Adele Morgan has been crowned as the 2023 Mary from Dungloe.
Dubai’s very first Mary, Adele, hails originally from Glasgow and was chosen as the judges’ winner and announced by Daniel O’Donnell at the festival that took place recently.
28-year-old Adele Morgan, a primary school teacher from south Glasgow, relocated to Dubai last August.
Adele thinks it is important to give back to her community as she is also a Girl Guide leader. Alongside her sister, she established her own unit in a disadvantaged area of Glasgow, providing a positive space for young people to learn and grow socially.
Adele told The Irish World: “I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet, the magnitude of it all but it’s a great feeling. It really is.
“I didn’t think it was me that was going to be the title winner, but it’s a lovely, lovely feeling.”
Asked what it was like to hear her name announced, Adele says: “It was very surreal, a bit overwhelming.
“I’m looking ahead to a great year.
“I can’t wait to see what the future and this year has in store for the festival.
“Me and the other girls, we’ve gone through this whole journey together.
“It is a bit of a bittersweet moment because I am so elated to be crowned. However, I think that all of the other girls are such worthy, worthy winners and I wish that we could have all been crowned.
“I know that’s not possible.
“It’s a great feeling.
“I had to go up onstage and say a few words and I just lost my words which isn’t like me.
“Usually, I can always find an answer for everything but it just took me by surprise.
“It was all a whirlwind.”
Adele’s paternal grandparents came from Donegal, she spent much time there growing up and her family were there supporting her through the festival.
“It’s been a bit crazy, a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.
“Everyone’s so excited. I had quite a lot of family supporting me.
“And regardless of the outcome, we were just having the best time.”
One reason it was an emotional rollercoaster is that Adele’s grandparents from Donegal and her granny especially, who Adele was doing the festival for, is no longer with us.
“There have been a few highs and lows wishing they were here with me.
“It’s been an honour to do this for my gran particularly.
“I’ve gone to Donegal my whole life.
“However, this week I think I’ve seen parts of Donegal that I never even knew existed and I’ve seen some of the beauty that I didn’t know was there such as Fanad Lighthouse, Glencolmcille Folk Village, all fantastic beautiful places on the coast of Donegal that everyone should get to experience once in their life.
“I would say the highlight was just touring around the county getting to see all of Donegal and being with all the girls on the bus.
“That was the highlight, just being together.
“We were all so, so close from the very beginning we bonded right until the very end. There was tears when we were all leaving.
“I would say the highlight was just getting to experience Ireland and all its beauty with all these beautiful girls.
“I was encouraging all the girls to come out to Dubai while I’m still there, hopefully a few of them get to come out and see what it’s like.”
It was a case of Dubai taking their crown on their first attempt with Adele being their inaugural Mary.
“Hopefully fingers crossed we can have another Dubai Mary next year.
“That’s my goal, just to set good foundations over in Dubai so that we can continue to always send a Dubai Mary.
“The festival is all about the Irish diaspora and including people and bringing them back to Ireland for this event so being so far afield and able to bring the title over to Dubai and then spread the awareness of the festival is just an honour.
“I was in touch with the Dubai Irish Society and they’ve got big plans for things that we’re gonna do to promote the festival and Irish culture over in Dubai.
“I’m just really looking forward to getting back to Dubai in the next few weeks and just having a chat with everyone and seeing what we’re going to do with the crown.”
Adele succeeds Caitlin Finn, who was born in London but grew up in Ballybofey, who was last year’s Mary from Dungloe and also London Mary.
“Definitely big shoes to fill,” Adele says.
“Caitlin was with us all week.
“She’s like a big sister.
“She was so motivating, everything she said was just positive.
“She said the right thing at the right moment.
“Caitlin’s a true representative and ambassador for the festival and honestly I think following in her footsteps if I was half the Mary that Caitlin was, then I’ll be doing something right.”
Adele believes it was fate that she moved to Dubai just before they searched for their first ever Mary.
“It was my cousin that gave me the final push.
“She’s like, ‘You need to go for it. It’s fate that the first year that you come out, they have the first Mary’.
“I just said, ‘You’re right. I might as well just go for it’.
“And I’m eternally grateful to her for pushing me to go for it.
“It just feels like all the stars have aligned and it’s all happened for a reason.”
What would Adele say to anyone thinking of going for the Mary from Dungloe? “100% go for it.
“This has been the best week of my life and no exaggeration.
“I have made so many memories that I didn’t think were possible.
“I’ve grown and learned so much about myself.
“If anyone ever thinks that they want to go for it, just go for it.”