MARYS 2024

Máire 2024

The Mary From Dungloe competition is a celebration of Irish heritage, music, and culture. This year’s competition promises to be particularly exciting, with a talented and diverse group of women set to compete for the coveted title. Each contestant brings her own unique talents and strengths to the competition, from traditional Irish music to modern pop and rock. Beyond their musical abilities, these women are also leaders in their communities, dedicated to promoting Irish culture and supporting charitable causes. 

Mary From Dungloe 2022
Caitlin Finn (London)

meet THE CONTESTANTS

Na Iomaitheoirí

CONTESTANTS COMING SOON

Róisín Costelloe

Belfast Mary

Sponsor: Goodfellas Irish & Italian Restaurant

Introducing our Belfast Mary Róisín Costelloe, a driven and accomplished 21-year-old born and raised in Donegal but living in Belfast! While Róisín hails from Meenaleck it’s extra sentimental for her to be the 2023 Belfast Mary as her father was from Belfast and it was his 20th anniversary this year.

Currently in her final year of studying Law with Politics at Queen’s University Belfast, she is on track to graduate with a strong 2:1 degree. With an impressive academic background, including a Leaving Certificate through Irish and outstanding achievements in her Junior Certificate and Transition Year, Róisín is poised for success.

 

While completing her studies, Róisín has actively contributed to her community. She has worked in archiving for the Belfast Trust in Care homes and as an administrator at a day centre in East Belfast. Additionally, she has dedicated her time to volunteering at a local homework club, providing support and mentoring to school children.

Róisín’s passion for law and politics shines bright! She has accepted an

unconditional offer for a Masters in International Commercial and Business Law at Queen’s University Belfast. Her long-term goal is to become a solicitor, gaining valuable experience and establishing herself in the legal field. She also envisions a future in politics, utilising her passion for democracy as seen by her position as current All Students Representative on the QUB Students Union Council.

 

Beyond her academic pursuits, Róisín is an active member of the QUB Knights Cheerleaders, where she excels as a main base. She has received recognition for her skills, including being awarded Best Base Duo at a formal event. Furthermore, Róisín enjoys staying fit and maintains her stamina through regular gym workouts and running, despite overcoming health challenges in the past.

 

A talented musician, Róisín has been playing the flute since a young age and possesses basic guitar skills. However, her true passion lies in singing, and she has showcased her talent through performances in various productions with the QUB Musical Theatre Society.

 

As she embarks on her future endeavours, Róisín remains grounded in her connection to Belfast. With a deep family history in the city, she finds solace in her roots and is proud to call herself half Belfast. By embracing her heritage and actively contributing to her community, Róisín is poised to make a lasting impact in both the legal and political spheres.

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Ríana Nic Giolla Bhríde

Gaeltacht Mary

Sponsor: BSG: An Clochán Liath & Pleanáil Teanga Na Rosann

Meet Ríana Nic Giolla Bhríde, a 22-year-old from Derrybeg, Gweedore. Graduating from Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair, she recently completed a bachelor’s degree in General Science with a specialisation in Microbiology at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG).

With experience as a school and grinds teacher at Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh, Ríana aspires to pursue a rewarding career in microbiology, focusing on disease treatment and prevention. Her dedication to understanding and combating illnesses is truly commendable.

Outside the realm of science, Ríana enjoys a range of hobbies that bring her joy. She actively participates in Gaelic football as a player for the renowned Gaoth Dobhair GAA club, showcasing her skills and commitment on the field. Additionally, she finds solace in running, playing musical instruments, and exploring the wonders of travel.

 

Among her notable accomplishments, Ríana takes pride in winning the club county championship in 2022 and successfully completing her bachelor’s degree. These milestones serve as a testament to her determination and resilience, propelling her towards her dreams.

Beyond her academic and athletic achievements, Ríana actively contributes to her community as a devoted member of the Annagry fife and drum band and the Irish Coast Guard team in Bunbeg. Her commitment to serving others is truly inspiring.

