THE NEW Lady of the Lake has told how her late father would have been ‘so proud’ to see her unveiled to the Irvinestown crowds on Friday evening.
Eimear Donnelly lost her father, Martin, around a year and a half ago, and she told the Fermanagh Herald how he always joked with her that she would one day take the honour.
The 19-year-old, who just qualified as a hairdresser and works in Hair Creation in Irvinestown, was unveiled to crowds on Friday night on the town’s main street.
Prior, she had only told mum Sharon the secret – and so surprised friends and family at the festival launch night.
“I got the phone call two weeks ago while I was working in Mace. It was so hard to keep it a secret but I met up with Lisa (Wallace, chairman) and she explained what would happen. Then on the Friday night I went to Joe Mahon’s house.
“I actually wasn’t too nervous, Marie (Mahon) and Lisa kept me very calm, they were brilliant.”
From there, Eimear was brought into the town centre on a horse and cart.
“Everybody was cheering, it was a really really good atmosphere,” she said, “I was kind of afraid about what people would think but they all seemed to be really happy for me.
“I would have never missed it when I was younger, I’d have been at all the events. I think people just really enjoy it. The Fair Day is great craic and there’s great crowds. We were at Castle Archdale and people had come down and stayed in caravans for it, so it brings a lot of people to the town.
“I’ll be turning the Christmas lights on and if there’s any charity events I’ll be doing those well.”
Eimearsaid how her later father Martin always told her she’d one day be the Lady of the Lake.
“My daddy passed away a year and a half ago: He would have always said that I’d have got to do it, so it’s a really big thing.
“He would always have said that he’d have loved me to get it some day and I’d have no bother getting it. I’m so glad I got it because he’d have been proud.”
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