Teacher races ahead in fashion stakes on Ladies Day
"Hey miss, miss." Little did the pupils of CBS Midleton think when they went to the Galway Races yesterday that they would find their teacher, Helen Murphy, at the centre of a scrum of photographers.
Helen's Dior-style full skirt caught the eye of judges and the mother of four, from Douglas, Co Cork, ended up winning the coveted Anthony Ryan's Best Dressed Lady prize in an outfit that cost her around €530.
Her duck egg blue and silver skirt from Coast at Debenhams cost €155 while her Nine West satin shoes were reduced to €49 in the Brown Thomas sale and she broke up a Dunnes Stores €10 necklace and embellished her €30 rented hat with it. Her bag cost €80 at Dirty Fabulous.
Helen teaches religion and English in east Cork.
She wore a €150 necklace by Aisling Maher from Adare, Co Limerick, and the designer was thrilled because she won the 'Wear Irish' category at Ballybrit last year.
Helen's dentist husband Eamonn was unaware of her sartorial success and back at home her kids Katie, Roisin, Lucy and Dan celebrated their mum's win when the news came through.
"I just wanted to get dressed up for the day, I didn't come to win," said Helen, who loves fashion and writes a blog called Daily Diva Diary on Facebook.
This year the Wear Irish prize went to Emer Nash who wore a Suzi Mahony hat and a dress made with fabric she bought for €75 during her lunch break.
It was a great day for Galway milliners with the Best Hat prize going to Edel Ramberg who created a black headpiece with French turkey feathers for Paula Clancy.
Paula, a chef from Offaly but living in Galway, put together the outfit for a family wedding next week and thought she'd wear the top, skirt and Edel's hat and that no one would notice her.
Well, everyone at her sister-in-law's wedding on Saturday week will know all about the hat when she walks into the church in Carraroe.
Paula won a €1,500 shopping voucher and Emer received a €500 voucher, both for Anthony Ryan's store on Shop Street.
Helen returns to school next month the proud owner of €8,000 worth of diamonds and she was presented with her one carat pendant and matching earrings by Anthony Ryan in the parade ring.