Irish Eyes Smile On The 2017 Grand Colleen Coronation Ball

It's that time of year - time for to crown a grand colleen for the Holyoke St. Patrick's Day Parade!

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Maggie Walsh and court! (Photo Credit: Tessa Moriarty)

Irish eyes were smiling when Holyoke crowned Margaret Walsh as the 2017 Grand Colleen!

On Saturday February 18, five women who were previously chosen at the Colleen contest held last month, attended the Coronation Ball, each filled with the hopes of being crowned Grand Colleen! In order for the dream of every Irish girl to come true, the five contestants had to answer the question: “How has your Irish heritage influenced and shaped your life?”

Each finalist answered the question to the very best of their ability and all were proud of their Irish roots. Having been previously judged on poise, intelligence, personality, and appearance at the last competition, the judges only were only looking for how well the contestants answered the question at the ball.

Margaret Walsh, a Holyoke High School graduate, who answered the question by expressing her love of Irish dance, won the hearts of the judges and was crowned the 2017 Grand Colleen!

Maya Birks, Lara McGeer, Caitlyn Hoschtetler, Rachael Dearman, and Margaret Walsh were all escorted by their fathers and had the biggest smiles on their faces – each father very proud of his daughter and how far she has come. The coronation ball was a very nerve racking day for the five finalist and their families, but in the end each family was happy for their daughter’s accomplishments.

Maggie Walsh and close friends pose at The Log Cabin following her coronation! (Photo Credit: Tessa Moriarty)

“Participating in the Colleen Contest is something that I’ve always wanted to do ever since I was a little girl,” said Maggie Walsh, “hearing my name being called as part of the five finalists was one of the proudest moments of my life!”

The coronation ball was filled with tears of joy and sadness. The 2016 Grand Colleen Meghan Ryan shared a very heart wrenching speech sharing her gratitude for her amazing journey filled with many memories that will remain in her heart forever.

“It seems like just yesterday, I was the one sitting in the waiting room nervously wondering what the question will be,” said Ryan. “I wouldn’t have made it through the night if it wasn’t for the support of my family and friends.

Grand Colleen Margaret and her court have a very busy green season heading their way!