Many a tear must fall on Roses’ road to the Dome

Documentary as compelling as what followed on Rose of Tralee live show

Cork Rose Denise Collins creates a ball of fire at the Festival Dome in Tralee, Co Kerry. Photograph: Domnick Walsh/Eye Focus LTD

Cork Rose Denise Collins creates a ball of fire at the Festival Dome in Tralee, Co Kerry. Photograph: Domnick Walsh/Eye Focus LTD

 

There have been plenty of tears at the Rose of Tralee.

Tears of joy, tears of sorrow, tears of relief and tears of exhaustion – and that was just the documentary beforehand.

The festival has decided this year to let in the light a little with a behind-the-scenes documentary.

RTÉ One’s The Road to the Dome was broadcast immediately before the first night of the live show last night.

It was as compelling as what followed and a whole lot more surprising.

The Rose of Tralee calls itself apolitical to the point of being accused of being twee, but the questions the Roses were asked could hardly have been more topical: 1916 to 2016, the prospect of a united Ireland, Ireland’s response to the refugee crisis and the incendiary issue of abortion.

“We want to hear their views,” said former Rose of Tralee and now judge Clare Kambamettu.

Sleep

“You’ve been in Ireland nine days,” Dáithí Ó Sé said to the Melbourne Rose, “and I’ve had about three hours sleep”, she replied. The denoument of selection for the TV shows was clinical enough.

On Sunday morning each of the 65 contestants were presented with either a red or a white rose.

The white rose recipients were ushered into one room and the red roses into another.

White roses meant selection for the live final; red roses did not. It was quite clinical, but no method would have been any easier in selecting the final 32.

“You are not defined by this one moment in time. Your whole worth is not summed up in the outcome of this,” the 1999 Rose of Tralee, Geraldine O’Grady, told the unlucky ones. She is a judge in this year’s competition.

Experience

Rose Lorna Whyte

“I carried myself so well, but at the end of the day, I don’t think any experience in my life is going to compare to this,” she said.

The Boston and New England Rose, Grace Schiller, promised she would get up from this knockback as she did when she tripped while performing an Irish dance in the final.

Last night’s live final began with the New Orleans Rose Shannon Burke, who told host O Sé that she did not understand the word craic’s Irish meaning.

Roscommon Rose Aisling McNeill told the host that she baked a cake with the host’s head on it.