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Caitlín Mc Cahill

Dungloe Mary

Sponsor: Waterfront Hotel

Meet Caitlin Mc Cahill, the talented Dungloe Mary 2023 from Doochary, Co. Donegal. With an outstanding Leaving Certificate score of 601 points, she secured the prestigious Optum Scholarship to study Occupational Therapy at the University of Galway. Currently in her second year, Caitlin recently completed a fulfilling placement with the community mental health team in Scally Place, Letterkenny.

 

Looking ahead, Caitlin plans to work at Bonner’s Knitwear factory during the summer term while completing her degree. After graduating in 2026, she dreams of practising as an Occupational Therapist while travelling the world, particularly exploring the USA or Scotland.

In her free time, Caitlin enjoys crocheting, reading, walking, and working out at the gym. She may even reignite her passion for Karate, a hobby she briefly pursued during her first semester at college. Additionally, Caitlin shares a love for football with her dad and brothers, often attending Celtic games in Glasgow to support their beloved team.

Caitlin’s commitment to her community is truly inspiring. She actively participates in clean-up initiatives organised by the development committee and played a crucial role in the successful reopening of the health centre, a cherished hub for her community.

With her achievements, including the Optum scholarship and her role as a prefect and mentor, Caitlin sets an exemplary standard for others to follow.

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Kiera O’Connor

New York Mary

Sponsor: JR Mason

Introducing Kiera O’Connor, a dynamic individual whose accomplishments span across various domains of her life. With a strong educational background, Kiera graduated from St Barnabas Elementary School and Maria Regina High School before pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Childhood Education and Master’s degree in Special Education from Manhattan College. Her thirst for knowledge also led her to study abroad at NUI Galway, expanding her horizons.

Currently, Kiera serves as a 2nd Grade Special Education Teacher at NYC Department of Education’s PS 19, where her dedication to supporting students with disabilities shines through. She also contributes to the spiritual growth of her community as a Religious Education Administrative Assistant at St. Barnabas Church. In addition to her roles in education, Kiera is a part-time Real Estate Salesperson at Houlihan & O’Malley Real Estate, helping clients find their dream homes with exceptional service.

Kiera’s adventurous spirit has taken her to captivating destinations worldwide, including Scotland, Spain, Italy, and England. Closer to home, she has made lasting memories as an active member of St. Brigid’s LGFCC, playing Irish Football and representing New York in various competitions.

Throughout her journey, Kiera has been recognized and honoured for her exceptional achievements, receiving awards such as the Pauline Boylan Coll Spirit Award, U16 Player of the Year, and Maria Regina High School President. Her dedication and leadership were further acknowledged when she became the St. Brigid’s Junior Captain and the esteemed St. Brigid’s 2023 Guest of Honor.

With her infectious enthusiasm, unwavering dedication, and zest for life, Kiera O’Connor continues to make a positive impact in education, real estate, and her community. She eagerly looks forward to new adventures, cherishing moments with loved ones, attending captivating performances, and cheering on her favourite sports teams.

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Katie Galligan

Cavan Mary

Sponsor: Cavan Crystal Hotel

Introducing Katie Galligan, a passionate and talented individual hailing from Scoil Mhuire Lacken primary school. Her love for teaching blossomed during her time at Loreto College Cavan, where she also discovered a passion for Gaeilge. Attending Gaeltacht summer courses with Coláiste na bhFiann, Katie remains involved and runs Irish youth clubs in Cavan.

Continuing her education at Marino Institute of Education, Katie completed the first-ever Bachelor of Education through the medium of Irish. Having recently finished her degree, she eagerly awaits her results, reflecting on an incredible final year placement in the Gaeltacht in Downings.

Currently working as a primary school substitute teacher, Katie aims to secure a fixed-term or maternity contract job in September to complete Droichead, a professional development program. She dreams of travelling to Australia for a few years and hopes to teach in a Gaelscoil, embracing the opportunities that come her way.

Outside of teaching, Katie actively participates in the Lacken GAA club, celebrating their camogie team’s triumph in the Junior B All Ireland Camogie final. She also excels in ladies football and has earned camogie and football All Ireland medals from her time at Marino Institute of Education and Loreto College Cavan.

