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Let’s get to know Kyla McGowan, our new Miss Limerick!

Kyla McGowan pictured above has been crowned Miss Limerick 2020. Picture: Paudie Bourke

Let’s get to know Kyla McGowan, our new Miss Limerick!

by I Love Limerick Correspondent Elise Ahern

miss limerick 2020

Miss TLC – Maeve Yee, Miss Tipperary 2020, Kyla McGowan, Miss Limerick 2020 and Rebecca O’Neill, Miss Clare 2020. Picture: Paudie Bourke

The combined Miss Tipperary, Miss Limerick & Miss Clare (Miss TLC) virtual event took place on Facebook Live on Sunday, September 27 broadcast from Dani’s Showroom in Limerick. The Miss Limerick pageant has acted as one of the main events of the city’s social calendar for over three decades.

There were four overall winners from Limerick on the night. Kyla McGowan was crowned Miss Limerick 2020, Aishling Kelly was 1st runner up, Amy Kerr was 2nd runner up and Bonnie Dowling was 3rd runner up.

Kyla, 19, from Newcastle West, Limerick is a law student at Trinity College Dublin and is very passionate about becoming an international criminal and human rights defence barrister. In addition to having a career in law, she hopes to use her voice for those who feel like they don’t have a voice. She would also like to raise awareness of mental health and suicide prevention.
1. Tell me about your childhood?
I’m extremely fortunate to have had an amazing childhood with lots of happy memories. I’m the oldest of six children and have loads of cousins, so there was always someone to play with or annoy! As a child, my mam would read me bedtime stories every night which helped me get into reading from a young age. Like many other children around the world, my favourite authors growing up were Roald Dahl and JK Rowling. As well as reading, I absolutely loved horse riding and animals growing up. I attended horse riding camps during my school holidays and any chance I got to be on a horse I took it! Disney was probably my biggest love as a child, with my favourite princess being Belle because she liked to read like me. I’m aware Disney Princesses aren’t considered great ‘role models’ for children nowadays but I beg to differ. Without my fondness for Disney, I wouldn’t have tried to read as much as I did as a child and I’m not sure if I would have tried as hard at school as I did. 

2. What was your dream job as a young child?
This is a particularly tough question because I wanted to be about a hundred different things! Up until TY, I would have said I wanted to become a Vet. Which I did, up until I had to watch a dog being put down on work experience. I absolutely loved the operating side of things, but I’m a big softie at heart so that was a no-go for me! It was always in the back of my mind to become a fashion designer. I remember as a young child I had multiple Top Model books where I’d design outfits in. Still to this day, it’s a dream of mine to eventually own my own fashion company, but we’ll have to get my Law degree out of the way first… On the complete flip side, I always wanted to be a builder because I was obsessed with building houses for my dolls out of cardboard boxes and adding on extensions to actual wooden dolls houses!
3. Who are your greatest inspirations? Kyla McGowan
I don’t really believe in having a single inspiration because I think you become so fixated on that person that you try to become like them instead of being yourself and being unique. However, from an aspiring Barrister point of view, Amal Clooney has definitely influenced my career decision. I think she’s such an underrated Barrister and it really angers me that when you google her, her outfits and marriage are what’s spoken about more so than her amazing career. I’ve been a follower of hers since the Nadia Murad case, which inspired me to study Human Rights in the future and help people who don’t have a voice in society. 
As well as Amal, from a business point of view, Suzanne Jackson has been a huge influence in my life. Her determination and drive is what I love most about her. Her products are insane and her story motivates me to pursue my dreams.  Kyla McGowan 
As nice and all as it is to have celebrity inspiration, I’m extremely proud of my family and their achievements. My late Grandmother Kathleen McGowan, who sadly passed away suddenly in June in particular. She came from a time where women weren’t seen as “bread winners” for the family but remained driven in her goal to be a successful business woman, and by god did she accomplish that. I would like to say I’ve inherited her determination to succeed and follow in the footsteps of one day owning a family business, just like her one day. 
I believe it’s important to not only have goals and aspirations but to always remain kind and positive, which is why my Great-Grandmother Susan will always be my biggest inspiration for wanting to be a good person. She has had an extremely difficult life, but has always remained loving and kind, something of which I will always remember and aspire to be in my life. Her smile could light up an entire room and her hugs and words of encouragement have always been one of my strongest driving forces still to this day. 


