted tiara and crown tro­phies,” said Siob­han.

Pic­ture: Gavin Browne

Zoe Cogh­lan from Car­ri­ga­line, Sinead Cor­bett from Lim­er­ick, and Deirdre O’driscoll from Dur­rus, were at the Car­ri­ga­line Macra New Year’s Eve ball in the Rochestown Ho­tel, Cork.

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