Alongside her educational and sporting pursuits, traditional Irish music holds a

special place in Katie’s heart. She performs with various Grupa Ceoils and showcases her guitar skills and singing talents with her siblings. Katie is involved with the Cavan Town Comhaltas group and is organising an Erasmus trip to Germany to learn about their music style and culture, reciprocating the visit of the German group to Cavan.

In her spare time, Katie plays guitar in her local church choir in Potahee and teaches aspiring young musicians in the community. With her passion, talent, and ambition, Katie serves as an inspiration to those around her.

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Danielle Varley

Dublin Mary

Sponsor: Skylon Hotel

Meet Danielle Varley, a compassionate and determined individual who embarked on a unique journey after completing her Junior and Leaving Certificates. She chose to take a year out to care for her grandmother, showcasing her unwavering commitment to her loved ones.

Discovering her passion for bringing joy to others, Danielle immersed herself in the vibrant world of country music events in Dublin. Managing a restaurant added to her skills until the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the industry.

Undeterred, Danielle made a bold decision to study and become a customs broker. With dedication, she completed her first year and obtained her qualification while working full-time in custom clearance and freight forwarding at Quinn Freight Forwarding.

The freight forwarding industry captured Danielle’s heart, and she cherishes her role in her current job. She envisions a future filled with continuous learning, further courses, and exploring different aspects of the field.

Outside of work, Danielle finds joy in the company of friends, family, and her adorable dog. She embraces the soul-stirring melodies of country music, which have always resonated within her family.

With an unquenchable thirst for adventure, Danielle plans extensive travels in the coming years. By immersing herself in different cultures, she hopes to gain profound experiences and embrace the beauty and diversity our world has to offer.

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Aoibhín O’Dea

Wild Atlantic Way Mary

Sponsor: Arranmore Ferries

Meet Aoibhín O’Dea, a passionate young entrepreneur and talented baker from Gaoth Dobhair, Ireland. At just 20 years old, she is the proud founder of ‘Cácaí Aoibhín,’ a thriving home bakery business that she started at the age of 13.

What began as a small hobby quickly grew into supplying local coffee shops and catering for weddings, birthdays, and special occasions. Aoibhín’s dedication to baking led her to work in professional bakeries during her Transition Year, learning from experienced bakers who inspired her to pursue her dreams.

Supported by her school and family, Aoibhín continued to develop her business and expand her knowledge through travel to London and Dubai. Alongside her baking skills, she has also delved into social media marketing, collaborating with her father’s businesses and gaining valuable experience in various aspects of business management.

 

Aoibhín’s commitment to promoting the Irish language within her business earned her the title of ‘Fiontraí Óg na Bliana’ (Young Entrepreneur of the Year) from Glór na nGael. She plans to showcase the exceptional produce of Donegal and launch her venture, capitalising on the opportunities presented by the Wild Atlantic Way.

In addition to her entrepreneurial pursuits, Aoibhín is a talented musician, playing the fiddle and sharing her love for traditional Irish music through performances and passing on her musical heritage to younger generations.

With a thirst for adventure and a desire to explore different cultures, Aoibhín seizes every opportunity to travel and broaden her horizons.

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Erin Doohan

London Mary

Sponsor: Sub Tech Ltd

Introducing Erin Doohan, an Irish language enthusiast and dedicated educator who has found a second home in the bustling city of London. Originally from the picturesque county of Donegal, Erin’s passion for the Irish language began during her primary school years at Scoil Naisiunta Glassain, where she immersed herself in learning through Irish.

 

Erin’s educational journey led her to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree in Gaeilge and Human Development from Dublin City University. Motivated by her love for the Irish language, she pursued a Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Education at Edgehill University in Lancashire.

 

Since her move to London in 2021, Erin has been making a difference as a Year 2 teacher at St. Augustine’s Catholic Primary School in Hammersmith. Her dedication and passion for education shine through as she inspires young minds and helps shape their futures.

 

Outside of her teaching role, Erin embraces the vibrant Irish community in London, enjoying the opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds. She finds solace in traditional music, prioritises her fitness by hitting the gym, and cherishes meaningful moments with friends.

