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Teacher's lesson in dressing for races

By Bairbre Power

Published 01/08/2014

Helen Murphy (centre), winner of the best dressed lady competition at the Galway racing festival, with Paula Clancy (left), winner of the best hat, and Emer Nash, winner of the Wear Irish prize
Helen Murphy (centre), winner of the best dressed lady competition at the Galway racing festival, with Paula Clancy (left), winner of the best hat, and Emer Nash, winner of the Wear Irish prize
Suzie McAdams and Danielle Gingell
Entrants gather for the Ladies Day contest
Laura Fox is in all-yellow for the occasion
Aoibheann McMonagle and Francesco Leonardi strike a colourful pose

"Hey Miss, Miss." Little did some school pupils think when they went to the Galway Races that they would find their teacher at the centre of a scrum of photographers and cameramen.

Helen Murphy's Dior-style full skirt caught the eye of judges and the mother-of-four from Douglas, Co Cork ended up winning the coveted Anthony Ryan's Best Dressed Lady prize in an outfit that cost her around £450 – picking up £5,000

Her duck egg blue and silver skirt was from Coast at Debenhams while her Nine West satin shoes were reduced in the Brown Thomas sale, and she broke up an £8 Dunnes Stores necklace and embellished her rented hat with it. Her bag was from Dirty Fabulous.

Helen hails originally from Cree in west Clare and teaches religion and English in east Cork.

She wore a £120 necklace by Aisling Maher from Adare, Co Limerick, and the designer was thrilled because she won the 'Wear Irish' category at Ballybrit last year. "I just wanted to get dressed up for the day, I didn't come to win," said Helen, who loves fashion.

This year the Wear Irish prize went to Emer Nash, who wore a Suzi Mahony hat and a dress made with fabric she bought during her lunch break.

The best hat prize went to Edel Ramberg, who created a black headpiece with French turkey feathers for Paula Clancy. Paula won a £1,300 shopping voucher and Emer won a £350 voucher.

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