I can’t explain the emotions that run through your mind when your name is called as the winner of Miss Universe Ireland. The shock, disbelief, delight, excitement. This has truly been the most incredible experience of my life. I had the absolute honour of representing my country at the most prestigious pageant in the world. Miss Universe was phenomenal. I met so many astounding people and when I stood on that stage it felt so surreal, this was the moment that I had dreamed about for years.

This opportunity enabled me to use my voice and platform to make a difference. I used my knowledge and experience as nurse to encourage women to look after themselves and each other. I truly believe your health is your wealth. I am genuinely so excited for all of the girls that are competing for Miss Universe Ireland this year, the journey that each girl will have is so personal to her, you learn so much about yourself and have fun doing it! My advice to all of the girls is be your authentic self, push yourself out of your comfort zone, don’t listen to anyone telling you that your not good enough (including yourself) and always relax and have fun. I am so proud of all that I have achieved and all of what each and every girl has already accomplished and what they will go on to do.

My most sincere and heartfelt thanks go to the owners and directors of Miss Universe Ireland Brittany and Steven for believing in me, and giving the women of Ireland this opportunity. Thank you to my family, friends, community and people of Ireland for the continuous love and support that I have received. I cannot wait to meet the next beautiful woman that will join the sisterhood of Miss Universe.

All my love, Miss Universe Ireland 2018, Grainne Gallanagh