Saturday 17 August 2019

Out of this world - Nasa data analyst Fionnghuala O’Reilly crowned Miss Universe Ireland 2019

Miss Universe Dublin Fionnghuala O'Reilly. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Miss Universe Dublin Fionnghuala O'Reilly. Picture: Brian McEvoy

Gabija Gataveckaite

Dubliner Fionnghuala O’Reilly (25) was crowned Miss Universe Ireland at tonight’s star-studded event in Dublin city centre.

The Nasa data analyst, who works remotely from Dublin, wowed judges when she spoke about her ambition to use her platform as an engineer and a bi-racial woman to promote diversity and equality.

Dazzling in a diamanté encrusted gown, the Swords woman told Independent.ie Style how special the night was for her and how it was a “dream come true”.

“I feel absolutely amazing,” she said.

“This is like a dream come true for me.

“I remember the first time that I saw miss Universe and I saw these last two ladies, Grainne Gallanagh and Coleen they did amazing jobs as Miss Universe Ireland  and they inspired me to even compete in this competition.

“I’m very proud to be wearing this sash and crown, it’s very exciting,” she said.

She explained that she did a lot of fundraising and charity work to prepare for the night.

“This has been months and months in the making and tonight is really so special because I’ve been working on it for a very long time, so it’s absolutely fabulous to see how everything turned out.”

Miss O'Reilly works remotely from Dublin and her base is in Washington DC. She attended the George Washington University in the States and has lived in Ireland on and off for several years.

Speaking about her plans for the upcoming year, she said that she wants to increase the number of women in science.

"I really hope to do a lot of work for my cause, which is women is tech and women in STEM, and really empowering women to excel to the tops of their industry in general, all industries deserve to have women in the top."

Miss Universe Mayo Shona Tuohy was crowned first runner up.

The glamorous event was hosted by social media star James Patrice and Director of Miss Universe Brittany Mason.

“I would advise the new winner to enjoy every moment and be present, learn everything that you can and take every single opportunity that comes your way and just be flexible,” she said.

Having previously competed in the competition, Ms Mason was appointed as a national director for the brand in 2011.

"I'm trying to make a lot of changes and shake everything up, not only here in Ireland but worldwide, I want Ireland to be the country that everyone is looking at and I believe that's what we've become.

"The Miss Universe brand is the essence of being a woman, this is really about celebrating feminism, this is about celebrating being a woman," she added.

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