A 22-year-old teacher from Skerries is bidding to be crowned Mary of Dungloe this summer in honour of her Donegal grandmother.

Nadia Grimes, who has just qualified as a primary school teacher, was selected to represent Dublin at the annual Mary from Dungloe arts festival in August.

Accomplished musician Nadia, who has two younger sisters and four younger brothers, said she was inspired to enter the competition in memory of her late grandmother Ita.

She told Dublin Gazette: “My granny and granddad are from that area and my mam grew up there. My granddad died in 2006 and my granny passed away a year and a half ago.

“I had a great relationship with them, I used to spend a lot of time in Donegal in the summer holidays. My granny was a piano teacher and my mam Catriona is a professional pianist and violinist.”

Nadia Grimes

Nadia started playing the piano when she was four and progressed to the flute which is now her main instrument at the tender age of nine.

She works part time as a waitress at the Blue Bar in Skerries and is now applying for her first teaching post having graduated from St Patrick’s College in Drumcondra.

But in her spare time she is preparing to perform at the week-long Donegal festival which kicks off on July 27 – and hoping she will make her family proud.

Nadia said: “I got the idea to apply from my granny. I remember being just eight or nine and she said to me ‘one year I’d love you to do that’.

“After she passed away mum said she would just love for this to happen. So I entered and here I am. My mum is over the moon.”

The festival showcases the heritage, culture and traditions of the region and its underlying theme is the celebration of Donegal women past and present.

Organisers are keen to emphasise that all the events highlight the natural talents of the people of Donegal from music to arts, food and theatre.

Nadia revealed: “For as long as I’ve been going to the festival it seems to be not so focused on the beauty pageant stuff as other elements of your life.

“It’s more about your everyday life and your interests and hobbies. It’s a nice, well-rounded contest.”