Woodside ‘Colleen’ New York Rep At International Irish Fest
The new 2011 New York Mary From Dungloe has been chosen. The honor went to Woodside resident Stephanie Burke, a speech language pathologist and graduate of the Mary Louis Academy, Hofstra University and Queens College.
Burke, 25, will travel to Ireland on July 21 to the village of Dungloe for two weeks, where she will represent New York and Queens in the 44th Annual Mary From Dungloe International Festival.
“I am so excited to go to Dungloe,” Burke said. “I am looking forward to meeting the other girls competing and I hope to make my family and neighborhood proud.”
Burke is one of only three women from America competing. This is the fourth time that New York has been represented at the festival. Other contestants hail from Scotland, England and Ireland.
Since graduating, Burke has volunteered at a nursing home, an after-school educational support program and The Ronald McDonald House.
A reception was held in Burke’s honor at Cronin and Phelan, 38-14 Broadway in Astoria on July 15, where the judges and supporters toasted Burke on her accomplishment. The restaurant’s owners graciously donated the place for the reception free of charge.
“I am so happy to see so many people here tonight to support our new ‘Mary’,” Event Organizer Anne-Marie McCullagh said. “Many here have come from as far away as Ireland and as close as Flushing.”
At the reception were friends, judges, past ‘Mary’ competitors and Burke’s parents Brandon and Margaret.
“We are both very happy for Stephanie,” Brandon said. Both immigrated to Queens from Ireland.
Burke said the she is looking forward to traveling to Dungloe where she hopes to connect with her deep Irish roots.
Her strategy for victory in the competition is simple. “It’s all about being yourself and being an individual,” she said.
Dedicated to the tale of the love a young man had for a local lady named Mary Gallagher in the 1860s, the festival was first held in 1967 after Emmet Spiceland made the story into a popular ballad. The town of Dungloe is situated on the West Coast of Ireland.
For more information, visit http://www.maryfromdungloe.com.