A queen has been crowned for the upcoming Montreal St. Patrick's Day parade, which makes its first full-scale return to the city since 2019.

The United Irish Societies of Montreal named actress, writer and Irish studies student Samara O'Gorman queen of the court, on Saturday night.

"I was shocked," said O'Gorman. "When they announced the five finalists, that means you're automatically in the court, and I was almost in tears at that point because I just wanted to be part of it. I didn't mind which role I got to play. I was fine with just being princess."

She said it hasn't quite sunk in that she is, indeed, the queen of the court and wins a trip to Ireland.

The queen and court are chosen after competing in a public speaking contest surrounding Irish knowledge and community involvement.

"It might be a stereotype that it's a pageant, but it's not at all," said O'Gorman, whose poetry collection "What If the Sun Died" was published in 2021. "It's how you speak and how you present yourself on stage and how well you present yourself in front of others... It's a history competition almost. You have to know Ireland and the Irish diaspora."

Last year, O'Gorman won a scholarship and went to Ireland to spend time in a Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking community).

She used the experience in her speech, and connected it to the unique and special place of Montreal's Irish community.

"There's something so inherently special about the Montreal Irish and how they interact with their heritage and how Montreal interacts with tradition," she said. "It's so special and it always leaves me wanting to come back for more every year."

LISTEN ON CJAD 800 RADIO: Meet this year's Montreal St-Patrick's Day Queen and court

O'Gorman was crowned queen of the Hudson St. Patrick's Day parade in 2019 and first tried out for the Montreal parade in 2020.

"I came back this year after COVID with quite the bang," she said.

The other thing coming back with a bang is Montreal's St. Patrick's Day parade which returns Sunday, March 19, for the first time since 2019, two days after the actual holiday.

O'Gorman said she's not nervous leading one of Montreal's biggest cultural events that was first hosted in 1824.

She's restless.

"I feel like a lot of the Irish, we've been waiting a long time, we've been cooped up, and something we do very well is celebrate our heritage," she said. "To have it at full-scale again this year for the first time in three years, I don't think there's a word to describe it."