A Bronx resident, Fiona Molloy is the New York representative for the 2013 Mary of Dungloe competition in Co. Donegal.
What do you do?
“I am an intern at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. I also work part-time as a cocktail waitress at Yonkers Casino. I am hoping that, with my bachelors of science in health services administration, I will start full time in September with the city.”
Tell us about your Irish heritage.
“My father, Connie, is from Ardara in Co. Donegal. My mother, Eileen, is Irish American, but my grandparents are from Galway and Kerry.”
You are due to represent New York in the 46th Mary from Dungloe International Festival in the coming weeks. How did you get involved?
“My grand uncle, Jimmy McGonagle, encouraged me a few years ago to get involved. Unfortunately Uncle Jimmy passed away in November and won’t be with me in August. Nothing would make me happier and proud to represent the Molloys in Dungloe. Jimmy was an active member of the Donegal Association, which is a major sponsor of the New York Mary From Dungloe.”
Can you tell us a little about the history of the competition?
“The competition is based from a young girl named Mary who was said to not only be stunning, but a beautiful person inside and out. It is a love story of a couple from different backgrounds that no one wants to be together. Mary’s family forbade her from being with her true love, and after relentless efforts by the young man he left heartbroken, back to America. Mary went on to marry, but died shortly after.”
How do you explain the contest to your friends?
“I tell them it is a festival celebrating my Irish heritage, and the contest picks one winner that best represents Mary.”
What last minute preparations do you have to do?
Tell us a little about your internship with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
“From a young age I always knew I wanted to have a career that helped others. I feel it is personally rewarding to me that I was fortunate enough to work in the Rehabilitative Department of New York City. My official title was a program specialist. I worked closely with the public who suffered from various issues such as alcoholism, chemical dependencies, homelessness and mental illness.”
What is your dream job?
“Eventually I would like to become a registered nurse.”
Describe the Mary from Dungloe contest in three words.
“Good Irish craic.”
Three million people in the world are descended from one Irish High King