Limerick entrant Sinead Flanagan wins 2019 Rose of Tralee

27-year-old junior doctor succeeds Waterford Rose Kirsten Mate Maher

Limerick Rose Sinead Flanagan, a 27-year-old junior doctor, has been crowned the 2019 Rose of Tralee. Video: RTÉ

 

The 2019 Rose of Tralee is the favourite, Limerick Rose Sinead Flanagan.

The 27-year-old junior doctor succeeds Waterford Rose Kirsten Mate Maher.

Ms Flanagan grew up in Mungret and now lives in Adare, Co Limerick.

She revealed that she attended the same school, Crescent College, as the winner of TV show Love Island, Greg O’Shea.

“It’s Limerick’s year,” she said. “We’ve had the All-Ireland, the league, the Munster final, the Rose of Tralee and of course Love Island.”

She described the festival as representing “modern Irish women” who are highly educated and have a few life experiences.”

“I’ve always loved the Rose of Tralee. This is the first time I actually didn’t cry when the Rose of Tralee was crowned and it was me.”

She qualified as a physiotherapist at the University of Limerick and then spent another four years qualifying to be a doctor in University College Cork.

She confessed to having a problem telling her right from her left, but as a doctor hopes to specialise in infectious diseases.

The 2019 Rose of Tralee

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The 2019 Rose of Tralee, Limerick Rose Sinead Flanagan. Photograph: Rose of Tralee/Twitter
The 2019 Rose of Tralee, Limerick Rose Sinead Flanagan. Photograph: Rose of Tralee/Twitter

She is the second doctor in the last five years to have won. The 2015 Rose of Tralee Elysha Brennan was a medical student when she won and recently qualified as a doctor.

Ms Flanagan spent a month volunteering in rural Ghana at the Methodist Faith Healing Hospital, an experience she found to be inspiring.

“They have done with so little compared to what we have here. It really stayed with me afterwards.”

Daithi Ó Sé dons some kinky boots. Photograph: Domnick Walsh
Daithi Ó Sé dons some kinky boots. Photograph: Domnick Walsh

The Clare Rose Victoria O’Connell said she had spoken to US president Donald Trump about the Rose of Tralee when he visited Trump International Golf Links in May. “He was intrigued about the Rose of Tralee and asked a lot of questions about it”.

In a year dominated by novelty party pieces, Ohio Rose Danielle Goebel demonstrated another one by opening a bottle of wine by putting it into a boot and banging it against a table.

Donegal Rose Chloe Kennedy, who was one of the earliest favourites, spoke of recovering from cancer.

The 2018 Rose of Tralee Kirsten Mate Maher robustly defended the festival following an attack by Newstalk presenter Susan Keogh on Monday’s Lunchtime programme.

She began with a direct riposte to Rose of Tralee host Dáithí Ó Sé who suggested the festival empowered women.

Rose of Tralee host Dáithí Ó Sé (centre) presenting this year’s annual outing. Photograph: Rose of Tralee/Twitter
Rose of Tralee host Dáithí Ó Sé (centre) presenting this year’s annual outing. Photograph: Rose of Tralee/Twitter

Ms Keogh said she had “never heard such bulls**t” and that the idea it empowered women was a “complete oversell”.

She asked: “Where is the body diversity. Will you see any fat roses?”.

She also questioned on the programme on Monday where were the Roses from the Travelling community, the homeless and from direct provision. “It does not represent modern Ireland, “ she said.

She also asked why the women who do not have degrees are not represented in the live final.

Ms Maher (22), defending the festival on Tuesday in Tralee responded: “I don’t have a degree, I haven’t set foot in college yet”.

The Waterford Rose is from a diverse family background. Her father is a former Zambian army officer; her mother is from Waterford.

“She (Ms Keogh) is attention-seeking ... I think it is really nasty and her views are wrong,” she said.

Outgoing Rose of Tralee Kirsten Mate Maher defended the festival on Tuesday. File photograph: Domnick Walsh
Outgoing Rose of Tralee Kirsten Mate Maher defended the festival on Tuesday. File photograph: Domnick Walsh

“There are girls of all shapes and sizes if you watched it. There are families from all over the world. You have different backgrounds so obviously she didn’t turn on her television. If you didn’t laugh, you’d cry.”