THE granddaughter of a Roscommon-born woman from New York has won the prestigious title Queen of Roscommon at a beauty pageant held in Castlerea at the beginning of the month. Elizabeth Ann Hanrahan, 20, is a junior finance student at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York. Hanrahan's grandmother (on her mother's side), Nora Clarke-Dowd was born and raised in Tibohine, Co. Roscommon and moved to New Jersey when she was 20. Hanrahan's maternal grandfather came to New York from Tipperary when he was a teenager. Hanrahan's father's family also originate from Ireland but "his roots are slightly more detached from the country," explained the newly crowned queen. Hanrahan was accompanied by her mother and grandmother to Roscommon for two weeks in July where she was one of six girls vying for the title of queen. According to Hanrahan, they all "had a grand old time there."Although the purpose of the trip was to participate in the beauty pageant, Hanrahan and her family spent valuable time visiting her grandmother's brothers and cousins. "It was great to meet everyone." It was through a friend that Hanrahan first heard about the competition. "She (friend) asked me if I'd be interested in entering the competition," Hanrahan recalled. She replied in the affirmative.The 20 year-old then contacted then New York Roscommon Society President Tom Giblin, and it was Giblin and the rest of the society that made it possible for Hanrahan to participate and ultimately bring back the crown to New York. Hanrahan, who was up against other potential queens from London, Manchester, Dublin, Belfast, Galway and of course, Roscommon, impressed the judges so much that on Friday, August 1, she was crowned the Queen of Roscommon. The opening ceremony of the festival took place in Castlerea on Wednesday, July 30. On Thursday each of the participants had an opportunity to get to know each other better at Rita Morgan's bed and breakfast in the town. "On Friday we all went for interviews in the morning and then headed off to get dolled up for the big night," said Hanrahan, who looked stunning in a coral color summer dress.The beauty pageant took place at River Island club in Castlerea and each girl was interviewed individually by Midwest Radio personality Paul Claffey. Not only had the girls to speak in detail about themselves, they each had to do a party piece. "For my own party piece I danced a reel, but the other girls sang, played instruments, or recited a poem," Hanrahan said.At the end of the night, Hanrahan never in her wildest dreams expected her name to be called out as the 2008 Queen of Roscommon. She describes the half an hour following the announcement as a "blur." Hanrahan clearly remembers however, the committee giving her the "Queen of Roscommon" sash, a trophy and a check for the sum of $500. "I was also given a beautiful necklace and watch along with dinner for two at a nearby hotel and a basket with an assortment of beauty products," she said. Now back in New York after her whirlwind trip, Hanrahan said, "I'm still a little shocked about winning, I mean don't get me wrong I am ecstatic, but the entire trip was so great it's still hard to believe it all happened!"However, for Hanrahan, the trip was more than just bringing home the crown. "While I was in Roscommon I got to know my Irish roots a lot better and it has made me so proud to be Irish," said Hanrahan, who has been taking step dancing classes since she was eight. "Getting to go to Ireland and actually live there for a couple of weeks made me appreciate winning all the more. I know my family is so proud, grandma especially, and that makes it even better!"Not forgetting her fans at this side, Hanrahan said she wants to extend her gratitude to the New York Roscommon Society, with special mention to current president Mike Lyons and former president Tom Giblin. "Without them this wouldn't have been possible," she said.