 

Despite her love for London, Erin’s heart always yearns for the breathtaking landscapes of her homeland in Donegal. With the majestic Muckish mountain as her backdrop, she immerses herself in the natural beauty surrounding her. Exploring the sandy shores of Marble Hill and embarking on adventures with friends, Erin appreciates the wonders that her cherished home has to offer.

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Shannon Neary

Bayonne Mary

Sponsor: Bayonne Donegal Association

Introducing Shannon Neary, a recent graduate from The College of New Jersey with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies, dual minors in Music and Speech Language Pathology & Audiology. With her academic achievements, she is poised to embark on an exciting new chapter in her life.

Currently, Shannon is making a splash as a dedicated Swimming Instructor & Coach at Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Pennsylvania. Her passion for the water shines through as she nurtures and inspires her students to become confident swimmers while also imparting important life skills.

However, Shannon’s ambitions extend beyond her role as a swimming instructor. She aspires to become a Substitute Teacher and has dreams of pursuing a master’s degree in fields such as Educational Administration, School Counseling, or Speech Language Pathology. Her dedication to education and helping others is evident in her career goals.

Throughout her life, Shannon has been deeply involved in both swimming and musical theatre. She competed in swimming from a young age and engaged in local community theatre during her formative years. These experiences have contributed to her well-rounded personality and diverse range of interests.

In her free time, Shannon enjoys teaching swimming lessons, coaching, and indulging in the joy of music. She finds solace in creating beautiful melodies on the piano and immersing herself in captivating books. Her love for continuous learning and personal growth is evident in her pursuit of various passions.

Shannon Neary is a driven and talented individual with a passion for education, swimming, and the arts. Her determination and commitment make her a positive role model for others to follow.

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AnneMarie Caffrey Mantei

Philadelphia Mary

Sponsor: The Donegal Association Of Philadelphia

Introducing Anne Marie Caffrey Mantei, a distinguished graduate from Villanova University’s Class of 2023, whose academic journey has been marked by passion and excellence. With a major in Global Studies and a Concentration in Irish Studies, Anne Marie has delved deeply into understanding diverse cultures and perspectives. Complementing her major, she pursued minors in Spanish Studies and Peace + Justice Studies, highlighting her commitment to empathy and inclusivity.

Looking forward to her next educational chapter, Anne Marie has eagerly anticipated her admission as a Master’s student at University College Dublin. In the autumn of 2023, she will immerse herself in the Master of Arts program for Human Rights in English Literature + Culture, aligning perfectly with her aspirations in the publishing or journalism industry.

 

Beyond her academic pursuits, Anne Marie finds joy in the company of her extended family, cherishing their close bonds and shared experiences. Her love for literature extends beyond her studies, and she finds solace in reading contemporary Irish fiction. She also embraces an active lifestyle and finds fulfilment on the tennis court. Travelling with her parents and sister holds a special place in her heart, creating cherished memories and broadening her horizons.

 

Anne Marie’s leadership qualities shine through her involvement in various roles within the Villanova University community. As the 2022-2023 Villanova University Irish Cultural Society President and the 2022-2023 Villanova University Campus Activities Team Chair of Marketing, she spearheaded initiatives that brought vibrancy and cultural richness to the campus. Her vibrant spirit and commitment to inclusivity left an enduring impact on her fellow students.

With a burning desire for excellence and a passion for storytelling, Anne Marie envisions a future where her love for literature, culture, and human rights converge harmoniously. As she embarks on this exciting journey, she holds within her heart the ambition to pursue a Ph.D., eager to make a lasting impact in her chosen field.

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Adele Morgan

Dubai Mary

Sponsor: Mc Cafferty’s JVC

Introducing Adele Morgan, Dubai’s very first Mary, hailing originally from Glasgow! With a Masters in Education from the University of Glasgow, Adele’s dedication to understanding and enhancing education is evident. Her A-grade Masters dissertation explored teachers’ perceptions of childhood and how they shape their teaching methods.

 

Adele’s expertise extends beyond academics, as she is also a qualified childcare practitioner, earning special recognition for her outstanding achievement. Prior to her higher education journey, she excelled at St. Margaret Mary’s Secondary School in Glasgow, obtaining Higher level qualifications.

