Kirsty Blake Knox: 'Where would we be this summer if it weren't for Love Island's Maura?'
Where would we be this summer were it not for High Queen of Longford, unlikely feminist icon, and former race track grid girl Maura Higgins?
She is the breakout star of Love Island - the reality show where TV producers toy with the lives of sexually frustrated Instagram models.
Caroline Flak presides over it all, showmances and lip fillers are par for the course, and "it is what it is" can be used to conclude any argument.
But Ballymahon local Maura has come out on top, mainly for giving the two fingers to toxic masculinity and introducing the term "fanny flutters" into everyday vernacular.
Give the woman a medal for crying out loud! She's an entertainment TV thunderbolt.
Even our esteemed leader Leo Varadkar wants to be associated with Hurricane Maura.
"I have to say I really like her," he told reporters yesterday.
"I've only watched snippets [of the show]," he added hastily. "But personally I like her. She has an interesting turn of phrase."
Higgins grew up in the town of Ballymahon in Longford, and worked as a hairdresser and model before making her way to Casa Amor in the Balearics.
She also briefly appeared in Virgin Media Television's reality show Tallafornia alongside Cormac 'The Corminator' Branigan. But the less said about that the better.
In Ballymahon, the reaction to her appearance on ITV2's hit show is largely positive. In Occasions hair salon, owner Caithriona Egan, said the show has become a go-to conversation starter.
Between Maura and the €233m Centerparc investment a stone's throw down the road, the place is garnering unprecedented press attention.
"It's the talking point of Ballymahon. I was at a wedding in Athlone the other day and everyone was talking about it there," Caithriona said.
"Maura worked here for five years. She was here when we opened in 2009. We always knew her name would end up in the headlines."
Ms Egan is confident she is the breakout star of the series, and will go all the way to the end.
"She always was a straight talker," she says. "There's no falseness with Maura. She'll make it to the end of the show I think. She has to - sure, she's carrying it."
David Murray (22) attended the same secondary school at Higgins.
"I was surprised when I saw she was going in. At first I wasn't sure [how she would come across] but she's the star of it now," he said.
Emily Farrell (18), from Ballymahon, agrees that Maura is compulsive to watch.
"She likes to stir the drama which is really entertaining. And it's great hearing someone using midlands slang on TV," she says.
Residents say there will be some sort of homecoming, or a party at the very least, to celebrate Maura becoming the biggest name to come out of Ballymahon since Oliver Goldsmith.
While most residents of Ballymahon are happy to see a familiar face on the hit TV show, other people aren't as impressed.
"I can't watch more than five minutes of that vacuous s***e," one woman remarks.
Another says that sex is not for TV, it's something that should only be done behind drawn curtains, preferably at night.
But that probably wouldn't get 3.3 million viewers a night now would it?