Aspiring human rights barrister is crowned Miss Limerick 2020

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Aspiring human rights barrister is crowned Miss Limerick 2020

From left: Amy Kerr, 2nd runner up, Kyla McGowan, Miss Limerick 2020, Aishling Kelly, 1st runner up, and Bonnie Dowling, 3rd runner up, pictured at the virtual event

A LAW student who is “very passionate about becoming an international criminal and human rights defence barrister” has been crowned Miss Limerick 2020.

Kyla McGowan,19, from Newcastle West took the coveted title on Sunday night at the combined Miss Tipperary, Miss Limerick and Miss Clare (Miss TLC) virtual event which took place on Facebook Live broadcast from Dani's Showroom in Limerick.

In addition to having a career in law, Kyla, who is a law student at Trinity College Dublin, hopes to use her voice for those who feel like they don't have a voice. She would also like to raise awareness of mental health and suicide prevention.

There were four overall winners from Limerick on the night. Aishling Kelly was named 1st runner up, Amy Kerr was 2nd runner up and Bonnie Dowling was 3rd runner up.

Aishling, 23, from Corbally, is a student at Mary Immaculate college currently doing a Masters in Primary Education. She is “over the moon” to have placed as 1st runner up in the Miss Limerick final and looks forward to representing Limerick in the Miss Ireland semi-finals.

Amy, 19, from Limerick city is currently a student at Limerick Institute of Technology studying property, and dreams of one day opening her own auctioneering agency. She said: "I am ecstatic at being crowned the second runner up! I am very much looking forward to continuing on this journey and representing Limerick in the next stage of Miss Ireland which is the semi-finals.”

Bonnie Dowling, meanwhile, is a 25-year-old special needs assistant from Raheen. She studied applied languages in UL and went on to complete a masters in translation in NUIG. She would love to go back to college someday to get her teaching qualification so she can teach Spanish and Irish. 

The Miss Clare crown went to Rebecca O'Neill, 19, from Shannon, and Maeve Yee, 22, from Cashel was crowned Miss Tipperary 2020.

The winners of Miss Limerick, Miss Clare and Miss Tipperary will compete in the final of Miss Ireland 2020 later this year. The Miss Ireland competition aims to build confidence and self-esteem in its contestants and has acted as a launching pad for many successful, empowering Irish women including Holly Carpenter, Aoife Walsh, Sarah Morrissey, Andrea Roche, Amanda Brunker, Michelle Rocca and the 2003 Miss World winner, Rosanna Davison.

The Miss Limerick pageant has acted as one of the main events of the city's social calendar for over three decades. This year also marked the unprecedented merger of the Miss Limerick, Tipperary and Clare events – a necessary step in order to present these events in a safe and regulated manner that adheres to all Covid safety regulations.

This combined event was directed by Leader columnist Patrick McLoughney and former Miss Sunday World and Miss Tipperary Esme Mansergh Wallace. The team were keen to stress the safety measures that were taken for the event to happen.

The MC for the event was former Miss Clare Lauren Guilfoyle who now works as a physiotherapist, sports journalist and social media personality. The presenter of the event was Miss Tipperary South 2019 Bailey Gavin. There were five judges on the night including Limerick's own Celebrity Chef, Eoin Sheehan, international model agent and owner of Catwalk Models, Mandy Maher, Miss Limerick 2019 Ciara O'Halloran, Miss Clare 2019, Emma Austin and Miss Tipperary 2019, Kirsty Downey. 

Miss Limerick North 2019 and the winner of the Miss Ireland 2019 talent contest, Christina Alcazar, performed a breathtaking live singing performance at the event during the judges’ deliberation period.