Eimear Anderson.
Eimear Anderson.

This week’s Friday’s Child is the 2015 Derry Rose Eiméar Anderson, I hail from the beautiful townland of Glenullin and am currently a student at the wonderful St. Mary’s University College, Belfast where I study BEd Secondary Religious Studies with English.

How would you describe yourself?

Derry Rose Eimear Anderson.  DER0216GS006

Derry Rose Eimear Anderson. DER0216GS006

Hmm… my least favourite topic of conversation is myself. However, if you asked someone who knows me well to describe me I would like to think they would tell you I’m a tea fanatic, I have a huge love of volunteering, an obsession with being a Princess, a passion to teach and a big heart. Don’t get me wrong though I’m also a huge child, have serious commitment issues with all things exercise and I’m one of those really annoying people that slurps tea when it’s too hot, which I’m constantly reminded is SO un-lady like but I just can’t help it. Old habits die hard…

Happiest childhood memory?

You’ll read more about this later, but my happiest childhood memory was made when I spent two weeks in Disneyland. I was all of 8 years of age, and there was the ACTUAL Cinderella, Belle, Snow White, Ariel, Jasmin and Rapunzel standing before my own two eyes in a parade through the streets of the Magic Kingdom. Whilst all the other little girls were screaming to get over the barrier to join in the fun, I simply stood completely still, jaw dropped, just about breathing and one of them reached out for my hand. I was totally stunned and absolutely elated. Daddy has hilarious video footage of it somewhere, and I’m sure he would get £250 on You’ve Been Framed for it.

What was your first job?

I started my first job in March 2011, and 5 years later I’m still there. I work part-time in Bishops Footwear, Coleraine to fund those nights out that the student loan just doesn’t stretch to!

Favourite book?

My favourite book has and always will be Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’. I studied it initially during my AS Level Literature course and admittedly viewed it as merely something else I had to cross off my exam list. However, since then I’ve read it time and again, and firmly believe it is the perfect insight into life in 1930’s America – a dramatic downfall from the bright lights of 1920. It is most definitely the ultimate Buildingsroman, and despite being subject to some controversy over the years, when read at an appropriate age it will open the readers eyes to a world of undiscovered and very often hushed culture that existed in time.

Favourite film?

If you ask the hint of an adult in me she would tell you it’s ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’; those of you who have seen it will know why, and those of you who haven’t need to go and watch it. If you asked the little girl in me however, she would scream ‘Frozen!!!’ – the reason behind this one is fairly self -explanatory I think. A film, in my opinion requires little other than two princesses and a talking snowman.

Favourite television programme?

I’m not so much of a sit down and follow a series kind of girl, but I do love anything at all on TV to do with wildlife. My daddy is definitely to blame for that one, but so long as it features David Attenborough’s voice, you can count me in.

Favourite expression?

“Naw don’t worry, it’ll be grand” – this will tell you a lot about my general outlook on life, which probably isn’t always a good thing…

Favourite method of relaxation?

I am very much your typical woman when it comes to relaxation so I’m all about a Chinese, a glass of wine and a soak in a bubble bath up to your ears – the perfect Friday night!

Favourite holiday destination?

I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to holiday with my friends and family quite frequently, but my favourite holiday destination will always be Disneyland, Florida. We spent two weeks here when I was little and it was a holiday I will never forget – I would imagine it’s where the Disney Princess obsession came to life. The magic is undeniable no matter what age you are and I have promised myself my honeymoon (in many, many years) will be my return trip; my future husband simply won’t have a say in the matter.

Who would you most like to meet?

Michelle Obama – I think what I admire most about this spectacular First Lady is that despite being a prestigious lawyer, a fabulous writer and devoting her life to the greater good of her country, she will tell any journalist in any interview that she is a mother. Her family will always come first and she seems to deny the limelight and prise to which she is more than entitled. She’s living proof of one of my favourite sayings that “behind every good man is a great woman”.

What makes you angry?

People who talk during a film drive me round the bend. I do not need a running commentary and I do not know what happens at the end if I haven’t seen it!

What makes you happy?

