Buncrana’s Aisling is named Miss Tyrone 2014

Buncrana's Aisling Dougan Cleary, who was named as Miss Tyrone 2014
Buncrana's Aisling Dougan Cleary, who was named as Miss Tyrone 2014

A Buncrana beauty has been named Miss Tyrone 2014.

Aisling Dougan Cleary beat off competition from over 40 other hopefuls at the finals in the Whitehorse Hotel on Thursday night.

The 20-year-old’s success is all the more remarkable considering it was the first-ever pageant she entered.

Aisling will now go forward to the Miss Ireland finals later this year.

She will gain a valuable insight into the world of the pageant this Thursday when she attends the launch night in Dublin.

Speaking to the ‘Journal,’ Aisling said she “couldn’t believe it” when she was announced as Miss Tyrone 2014.

The achievement is particularly special for Aisling as her grandmother hails from the county.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted and honoured.

“I saw the Miss Derry pageant on facebook and thought it looked great.

“I was going to wait until Miss Donegal, but was speaking to one of the organisers, who said I should apply.

“You didn’t have to be from Tyrone to enter. I entered to gain experience and never, ever expected to win. I was so nervous to begin with, but was fine when I got on stage.

“A lot of the other girls were very experienced in pageants, so it was a bit daunting, But, everyone was really nice.”

She added: “I’ve modelled a bit at fashions shows, but this was my first-ever pageant.

“I’m still in a bit of shock. It’s lovely that I’m representing my granny’s home county.”

Aisling will now represent Tyrone for the next year and is already planning her charity work.

She said: “A lot of the next year will involve working with charities here and in Tyrone. I’m really looking forward to doing that.

“I’d like to work with the North West Romanian Fund, as I visited Romania with them in 2010. I also want to work alongside cancer research charities and perhaps i.C.A.R.E in Buncrana.

“I have a few more in mind have to organise it all very soon. This past few days have all been a bit of a whirlwind.

Aisling added: “I’m honoured to represent Tyrone. I’m really looking forward to the year ahead.”

Aisling made sure she kept it local at Thursday’s finals by wearing a dress from ‘Mc O’s Vintage’ in Buncrana, run by Jean O’Flaherty.

She described it as one of her “favourite shops.”

“I loved my dress,” she said.

The new Miss Tyrone is a University of Ulster psychology graduate and will undertake her PGCE in teaching next year in St Mary’s University College, Strawberry Hill, England.

She also works in Mac’s Newsagents in Buncrana.

She said her family and boyfriend Cathal Crossan are “delighted” at her success.

“My mammy is in Portugal at the minute, but is back this evening (Monday.)

“She couldn’t go to the finals as she was away. So, I’m looking forward until she gets back and we can celebrate,” she laughed.

A facebook page ‘Miss Tyrone 2014-Aisling Dougan Cleary- has been set up to chart Aisling’s journey through the year.