We sat down with Grainne Gallanagh after she won the title of Miss Universe Ireland 2018
What did it feel like to have your name called as Miss Universe Ireland 2018?
It was honestly the most shocked I have ever been in my whole life! I stood with my hands on my face in disbelief for about 20 seconds. I was positive there had been some kind of mistake. It was phenomenal! When Cailin put the crown on my head and the confetti dropped it was so surreal. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier than in that moment.
What is your plan as Miss Universe Ireland?
Miss Universe Ireland is not just a title. She is someone that aims to make a difference in her community and country and that is what I plan to do. Aside from working my absolute hardest in preparing for Miss Universe, I am doing some work in women’s health issues in Ireland. As a nurse I feel it is my duty to try and make a change in something I am so passionate about. One of the things I have been doing is raising awareness about women getting their cervical screening done. Especially with the recent scandal I think now is an important time to remind people to have these checks carried out. I am encouraging people, especially women to look after themselves and highlighting things that they should look out for. I will be doing talks in schools around the country. It is my aim to ensure that health policies are more inclusive of both male and females and that female problems are taken just as seriously .
Tell us something about yourself that not many people know
One thing that not many people know is that I have 99 first cousins! My father had 15 brothers and sisters and they each had big families of their own. I am very family orientated and they are my biggest support network.
What makes you proud to be Irish?
Every time I get to inform someone that I am Irish I am immediately filled with a burning sense of pride. As a country, Ireland has faced tremendous hardship in the past and we have come out the other side. Irish people reside all over the globe and yet our pride in who we are and where we come from remains and that is evident from the Irish heritage that we hold onto so tightly. From the travelling that I have done I have learned that even for such a small country, no matter where you go in the world, you will always find a welcoming Irish community. I travelled to San Francisco when I was 19 and the only person I knew there was my sister. On the first day at my job in the middle of San Francisco on a busy road I could hear someone calling ‘Grainne’ and It was someone that I knew from home and it really showed me how it really is ‘a small world’.
What do you feel is Ireland’s greatest contribution to the world?
The Irish people are my country’s greatest contribution to the world. We are a nation of only 4 million people, but around 70 million people all around the world call Ireland home. We have filled the world with Kennedy’s and Murphy’s and built up Irish communities in all corners of the globe. We are known for our friendly nature, work ethic and collective sense of humour. We have brought our culture to every country and that is why our holiday of St. Patrick’s day is celebrated all over the world.
What are you most excited about for Miss Universe?
I am obviously so unbelievably excited to go to Miss Universe. Every single experience so far has been incredible. I cannot wait to travel to Thailand. I have been before and it is a beautiful country with such friendly natives. I am looking forward to meeting like minded young women and getting to know each of them and what they are bringing to Miss Universe. I am also very proud to be shining a light on female health issues in my own country and it is something that I hope that I can do for the entire universe.