Sponsored by 'The Cope Dungloe'
My name is Marie O’Reilly and I am eighteen years old. I have just completed my first year at university in Trinity College Dublin, where I study European Studies with French and Spanish. I was lucky enough to be a recipient of the All-Ireland Scholarship, based on my Leaving Certificate results, and this is a great help in funding my studies. At the moment, I am volunteering abroad in Indonesia, where I am teaching English to children who come from low-income families and live on the streets of Jakarta. I have also done voluntary work in Spain and Romania, but this has been the most unique experience as I have travelled alone! I love helping others- it is what drives me in life- and when I graduate, I hope to work for the EU or the UN in improving human rights and promoting equality.
I have always been interested in languages and cultures, and I have a passion for travelling. However, I believe that no culture is richer than our own- and I love everything Irish. I love playing Gaelic football, and although I am unable to play at the moment due to injury, I’ve played for Donegal at under 16 and minor level; and when I was chosen to receive all-star awards in 2014 and 2015, I also played for Ulster in inter-provincial tournaments. I have a grá for the Irish language as well, and when I was a member of the Donegal Youth Council, I presented a radio show in Irish on Highland Radio. I also play several traditional Irish instruments, including the banjo and the tin whistle.
I am truly honoured to be the Donegal Mary this year and I can’t wait for the festival to meet the rest of the girls. I’m so excited because I know it will be an amazing, memorable week and I will make so many new friends. The Mary from Dungloe festival is something that I’ve always dreamt of taking part in; I remember coming to the festival when I was younger and admiring the elegance, grace and beauty of the Marys. I think that the Mary from Dungloe festival is a huge celebration of our local culture and heritage, as it brings people from far and wide to this little town.