New Pride of Tipp wants to help as many people as she can

Michelle McLaughlin Pride of Tipperary

Twenty-year-old Michelle McLaughlin is settling well into her new role as the 2017 Pride of Tipperary.

“It is starting to sink in fully now but it is still hard to believe it! I am hoping to get involved in everything and meet a lot of interesting people. The main goal is to enjoy every minute of it and help as many people as I can.”

Michelle went to St. Michael’s G.N.S. and St. Anne’s Secondary School in Tipperary town and is currently studying an Arts degree in the University of Limerick. It’s a four-year programme and she will be commencing her second year in September. “I chose to major in history and psychology, which I hope to graduate with in 2020. I’m not too sure yet what I am going to pursue once I am finished but as an Arts degree is so broad I could branch into anything which is why it is such a great option for anyone that isn’t too sure what they want to do. I like to think I’m a people person, so I hope to work with people, especially children as they are full of life and bring so much joy to the world.”

Our new Pride has worked part time in the Danny Ryan Music Shop, Tipperary town for the last 3 years. Michael John and Siobhan Ryan sponsored Michelle in the Pride of Tipperary contest. “I absolutely love working in the music shop and I love how much joy music brings to people’s lives. Music is a universal language so no matter what nationality comes into the shop we can always understand people. When I have spare time I try to help volunteer with anything I can get my hands on. I would love to get involved with any fundraisers that I can, but I will also be holding my own to raise money for my chosen charities. With the help of Michael John and Siobhan, we are brainstorming ideas for different fundraisers. I am not fully sure yet which charities I will fundraise for but I have a few close to my heart that I hope to get involved with.“

With university, a part time job and now the Pride of Tipperary duties Michelle also loves getting involved in sport and plays basketball in college and goes to the gym regularly. “I like to get involved in anything else really whether it’s a 5km charity run or helping to organise a bake sale. I can play music but I have not played in quite a while.”

It’s also been a busy time for Michelle’s family since her Pride Crowning. Her Granddad Jerry O’Dwyer, a well-known gentleman in Tipperary Town, is extremely proud that his oldest grandchild won the Pride of Tipperary and her parents are adopting a busy schedule for their daughter but loving every minute of it. Her mother Una is from Tipperary town and her father PJ is from Clonmany in Donegal. They met in Boston and returned to Canon Hayes Park Tipperary Town Tipperary in 2004 when Michelle was 7-years old. “My family and I have lived in Canon Hayes since I moved from America. Everyone there is so friendly and would do anything for you if you needed help. The sense of community in the park is very welcoming and supportive which helped me through my life living there.”

On the Saturday night during the Tipperary Festival, Michelle’s boyfriend of three years, Kevin Kinane won the Men’s All-Ireland Churn Rolling Championship. With Michelle being crowned Pride of Tipperary the night before they certainly became the ‘couple of the moment’. “Kevin is very supportive and will be helping me throughout the year. He also studies in UL and will be going into his third year of engineering in September.”

So far Michelle has attended Joe’s Garden Centre’s 20th anniversary celebration, the family fun day at the Tipperary Racecourse, presented a cheque to South Tipp Hospice from all the money raised from the Tipperary Festival and Pride Festival and just recently she attended the Tipperary Racecourse Charity Colour Fun Run.

Wishing you all the best in your year as Pride!

By Caitriona Kenny

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