A week with the Marys from Dungloe

marys_in_mcelhinneysWell I have to say I had a brilliant, if not very tiring week last week filming the Mary from Dungloe festival. It is about 14 girls from all over Ireland, Scotland, England, America and Australia who travel to a small village called Dungloe, which is in Donnegal. After a week of events, one of them is then crowned the 2004 Mary from Dungloe. I’m not going to tell you who won – you’ll have to watch the programme to find out !

So, this involved me staying down in Donnegal for a week. It took a bit of getting used to, to be honest, as I still can’t work out the Euro coins, and the roads are a complete and utter nightmare. They are narrow, sometimes unmarked, full of hills, and most hills have sharp bends after them as well. I put a good few scratches on the bumper of the hire car !

On the first day we went to Tory Island with the Marys, and I’ve got to say it is a bit of a bonkers place. Everyone was really, really nice, but it is a bit surreal. It’s 45 minutes off the coast of Ireland, and has its own King, who welcomed all the Marys. Someone told me as well that he has the right to grope ladies living on the island, but I reckon that’s probably all made up – he was really nice. So the Marys basically met people on the island, and then stood outside the island’s hotel, while a marching band who arrived on the ferry, played songs for what I am not joking – seemed an absolute eternity. They went on for AGES !

On the Thursday night, the Marys were introduced to the public, on a stage set up in the main street of Dungloe. After that, drinks were consumed, as it was Louise, the Derry Mary’s birthday. To say I ended up plastered would be pretty accurate. I had a good time though !

anna_lisa_and_louise On the Friday, the ladies went off to McElhinney’s in Ballybofey. I reckon I got out of bed on the wrong side or something, as I was extremely pissed off for some reason (maybe i was hungover). Things were not helped when the bus with the Marys sped off out of Dungloe, and I then spent 30 minutes trying to find it, or at least get out of Dungloe. I then had to drive like a looney on rubbish roads, and arrived in Ballybofey feeling like I’d just completed a stage of the RAC Rally Championships. The Marys all tried on dresses and ball gowns though, and they all looked so nice in them that that cheered me up !

Saturday night I decided to have a wee drink with the Marys. Here is a tip – always pre-book a taxi in Dungloe. Or Donnegal. Our drinking finished at 4am, when I phoned a taxi. I fell asleep in the hotel reception (nice, I know). The taxi turned up at 6am – yes, 6am. Our hotel for that night was 20 minutes away from the Marys’ hotel. But I got in to our hotel at 7.15am. Our trip took an hour and fifteen minutes because there were three other people in the taxi who all got dropped off first. It was pretty frustrating and I was soooo knackered !

Sunday was the night of the crowning festival (again I won’t tell you who won !) I really wanted to have one more mad night out (as although they had been late, I hadn’t been up to any crazy antics) but (CENSORED!) made me feel so guilty about wanting to have a drink that I headed back to the hotel. Raging !

So that was my week in Dungloe – and honestly, the Marys were totally lovely. And so were the committee people and the Marys’ chaperones as well. That made it a pleasant week for filming really. There were only two bad points in the whole week. Can’t say anymore about them, but it was extremely annoying, seeing as all the Marys and everyone involved with them was so nice to us.

I totally fell for one of the Marys as well (no names being mentioned !) but in typical fashion did nothing about it – and she was single ! Oh well….

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