Aged just 23 young Aghagallon girl Méabh Lenehan is already an inspiration and now she is set to represent Co Armagh at the Rose of Tralee.
Inspired by both her grandmothers Méabh has packed quite a lot into her young life, and she is determined to give just as much back, particularly to those less fortunate.
Méabh grew up with the Rose of Tralee and has fond memories as a child spending summers in Donegal when the popular international festival was being held.
“As a child, we had a caravan in Rossnowlagh and it was shared between the whole family,” said Méabh.
“Our two weeks in Rossnowlagh always fell over the Rose of Tralee Festival and I have special memories watching it every year in the caravan with my family.”
Revealing her inspirations, Méabh spoke about her grandmother Kathleen McStravick. “She is a second mummy to me, a true angel who we would all be lost without.”
“My other Granny Lenehan was inspirational to me too. Unfortunately Granny Lenehan passed away while I was on a voluntary trip to Nairobi with St Michael’s when I was 18.
“We were working with street boys and teaching. That’s a very poignant memory for me and an experience that has definitely influenced by whole outlook on life - to take every single opportunity that comes your way and keep trying for something that you really believe in.”
Méabh has worked as a Digital Success Executive in Engage in Belfast for the past year and is a former pupil of St Patrick’s Primary School, Aghagallon and St Mary’s JHS Lurgan. She then went to St Michael’s Grammar School and afterwards studied marketing at the University of Ulster Jordanstwon where she graduated with First Class Honours in 2015.
“I took an international academic placement year abroad and studied Events and Hospitality management in the USA. I interned at a 5* Country Club, Admirals Cove in Florida.
“I had the most amazing experience in Florida, working with a team of over 50 international interns. I gained so much independence and responsibility and met many different people whom I now can call my friends.”
Méabh is currently Captain of St Mary’s Aghagallon Senior Camogie Team and describes her proudest moment when the club won their first ever intermediate championship last September.
She also coaches the u-14 and u16 camogie teams in the club. “I love coaching. The girls are great and I believe its important to give something back. The young people are the future of the club and as a senior player, I feel I have a responsibility to help them develop and progress. I have represented my county at minor and senior level, beaten All Ireland Minor Finalists in 2011.
With her parents Joan and Gerard Lenehan’s backing Méabh is honoured to be the Armagh Rose.
“I am extremely proud to be from Armagh and I hope to put us on the map. I want to attend many occasions and events throughout the county this year to meet people from all parts of the community and raise awareness of the Rose of Tralee Festival.
“The Rose of Tralee is something I really believe in and something very close to my heart.
“I believe in the values the festival embraces - aspirations, ambitions, intellect, friendship and it celebrates our Irish heritage and culture. In its 57th year this year, The Rose of Tralee Festival has grown and evolved just as society has grown and evolved and truly reflects modern Irish women today, I think thats the beauty of it, you can just be yourself.
“I am so excited to go to Tralee this summer and meet the other Roses who are coming from all over the world. It is sure to be a fantastic experience and one I will never forget.”
Organised by Cellar Bar owner Lesa McCann the Armagh Rose centre is run completely by volunteers. Blathnaid Scullion is the centre coordinator, and Lesa with a few former Armagh roses and escorts help with the organising.
Meabh will now be travelling to Tralee in August for the International Rose of Tralee festival.
Lesa won the Armagh Rose 20 years ago and also is eager to put something back.
This is a great opportunity also for local businesses to back Méabh, the Armagh Rose by helping to sponsor an outfit, shoes and evening dresses. If you would like to help contact Lesa at The Cellar.