At the Macra annual conference in Limerick, Sharon O’Mahony, Eugene O'Donnell, Liz Mason, Vanessa Crean, Limerick’s International Miss Macra Festival contestant, and Sarah O'Riordan, of Limerick Macra
VANESSA Crean will be flying the Limerick flag at the 46th International Miss Macra Festival.It takes place in Thurles over the Bank Holiday weekend from Friday, August 4 to Monday, August 7
It will be a jam-packed weekend with contestants from all corners of Ireland and some international contestants competing for the honour of being crowned International Miss Macra 2017. And Vanessa is hoping for a big Limerick crowd to cheer her on.
The Ballyheigue native moved to Limerick at 16 to go to school and stayed for college and work. She is currently senior marketing manager at Work Smart Media and Marketing Limerick.
Vanessa lives in the city centre and is quick to dismiss the notion that Macra is “only for farmers”.
“There is a misconception among young people that Macra is 'only for farmers' when in fact the agricultural aspect of the club is only a fraction of its entire make-up. Macra clubs have a reputation as being well known for 'the craic' and in 2017 I am very proud to say that nothing has changed over the course of 70 years,” said Vanessa.
She only wished she joined the Limerick city club earlier.
“I joined in November 2015 and have been an active member since then. I had lived in Limerick city for six years at that point and although I had several friends from school, college and work, I found it difficult to break the routine and try new things outside of the usual meet-ups.
“I love Limerick and after eight years it really is home, but my one regret is not joining Macra sooner. I had become stuck in a rut and wasn’t appreciating everything the city and county has to offer. Through Macra events I finally realised what was on my doorstep and had a group of people to attend with. Plays at the Lime Tree, kayaking with Get West on the Shannon, cycling in the Ballyhouras or clay shooting with Rosemount Shooting School in Adare, to name but a few.
“Limerick has an abundance of activities for young people, you just need to be open about partaking in them,” said Vanessa, who adds that Macra brings out the best in people.
“It offers so much to members that everybody works so hard to give back. Limerick City Macra recently teamed up with Annacotty Tidy Towns to offer help in whatever capacity they needed it, which resulted in three new park benches being made by our members. Not only did we have a great day making them but we can provide something worthwhile for our community. I am so proud to be a member of such a worthwhile organisation and I will continue to work hard during my officer terms to ensure the club and county's continued success,” she said.
Vanessa’s dad was a member when he was her age and she had only ever heard good stories about the organisation.
“So I did some research and to my surprise there was a club within the city! I attended one meeting, joined that night and haven't looked back since! Macra is an exception to most clubs as it is not based on one activity. Most clubs are based on one common aspect e.g cycling, etc. but Macra has so much more on offer, from public speaking to sports, farming skills to personality contests and not forgetting the club social events such as kayaking or barbecues.”
A very active member, Vanessa is county secretary and Limerick City Macra club secretary. Previously she was Limerick Macra Easter Ball chairperson and assistant PRO Limerick Rally 2016. She will do her adopted county proud at the Miss Macra festival.