A RATHMORE teacher this week returned to the schoolroom as royalty having been crowned the 2013 Macra na Feirme FBD Queen of the Land.
Geraldine Barrett, a home economics teacher at Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra in Rathmore, claimed the title at a gala event in Tullamore over the weekend, after going head to head with 27 girls from across Ireland and Britain.
Glamorous Geraldine, from Ballineen in Co Cork, was entered into the competition though her home club Kilmeen Macra na Feirme and after winning through the Carberry Heat went through to the red carpet All Ireland event in Tullamore last weekend.
"It was the best weekend ever, there was really good hospitality and the Queen of the Land organisers were just outstanding. They treated us like royalty, like the queens we were I guess," Geraldine joked.
"All the girls were so nice, very outgoing but at the same time very ordinary, there were no airs or graces," she added.
As part of the judging process Geraldine and the other Queen contestants were interviewed off stage and then again on-stage by TV3 weatherman Derek Hartigan.
The popular Rathmore teacher was unanimously chosen as the winner by the judging panel made up of Damien O'Reilly of Radio 1, Kathleen Leonard of FBD and the 2012 FBD Queen of the Land, Teresa Maria Brennan. But she could not have been more shocked to have been chosen as the winner.
"I was absolutely gobsmacked when my name was called out, I really wasn't expecting to win- there were girls there with PhDs, who had travelled the world, or were doing masters. I was delighted just to be there for the weekend, let alone win," she said.
Geraldine certainly had plenty of support with her on the night, her two sisters Margaret and Collette were both in the audience in Tullamore along with a group of teachers from Rathmore who also made the trip.
"I just can't describe how supportive everyone has been, particularly from my school Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra. On a practical level they have been covering my classes but they also gave me great moral support as well, giving me cakes, making banners, sending text messages," Geraldine said.
"They really are the best in the world, it is just a lovely school to work in," she added.