The Heart of the Rose of Tralee
The Rose of Tralee is an age old tradition in every household in Ireland, a herald for the end of summer and the last hooray before going back to school. I watched with all the excitement of a little girl who dreamed of being a princess and promised myself I'd get there one day.
This time nine years ago I did, I was sitting pretty in the Dome in Tralee, beautiful Synan O Mahony dress, hair done, surrounded by excitement, lights, cameras and wonderful people, representing my county with pride. It was an opportunity beyond any of my expectations and one of the most important and life changing experiences of my life.
(Thanks for the pic Bla)
I regularly hear the jibes and sniggers when people talk about the Rose of Tralee and to be fair most roses will laugh with you, we do have a sense of humour you know, and my bottom isn't bad either, I think it's quite lovely! but I will say that I think it is one of the most empowering things I have ever done and continue to be a part of. It is modern and forward thinking, while still holding onto all the good things from the past; pride of place and heritage, a celebration of women, their drive, their strength, their compassion, their ambition and their success. Maria Walsh is such a shining example of this. She has been an outstanding Rose and proof that the festival is far from the lovely girl competition it is so often labelled as. She is a lady, in every sense of the word, a strong voice in such a subtle and likable manner. Large shoes to fill for this year's lucky winner!!!
For me though the over riding benefit from my entire experience in the Rose of Tralee will always be the wonderful women I met and the friendships I have gained. These ladies will forever be part of my life, an intricate part of me because of the amazing and unique sisterhood we have as the class of 2006. These women come from all walks of life and have gone on to all kinds of careers and pathways, some of us are married, some us are mothers, but all of us are roses and whatever life will throw at us, we will always be friends. They continue to encourage, impress and inspire me everyday and I love them dearly for that.
Looking forward to our 10th Anniversary ladies, see you in Tralee next year.
I raise my glass tonight to every rose, every would be rose and every future rose and to the 2015 Rose of Tralee (whomever she shall be!)
Lots of Love.