When local Dundalk girl Helena Mullins got her photo taken at the Carlingford Oyster Pearl Festival last August she did not realise that a few months later she would be seeing herself on the back of buses and on luggage carousels in Dublin airport.
“I first found out about it just before Christmas and I was both surprised and delighted,” 23-year- old Helena told the Democrat, “I was honoured that such a massive tourism event as The Gathering saw fit to use the photo to publicise their event.”
Helena told the paper that the photo was originally taken at the Carlingford Oyster Pearl Festival when she was competing to be the festival queen.
“We all signed disclaimer forms before the photos were taken saying that they would be used for publicity but we never imagined they would be used for The Gathering.
“Looking back on it however, the Oyster Festival is a Gathering event and Failte Ireland took the photos so it makes sense that they would use them.”
The image of the four girls has been used in a magazine supplement for the Irish Times, on the back of buses and on luggage carousels at Dublin and Shannon airport.
“I think it’s great publicity for Cooley Tourism and for Louth itself.
“I was a bit peeved at first because I didn’t think Carlingford Village had been given the recognition it deserves.
“It’s a great photo and shows how much fun we all had at the festival.
“I like the fact that they haven’t used models for the photos, we are real girls who were enjoying ourselves and having a laugh.”
Helena says that The Gathering will not be using the photo anymore as they have other events coming up but they may use it again in the future.
“I’m just delighted that they choose our photograph out of the thousands of others they had.
“It has been surreal as you don’t expect such publicity from a small Carlingford event.
“It has been used for something better than I ever expected and I’m glad to be a part of it.
Helena would also like to recommend taking part in the Carlingford Oyster Festival.
“It was a great experience and one I will remember for ever.
“I made great contacts and Carlingford is a beautiful little village to spend time in.
“I hope it benefits greatly from The Gathering.”