Spending time with my gorgeous Goddaughter, Lucia. She is one of the biggest blessings in my life and she never fails to make me smile. She’s 3 going on 13 now and we are very much two peas in a pod. Her innocence and honesty will make anybody laugh and she’s the perfect ray of sunshine to any day.

What human quality do you most admire?

Selflessness. I could count on one hand the amount of people I have been blessed to cross paths with who will give everything of themselves to someone else. Not necessarily financially, but in giving their time, their energy, their love and their care. Quite often these are the people are those who will appear to many as having little to give. These people are precious and have the most beautiful souls that should be acknowledged, praised and treasured.

What human quality do you least admire?

I least admire people who have the ability to look down on those around them, particularly when these people forget where they started off. As much as I will be the first to celebrate someone else’s well- earned and often well-deserved successes, I’m a firm believer that the only time we should look down is when we’re giving someone else a hand up.

What was the worst thing to happen to you in your life?

My family have been fairly fortunate this far in life in avoiding tragedies, however when I was eleven we lost my beautiful granny Veronica, or Vonny as we knew her when we were children. She was very much the heart of our family and to this day I believe that if I know what love is, it’s because of her. She was the most beautiful, kind and gracious human being that I have and will ever know and whilst we still miss her every single day, I know that she has set me out on this extraordinary path on which I now find myself.

What is your greatest fear?

Needles. I do not do needles at all! At twenty years of age I will still be fighting back tears, looking totally the other way and wiggling my toes. (My mummy tells me this apparently takes away the pain, but I’m not so sure).

What has been the high point of your life to date?

Being selected as the 2015 Derry Rose is without doubt the highlight of my life to date. From I was a little girl I can’t remember a summer that didn’t revolve around RTE’s coverage of the two nights of The Rose of Tralee in the Dome each August, and now I can vouch for the fact that the festival is this and so much more! I have always said I wanted to be a Rose, but it is impossible to imagine yourself in the position of the outstanding ladies that you admire year after year on TV. I told myself I wasn’t good enough, of course I couldn’t be a Rose. How wrong I was. Being part of The Rose of Tralee International Festival has been nothing short of a blessing. I was given a very unique platform to be myself, and to be celebrated for it. I’ve become sisters with 63 other Roses – all of which are ambassadors for the other girls who took part our own selections at home and abroad– there was no winner. We are not a competition and we are not a beauty pageant. We are a celebration of modern Irish women around the world, and the festival thrives in connecting the Irish diaspora all across the globe. Words will never do justice to how it feels to live your own dreams, but I cannot encourage young women enough to put themselves forward for the 2016 Derry Rose Selection. Take a deep breath and have the courage to set foot through the door of opportunities that will be opened to you.

How would you like to be remembered?

As someone who encouraged other people to believe in themselves, to take a risk and to just let be, to believe that if something is for you it will not pass you and to have faith God’s plan.

What is your most treasured possession?

My most treasured possession and my most embarrassing habit go hand in hand, but even at twenty years of age I will not hesitate to tell you that I would be absolutely lost without my blanky. I have had it since the day and hour I was born and it’s been stitched back together more times than I can remember. I cannot and will not sleep without it and I wouldn’t have my night time routine any other way!

If you won the lotto what would you do with it?

We had this discussion recently in our house when the lottery was at a record £66 million and I decided firstly that I don’t think I would want to win such an amount because I do honestly believe I would go mad. Although that didn’t stop me buying a ticket all the same… But whatever I did win (should odds ever be in my favour) I would give at least half to different charities close to my heart, and I would give a million to every member of my family to change their lives too. Being a typical country girl, I’d do what my Granda Jim taught me and buy a ‘good and decent site’ and build a house with whatever is left after that… And a new car wouldn’t hurt either.

If you could be granted one wish in life, what would you ask for?

More than anything in the world I would wish that as a whole human race, we could beat cancer. I know chances are very slim and many will read this as a typical cliché but I’ve been witness to too many lives and homes being left in shatters as a result of such a horrific disease and believe that it is time for change.

If you could write your own epitaph what would it be?

Dream big. Love more. Have faith. Let be.