Roses set to wind on through hills ahead of Tralee festival

Now in its 55th year, the Rose of Tralee’s place in the Irish calendar is secure

Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport was the first engagement for the 32 contestants who will compete in the international final of the Rose of Tralee, and their host Dáithí Ó Sé. They begin a nationwide tour this afternoon. Video: Ronan McGreevy

Tue, Aug 12, 2014, 16:31

This year’s crop of Roses made its first public appearance for the cameras together this morning in advance of the Rose of Tralee festival next week.

Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport was the first engagement for the 32 contestants who will compete in the international final, and their host Dáithí Ó Sé. They begin a nationwide tour this afternoon.

It was a close run thing for the 23-year-old Kentucky Rose Claire Curran who was rushed to hospital with appendicitis last weekend, but has recovered in time to make the finals.

She quipped that she was going to come to the Rose of Tralee even if it meant trailing an I/V line behind her.

This year’s Roses includes the Cork camogie captain Anna Geary, an all-Ireland club camogie winning player Nicola Corcoran from Galway, the Dublin Rose and professional Riverdancer Róisin Lyons, and an alcohol and relations abuse counsellor, the Texas Rose Cyndi Crowell.

All were happy to make each other’s acquaintance under the watchful eye of presenter Ó Sé who is a veritable veteran at this stage having hosted the event five times.

This is the 55th year of the contest which remains a staple of late summer in Ireland and a perennial ratings winner for RTÉ.

Amidst all the glitz and glamour, the Texas Rose was candid in speaking about growing up in an abusive home.

“My father was an alcoholic. He was physically, emotionally and verbally abusive,” she said of her father. “It played a big role in me growing up. I feel very fortunate that my mother was very positive and had a very hopeful outlook on life.

“My Mom is very excited and she is very proud. She gets here on Thursday so she’s really looking forward to it. She’s a wonderful person and I love her so much. I can’t wait to have her here.”

“I feel because I went through it (growing up in an alcoholic family), I give back to others as well.”

The show will be broadcast as usual on RTÉ One from 8pm on Monday and Tuesday August 18th and 19th with a break for the Nine O’ Clock News on both nights.