A quick dash in, and a quick dash out – that’s all it takes. Men often despair at how long it takes a woman to shop compared with their own 15-minute equivalent of Supermarket Sweep.
hey might just have a point, as the tactic certainly paid off for sisters Sandra Faller and Maria Connell when they found themselves up on the stage as two of the 25 finalists in the best-dressed lady competition at Galway Races on Ladies’ Day yesterday.
Both from Galway, they had combed the rails of the city’s boutiques ahead of the big event but could not come up with anything, so on the spur of the moment they decided to drive to Cork.
In the Olori boutique, Sandra – a front office manager at Glenlo Abbey Hotel – found a Roisin Linnane two-piece in heavy gold satin, a smock-style top with a bow and wide-legged trousers that she teamed perfectly with the shoes from her wedding last August.
“They’re so comfortable I didn’t even know I had them on,” she said. She topped off her outfit with a chic tilted black hat by Laura Hanlon.
Maria, from Claregalway, found a vibrant yellow dress with wide sleeves in the same boutique, which she teamed with a pink swirl of a hat by Edel Ranberg. “We were out of there in 15 minutes,” she said.
In the end, it was Sandra who walked off with the €10,000 cash prize.
“First time winning, first time ever even making it into the tent, first time everything,” she said as she planned to toast her win with a gin and tonic.
Sandra had tried not to get her hopes up because the competition was so stiff this year.
“I’m almost hiding in the background, going ‘Hopefully’,” she said.
The women’s family, the Elwoods, from the Headford Road in Galway, have been going to the races since they were “very, very small”, Sandra said.
Unfortunately, her husband, John, was not there to see her big win as he got “caught working” at the family business, the Galway jewellers, Fallers.
“He’s going to be very angry that he didn’t make it in today,” said Sandra.
“He was saying that every Ladies’ Day all he does is chase me around, so he said, ‘I’ll sit this one out’. He’ll be very sorry he sat this one out.”
Sandra’s plans for her win included “a well-deserved break”.
“We’re so looking forward to it,” she said. “We were looking up France in September, but I’m not really into the sun, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Meanwhile, Catherine O’Connor, from just outside Newry, Co Armagh, won the €3,000 prize for Best Hat.
Hers was an elegant ivory tool-pleated creation by Marc Millinery of Cork.
It had been matched carefully to a photo of her dress, also ivory and pleated, from Couture Grandeur.
“We came on Monday for a family holiday – we’ve been camper-vanning it and one of the girls put me up last night so I could get ready,” Catherine said.
Busy Ballybrit attracted plenty of familiar faces yesterday.
They included presenter Doireann Garrihy and Miss Ireland Pamela Uba, who was wearing a vibrant dress in African print, as well as Galway footballers Johnny Heaney, captain Sean Kelly and Shane Walsh.
Former rugby stars Sean O’Brien and Rob Kearney were also seen enjoying the sunshine and the racing.
Meanwhile, milliner Laura Hanlon was turning heads in a hat made from glass.
“It weighs about the same as a baby,” she said, while moving very carefully.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/in-pictures-all-the-style-from-galway-races-ladies-day-2022-41875454.html In pictures: Galway Races 2022 Ladies Day best dressed