BY ANN CREEDON
THE recent lockdown provided us with the opportunity of browsing through some old photo albums, among which we found this group of 1978 finalists for the Maid of the Isles Festival in Skibbereen and in which we ourselves had the privilege of being the Bantry representative that year, having been selected at a dance in the Westlodge Hotel.
Ten Maids took part that year from all over West Cork and South Kerry. We were accommodated for the week in the Eldon Hotel and treated like princesses!
On the Sunday, we travelled to Cork port to welcome the London Maid off the ferry. That night, there was a parade of colourful floats from the West Cork Hotel to the Maid of Erin monument at the Square in Skibbereen, where we were introduced to the large crowd by the late Dave Long.
At this function, we presented a special prize to the emigrant who had travelled the furthest for the festival. The week full of activities flew by we had a great time with our roommate Miss Kinsale.
We had various tasks during the week such as a fashion show and baby show. Tuesday night was Irish Night at the West Cork Hotel warmly welcoming home to Skibbereen the returned emigrants. The London contingent, led by Ciss Malone, spent years travelling over for the Skibbereen Welcome Home Week.
All too soon it was interview time at the West Cork Hotel, with the judging panel headed by the late Liam O’Regan, owner and editor of The Southern Star; Michael Manning, West Cork Tourism Officer, and a representative of the ferry company.
Once more, it was on to the floats, accompanied by our escorts from Ilen Street. The moment had come for the announcement of the winner who was Miss Kenmare.
It was a great week which provided fond memories!