How Garda Ciara Murphy became the most talked about contender on the Best Dressed scene
Published 29/07/2016 | 11:29
When it comes down to it, Ireland's Best Dressed Lady scene is a small one.
While new faces are being given prestigious titles and lucrative prizes at events around the country during racing season, repeat competitors regularly crop up.
Ciara Murphy, a Garda at Store Street in Dublin city centre has been a key member of the best dressed scene since 2014 and for Ladies Day at the Galway Races on Thursday, she took home the Best Hat prize, worth €2,000.
“I wasn't going to come to the races but I got last minute accommodation from a friend of mine putting us up,” she told us. “I think the win is on another level. It is amazing.”
But it looks like she's not flashing her prize money around as her winning 'Game of Thrones inspired' hat was rented for €55 and she purchased her dress from Sky Fall in Gorey for €69.
While insurance broker Lisa McGowan won the top gong, it was Ciara's image that landed on today's front pages.
She's no stranger to the style spotlight having previously been named Best Dressed at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival in 2015, scooping a prize worth €8,000 and she was also a finalist at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival in 2014.
Murphy has really upped the ante for 2016 and competed at the Grand National at Fairyhouse in January, Irish Gold Cup Day in February and at Punchestown Festival in April.
"It's nice swapping the navy slacks for a pencil skirt," she said after her first victory in 2015.
The 31-year-old from Dunboyne, Co Meath, first came to prominence when she entered - and won - the Face of Ireland competition in 2011.
"Everyone has a stereotype of female guards, but things have totally changed now -- there are more women in my unit than men and any one of my colleagues would be able to walk into the industry," she told The Herald at the time.
"I kept it quiet at first because I wasn't sure how it would go down - I expected some slagging, but they're all thrilled for me.
"Everyone has been so supportive, but no-one is treating me differently - you're just one of the lads at the end of the day."