 

Currently, Adele is making her mark as a primary teacher at Sharjah English School in the UAE, showcasing her passion for international education. With plans to teach abroad for two years, she aims to return to Glasgow and continue her impactful work in education.

Adele’s dedication extends beyond the classroom, as she is also a Girl Guide leader. Alongside her sister, she established her own unit in a disadvantaged area of Glasgow, providing a positive space for young people to learn and grow socially. From camping trips to local outings, Adele empowers the girls with valuable experiences and plans to obtain an international license, broadening their horizons beyond Scotland.

In addition to her passion for education, Adele has discovered a love for sign language. Building upon her foundational knowledge, she is becoming increasingly fluent and incorporates British Sign Language (BSL) and Makaton in her classroom. Offering her students exposure to alternative forms of communication brings her joy and pride.

Since moving abroad, Adele has immersed herself in reading and joined a book club. Surpassing her 2023 New Year’s resolution to read 12 books, she is currently on book number 10, enjoying a variety of genres such as romance novels, suspense, and thrillers. She is always on the lookout for exciting new recommendations to broaden her literary horizons.

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Christina Gallagher

Donegal Mary

Sponsor: Letterkenny Shopping Centre

Allow us to introduce the Donegal Mary, Christina Gallagher. She attended Scoil Colmcille in Tearmann for her primary education. Following that, she enrolled at Loreto Community School Milford and successfully completed she Leaving Certificate in 2018. Her educational journey continued at the North West Regional College, Derry, where she excelled in the one-year Health Diploma in Health Sciences course, graduating with distinction. Seeking further knowledge and expertise, she then pursued a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Language Therapy at Ulster University, Jordanstown, dedicating three years to her studies and earning her degree.

Currently, Christina works as a full-time Speech and Language Therapist, specializing in children with communication and/or swallowing difficulties. Her caseload primarily involves children aged 3-15 who struggle with speech or language impairments, sometimes both. The satisfaction she derives from her role is unparalleled, as she witness the remarkable progress and growth these children achieve through therapy. This profession has exceeded her expectations, and she aspires to continue working in this position while further enhancing her skills to provide optimal therapy for the children she serves. Her future ambition is to work with more complex cases, particularly those involving children with feeding difficulties, in order to enhance their quality of life.

During leisure time, Christina cherishes moments spent with her loved ones. She particularly enjoy embarking on long walks on Sundays, relishing the serene beauty of places like Ards Friary and Glenveagh, accompanied by family or friends. Gaelic Football holds a special place in her heart and serves as her primary hobby. Having been a member of CLG An Tearmann GAA club since the age of 6, she has enjoyed every moment playing for their local club. Although she took a break from the sport during her university studies, the joy of rekindling old friendships and returning to Gaelic football is incomparable.

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Katie Houston

Birmingham Mary

Sponsor: The Bridge Inn

Allow me to introduce Katie Houston, a remarkable contestant competing in this year’s Mary from Dungloe event. Despite the challenges of leaving school during the Covid pandemic, Katie’s journey took an unexpected turn as she was presented with the opportunity to pursue an apprenticeship instead of her initial plan to study Construction Management at university. Embracing this opportunity, she embarked on an apprenticeship in Project Management, acquiring valuable qualifications and experience that have greatly contributed to her personal and professional growth.

Having successfully completed her apprenticeship, Katie has also achieved a qualification that allows her to serve as a Practitioner in Project Controls. Her next goal is to obtain chartership in Project Management (ChPP), reflecting her determination to reach new heights in her field.

Although relatively new to the construction industry with three years of experience, Katie has already worked on significant projects such as the largest infrastructure endeavor in Europe, HS2, and currently contributes to the Sizewell C Nuclear Power Plant project. Thriving in her role as an Assistant Project Controls Manager, she finds immense joy in her work and aims to progress further as a Project Manager, where she can lead a team and positively influence their development. Concurrently, she is dedicated to pursuing her chartership, recognizing it as a crucial step in her professional advancement.