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To say I’m shocked would be the understatement of the century! I’m absolutely over the moon with winning this years @misslimerickofficial ❤️ Anyone who knows me knows exactly how much this means to me and I cannot wait to show you all what I intend to do with the title ✨ Firstly, I want to say a massive thank you to @iammcloughney and @esmewallace because without them, none of this would have been possible! Their dedication to ensuring our safety and comfort throughout the event was second to none, making the events of Miss TLC run completely smooth throughout the evening ❤️ Thank you from the bottom of my heart ❤️ Secondly, thank you to the judges (@emma_austin_ @ciara_ohalloran_ @mandycatwalk @eoinsheehan and @kirsty___downey) for picking me as the next Miss Limerick. I’m incredibly humbled and I promise I won’t let you down this year! ✨ Third, the biggest thank you to the amazing people at @danisclosetandshowroom ❤️ It was a complete honour to represent your showroom on stage and I’ll be forever grateful for everything Sarah-Jane and Daniel have done for me ✨ You should be so, so proud of the amazing business you’ve built together and even more proud of how loved you are in the industry! ✨ Thank you so much to the sponsors for my prizes I’m completely spoilt! 🥰 @alexandra_dental @keanes_jewellers and @lawlessflowers. I understand that times have been tough for businesses in the last few months and I’m extremely appreciative of my beautiful flowers, bracelet and teeth whitening ❤️ Another thank you to @paudiebourke, the amazing photographer for this years pageant, to the people working behind the scenes who without them the show wouldn’t have happened such as; cameras, lighting, microphones and sound. ❤️ And last but not least, to the amazing young women who entered the pageant of @misslimerickofficial I’ll be forever grateful to have shared the stage with you, even in a socially distant manner! Thank you all for being so kind and supportive. You are all such intelligent, independent and caring young women who will go far in life ❤️

A post shared by ✨ MISS LIMERICK 2020 ✨ (@kyla_mcgowan_) on


4. Why did you enter Miss Limerick? Kyla McGowan
I decided to enter Miss Limerick because I believe life is too short not to take risks and better yourself as a person. I was aware of the platform and all the amazing opportunities that stem from becoming Miss Limerick, having followed the likes of Shauna Lindsay for years and how it helped her career. Whatsmore, I wanted to improve at advocacy which will be essential to becoming a Barrister in the future. 
5. What advice would you give to girls who want to enter Miss Limerick?
Go for it! The experience alone is absolutely incredible and you get to make so many friends. The confidence you gain throughout the competition is incredible and you can be proud of yourself for putting yourself out there as well. Not only that but you have the support of the brilliant Esme Wallace and Patrick McLoughney, who are honestly some of the nicest people I have ever met. They want you to enjoy the experience as much as possible and are always there for anything you need help with throughout your journey. 
6. Why did you decide to become a barrister? Kyla McGowan
The idea of becoming a Barrister first entered my head when I was in Transition Year, when my year Co-ordinator Mrs Harris, took it upon herself to invite a female Barrister in for a talk with us. I was completely mesmerised with the job from the minute she started talking about all of the criminal trials she worked on over the years. 
It’s still a very white, male and privileged profession so I want to change that if possible and encourage as many women, from as many backgrounds as possible, to become a Barrister in the future and create more diversity in the legal profession in Ireland. 
7. Now that you have won what do you plan to do with your title?
I don’t want to give too much away at the minute as I am in the middle of planning events and fundraising activities, but my year as Miss Limerick will most certainly be action packed! I aim to work with Pieta House and Limerick Treaty Suicide Prevention, which has been recently become a registered charity, as I believe now more than ever, during a pandemic, their services are essential and I would like to help out in any way I can. 
Art has always been a huge part of my life, with special thanks to my amazing secondary school teacher Mr. O’Sullivan for allowing me to grow as an artist throughout my 5 years with him, so I would love to organise an art themed event or two because drawing has helped me through so much in my life. 
That’s all I’m going to say because I don’t want to give too much away!
8. What do you plan to have achieved in the next 5 years? Kyla McGowan 
I will have finished my Law degree by then, so I would hope that I would either have completed deviling by then as well so I can be a Junior Barrister. I am going to be completely over realistic here and say I would love to have become Miss Ireland, but we’ll see how that goes aha! I hope to have travelled the world as well or at least to Australia, America and some parts of Asia by then. It has always been a dream of mine to volunteer in Africa as well, so I think I’d be over the moon if I managed to fit that in too!
9. What makes you a proud Limerick Woman?
Being honest, I think it took me moving to Dublin to realise how much I love Limerick. Coming home at the weekends I was always grateful to be away from the city life as I’m from Newcastle West, so it was lovely to have the Demesne to go for walks in with my family and clear my head. I also think Limerick is incredibly underrated which breaks my heart. We have such picturesque towns and villages such as Adare, we have amazing hotels, shops and other businesses which are native to county Limerick. Limerick literally has everything you could ever ask for in a city and I especially love how proud Limerick people are to be from Limerick. 
10. What do you love most about Limerick?
I am going to have to be biased and say Newcastle West! The castle is so beautiful and steeped in history and as I already mentioned I adore the Demesne. Not only that, but we are known all around Ireland as being the fashion capital of Limerick! Coming from a family of business people, I know just how much hard work goes into running a business in a time where most shopping is done online. That’s why it’s so refreshing to still see a town which is home to so many amazing individuals and unique boutiques, whose owners go above and beyond at offering beautiful hand picked items whether it be clothing and footwear from B + L Fashions, McGowans Footwear, Platform, Ella Maria’s and Virgo, etc or even homeware and decorative shops such as The Dresser. It’s lovely to be able to support businesses whereby you know the families and just how much your support means to them.  Kyla McGowan 

For more info on Miss Ireland, click HERE

For more stories about Miss Limerick, click HERE


Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.