Dia dhaoibh! My name is Caroline O'Donnell, I am 25 years old and I am from a small townland a couple of miles outside Dungloe called Leffin. I am so delighted to be representing Dungloe in this year's festival.
I went to Acres N.S. in Burtonport and secondary school in the Rosses Community School. I graduated in 2016 from Maynooth University with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Physics and Biology, and more recently I graduated in November 2017 from the Electronic and Mechanical Engineering department of Dundalk Institute of Technology, with a Master of Science in Renewable Energy Systems. I love all things science, especially environmental studies, renewable energy, and waste management solutions.
After finishing 6 years of college and returning home last year, my focus at the moment is enjoying and taking part in many local clubs and activities. Currently I am on the Dungloe Ladies GAA team, a member of the Traigheanna rowing club, and take part in the Dungloe parkrun most Saturday mornings.
Music has also been a big part of my life, both of my parents, my sister, my uncles, and cousins were all members of the Crickamore fife and drum band, and I hold two all-Ireland medals playing the flute with them. In the last year and a half, I have also started jiving lessons with Teach Owenie Bán and have absolutely loved it. It is amazing to see men, women and young people of all ages and backgrounds coming together and having the craic!
I take great pride in the natural beauty of our local area, and recognise its huge importance for tourism, so I am also involved in local environmental initiatives. Late last year I set up the Keadue Clean Coasts group where I organize small beach cleans along Keadue strand and around Cruit. Our beaches are amongst the most pristine and unspoiled in the world, and one of my favourite pastimes is swimming and kayaking around the local beaches and islands.
Another important issue close to my heart is the promotion of mental health and wellbeing. I am involved in mental health initiatives at work and I ran the Women's Mini Marathon in Dublin this year to raise funds for Jigsaw Donegal. Jigsaw is a youth mental health service based in Letterkenny and holds a clinic in more rural parts of Donegal (including Dungloe) one day a week to ensure these essential services are accessible to all young people.
I am extremely proud to be from Dungloe and I am very excited to be the host Mary this year and get the opportunity to show off our beautiful town and amazing community. A huge thanks to Teach Owenie Bán for sponsoring my entry into the Dungloe Mary selection and The Waterfront Hotel for sponsoring me as the Dungloe Mary.
Sponsored by The Waterfront Hotel Dungloe