Cop by day and model and charity advocate, Ciara Quinn, this year’s “Face of Ireland” winner, celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by walking in the New York parade. The 26-year-old Meath woman was delighted to be able to march in the parade in a stunning gold gown and tiara before joining her fellow police officers, in her uniform, for an afternoon in New York City.

Her St. Patrick’s Day started early and went on into the wee hours after she attempted the official St. Patrick’s Day Parade Ball. Quinn told IrishCentral, “We started off at 7.30 and went to the Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It was a really long day but it was really really fun. We met up for the parade, with the Parade Boss Hilary Beirne,  at 11am and walked from 44th to 54th, which in heels was a lot.

“After the parade I went back to the hotel and put on my uniform and met up with our gardai friends. It was brilliant because I got to do both, I got to be in the parade and represent the gardai. It was lovely having people on the street coming up to say “Wow you’re an Irish guard”.

Back home Quinn is a police officer based out of Store Street garda station, in the north city center. She said “It’s so busy but I don’t think I would want to be anywhere else - right in the middle of it.”

Although the leap from police officer to beauty pageant entrant might seem like a strange one, Quinn explained that it was the fact that “The Face of Ireland” was different that drew her to the competition.

Quinn told IrishCentral, “My boyfriend Mark was trying to convince me to do a bit of modeling and I came across the website When I looked at the website it became clear that it wasn’t just a beauty contest, they were looking for someone to be an ambassador and to help support different charities. It wasn’t just a one dimensional thing, so I decided to apply.”

She continued, “At the moment we’re working with Stop Suicide. It’s a brilliant charity and there are just so many suicides in Ireland but it never really gets spoken about. There are now more suicides in Ireland than road deaths which is shocking. We pump so much money into speed cameras on the road and what all else. I really feel strongly about backing the charity.

“We’re trying to get them out there as much as possible. Right now we’re in the middle of organizing a fashion show to benefit the charity. The details will be on their website.”

For more information about the contest visit