Monday 26 September 2016

Hat's magic: contest winners use their heads

Jane O'Faherty

Published 01/08/2016 | 02:30

Emma Byrne Mervue 4, at the mad hatter family day of the Galway Races. Photo: Andrew Downes
Emma Byrne Mervue 4, at the mad hatter family day of the Galway Races. Photo: Andrew Downes

Galway's Mad Hatter competition was a family affair, as two members of the same family won for their creations.

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Rosaleen Beattie from Athlone impressed judges with her vibrantly colourful hat made from mesh, and came first place in the adults' contest.

Louise Maye from Dublin at the Galway Races mad Hatters Day.
Photo: Hany Marzouk
Louise Maye from Dublin at the Galway Races mad Hatters Day. Photo: Hany Marzouk

Meanwhile, Rosaleen's niece Katelyn Walsh from Croughwell, Co Galway took home the second prize in the children's category for a headpiece worthy of any Olympian.

The Mad Hatter Competition was one of the final events of the week-long Galway Racing Festival.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Rosaleen said it was her first time entering the competition.

"My sister Marese had been very into it and her children had been entering for the past few years," she said.

Rosaleen Beattie from Craughwell was the overall winner of the senior compotation of the mad hatters day at the Galway Races.
Photo: Hany Marzouk
Rosaleen Beattie from Craughwell was the overall winner of the senior compotation of the mad hatters day at the Galway Races. Photo: Hany Marzouk

"I would go to the races every year, and I was curious and this year I just decided to go for it."

With a little help from Marese and her three children, she created her hat in just 25 minutes.

"There are about 100 hairpins keeping it in position," she joked.

For her efforts, Rosaleen won a holiday to Portugal for herself and her family.

Keelie Shepperd was the overall winner of the junior competition of the mad hatters day at the Galway Races. Photo: Hany Marzouk
Keelie Shepperd was the overall winner of the junior competition of the mad hatters day at the Galway Races. Photo: Hany Marzouk

"We went to Portugal in May, so we're delighted to get to go again," she said.

Having just turned 40 earlier this year, Rosaleen said it had been "the best year of her life".

Meanwhile, sporty Katelyn (8) was delighted to be on the finalist's podium with her headpiece, which was inspired by the upcoming Rio Olympics.

Her proud mum Marese said that her daughter was "delighted" and that being in the Olympics would be her "biggest dream".

"She is very into athletics and judo," she said.

But Katelyn's skills aren't only limited to the world of sport.

"She came second last year, and she has won lots of art competitions as well," Marese said.

"Her brother got placed as well - he made a hat inspired by the Connacht rugby team after they won the cup," she added.

Katelyn has earned her family a holiday to Mayo for her striking design.

Coming days after the famously glamorous Ladies' Day, Sunday's competition allows attendees of all ages to try their hand at hat-making, with the most eccentric creations winning out.

Meanwhile, Ballybrit racecourse manager Michael Moloney said it was a successful festival despite falling attendance figures on several days.

Asked when preparation begins for next year's Galway Races, he stated: "It will be starting on Tuesday morning."

Irish Independent

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