Donegal Association Chooses Its Mary from Dungloe for 2010

Kiera McDonagh

Kiera McDonagh

The newest Mary from Dungloe is a LaSalle University graduate working in the real estate field who loves sports and adventure travel.

On Sunday, November 28, Keira McDonagh of Philadelphia, an Archbishop Wood alum, was chosen from a field of 13 young women and crowned at the 121st Donegal Ball, which was held at the the Irish Center in Mt. Airy. Although the story of young woman for whom the pageant is named, celebrated in a 1936 song by stonemason Pádraig Mac Cumhaill, is one of tragic love, the pageant is sweet and tends to promote new friendships among the young women who participate. Witness: The following day, the former competitors were all friending each other on Facebook.

McDonagh will represent the Philadelphia Donegal Association at all major events over the coming year, including the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This summer she’ll travel to Dungoe, County Donegal, to compete in the International Mary from Dungloe pageant. The reigning Mary is from County Derry and Philadelphia’s retiring Mary–a spitfire who is anything but retiring–is Emily Weideman.

When you’ve been throwing a ball for more than a century, you tend to do it right, and this one was no exception. Almost 500 people attended the more than six-hour event. There were dancers on the floor for hours, twirling to the tunes of the Sean Wilson Band and DJ John McDaid. Grand Marshal was Eileen McAleer and Ball Chairman, John Gallagher. There were even distinguished visitors from the Dublin Donegal Association.

But don’t just take our word for it.

Check out the photos.

Author: Denise Foley

Denise is one of the founding editors of and a veteran magazine and newspaper writer and editor.

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