Legal eagle Kate crowned the new Mary of Dungloe

Kate Ferguson

Trainee solicitor Kate Ferguson celebrated her first trip to Dungloe over the bank holiday weekend by claiming top honours at the Gaeltacht town's famous festival.

The 25-year-old from Portstewart, Co Londonderry, was crowned the 42nd Mary from Dungloe on Sunday night after enjoying what she called “the week of my life”.

“This has been my first time in Dungloe but it will certainly not be my last,” she told pageant host, former UTV man Gerry Kelly.

Wearing a long sequinned dress, Kate spoke of the strong friendships she made with the 14 other contestants from around the world.

Kate has just finished working with the Ryan Commission in Dublin and is now about to start her final apprenticeship.

She was greeted and hugged by the other contestants before last year's winner, Una Rooney from Armagh, crowned her the 42nd Mary from Dungloe.

“I just could not believe it when I heard my name,” said Kate.

“My knees were shaking and it took a while to realise I was the winner.”

For her party piece Kate played the ‘Derry Air' on her clarinet.

She was presented with €1,000, Newbridge jewellery and Galway crystal among other prizes.

This is Derry's fourth time winning the title in the festival's 42-year history.

Maureen Temple won it in 1975, Anne Marie McDaid in 1976 and Ciara Diver in 1999.

This year's Little Miss Mary from Dungloe, Aine McGarvey (6) from Loughanure, Co Donegal, was also on stage to greet the winner.

Aine is the third in her family to take the title.

Her big sister Aoife won it in 2003 and her mum Marie took the same title in 1985.

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