Being a woman in the construction industry holds profound importance for Katie, and she is passionate about promoting gender diversity across all age groups. As a STEM ambassador within Arcadis, she actively engages with schools and events to advocate for careers in construction. Recently, she had the opportunity to speak at a primary school, highlighting the significance of construction and rail safety to the young audience.

When she’s not excelling in her professional endeavors, Katie indulges in her love for Gaelic and Camogie, actively participating in both sports within the Birmingham GAA community. Over the past year, she has been a valued member of two teams: her university team and Erin Go Bragh, a Birmingham GAA team. These experiences have allowed her to forge friendships and maintain her fitness. In recognition of her dedication and progress, she was honored with the Most Improved Player award for the 2022-2023 season.

Irish music holds a special place in Katie’s heart, and she thoroughly enjoys the vibrant scene prevalent throughout Birmingham. One of her favorite spots to relish Trad or Country music is Norton’s. Furthermore, she possesses the skill of jive dancing, making the opportunity to dance the night away one of her cherished pastimes.

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Caitlin Edelsten

Glasgow Mary

Sponsor: Sharkey's Bar

Introducing Caitlin Edelsten, the proud representative of Glasgow in this year’s Mary from Dungloe festival!

Caitlin, a 20-year-old Early Years Practitioner, recently started working as a key support worker in an elderly care unit. This experience has inspired her to pursue a career in nursing and continue her education.

With deep family ties to the Mary from Dungloe Festival, Caitlin holds a special affection for the event. Her Granny Mary is from Acres, Burtonport, and Granny Kitty was from Middletown, Gweedore. She has been fortunate to spend her school holidays in Donegal with her family and extended relatives every year.

The festival holds cherished memories for Caitlin, as she fondly remembers watching the Marys and Daniel on stage. Now, she is excited to be part of the festival as a Mary and experience it from a new perspective.

Caitlin is a dedicated Irish dancer, having competed in Feis competitions across Ireland and the UK. She takes pride in being a world medal holder with the Caroline Greene School of ID. Irish dancing, along with Irish culture and music, are her passions. She has also learned to play the Tin whistle and accordion at the Irish Minstrels (Comhaltas) St. Rochs under the guidance of Frank McArdle.

Glasgow shares a strong connection with Donegal and Dungloe, and Caitlin aims to represent the Donegal/Glasgow diaspora proudly this year. She looks forward to wearing her sash for the next three months and reconnecting with everyone eagerly anticipating the 2023 Mary from Dungloe International Arts Festival. Let the festivities begin!

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Christina Gallagher

Donegal Mary

Sponsor: Info Coming Soon

Allow us to introduce the Donegal Mary, Christina Gallagher. She attended Scoil Colmcille in Tearmann for her primary education. Following that, she enrolled at Loreto Community School Milford and successfully completed she Leaving Certificate in 2018. Her educational journey continued at the North West Regional College, Derry, where she excelled in the one-year Health Diploma in Health Sciences course, graduating with distinction. Seeking further knowledge and expertise, she then pursued a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Language Therapy at Ulster University, Jordanstown, dedicating three years to her studies and earning her degree.

Currently, Christina works as a full-time Speech and Language Therapist, specializing in children with communication and/or swallowing difficulties. Her caseload primarily involves children aged 3-15 who struggle with speech or language impairments, sometimes both. The satisfaction she derives from her role is unparalleled, as she witness the remarkable progress and growth these children achieve through therapy. This profession has exceeded her expectations, and she aspires to continue working in this position while further enhancing her skills to provide optimal therapy for the children she serves. Her future ambition is to work with more complex cases, particularly those involving children with feeding difficulties, in order to enhance their quality of life.

During leisure time, Christina cherishes moments spent with her loved ones. She particularly enjoy embarking on long walks on Sundays, relishing the serene beauty of places like Ards Friary and Glenveagh, accompanied by family or friends. Gaelic Football holds a special place in her heart and serves as her primary hobby. Having been a member of CLG An Tearmann GAA club since the age of 6, she has enjoyed every moment playing for their local club. Although she took a break from the sport during her university studies, the joy of rekindling old friendships and returning to Gaelic football is incomparable.

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