Buncrana native Grainne Gallanagh (23) is donning her sash once more to take part in Miss Universe Ireland 2018.

Nurse and beauty queen Grainne has been announced as one of the Top 30 finalists in this year’s pageant – three of which are from Donegal.

Grainne is well-known as Miss Donegal 2016 and a Miss Earth NI runner-up. Now she has set her sights on the reformed Miss Universe contest.

Grainne tells Donegal Woman: “Taking part in pageants gives you a lovely sense of achievement. You feel proud of yourself that you did it. I’m always glad to take part and meet new people. Thinking back on all the things I’ve done in past pageants has been great and I loved working with charities.”

The timing was just right for Grainne to apply to this year’s contest, and she got the news last week that she was part of the Class of 2018. “When I got the call from director Brittany Mason it was so exciting. I was so shocked,” she said.

Grainne now lives and works in London, where she has progressed from emergency nursing to working in a women’s health clinic.

The pageant encourages participants to use their platform to advocate issues and current topics, which Grainne will be relating to her work.

“Women’s health is something I’m interested in with my profession and there has been a great movement in recent years in women’s empowerment.”

A post shared by Grainne Gallanagh (@ggallanagh) on

Grainne also sees female pageants as empowering. “People have their opinions about the competitions. They are people who haven’t done them or met girls who have taken part. When you meet these girls they are ambitious, career-driven and intelligent. I find this empowering.”

The MUI final takes place on August 2nd, where the winner gets prizes worth €40,000 and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to represent Ireland in the world finals. Before the final, the women take part in photoshoots and Instagram live discussions on topical issues.

On her own campaign, Grainne said her plan is to ‘just be myself’ and enjoy the journey.

Lisa McConalogue Photography

Read interviews with all the local MUI finalists here on DW: 

‘It’s a privilege and an honour’ – Niamh Frain is named as a Miss Universe Ireland finalist

Emma’s excitement in joining the Miss Universe Ireland Top 30