It’s that time of year again and the annual Rose of Tralee festival is upon us. Now for those of you out there rolling your eyes to heaven right now, stop and open up to the concept that this is NOT just another beauty pagent and it is a very unique and special festival where extremely intelligent, competent and articulate young women get the opportunity to represent their county or city and be involved in something that is truely part of our heritage.
Like pretty much every girl in Ireland I have watched the Rose of Tralee religiously every year since I was a tiny tot (even if I didn’t always admit to it!) and have dreamt of being up there on stage some day with a beautiful gown on and with all my friends and family down in the audience proud as punch waving flags and banners in the air.
I never had the guts to enter myself, and never had any connection with the festival before till this year when I went to the Rose of Tralee Regional Finals in Portaloise back in June. I think Cork, Dublin and Karry Roses automatically get through and then the other irish counties (and a handful of international centers) battle it out at the Regional Final to whittle down the numbers before the main event in August.
Triona O’Connor is in college with my friend James, and when she got crowned as the Rose of Roscommon back in April, James insisted we go along to support her. So, off we hit for Portlaoise and met up with the other UCD Architecture Students in preparation for the big event. Triona has a pretty unique talent, so to show our support we ditched the traditional banner-making and opted for the ‘human-rubix-cube look’ instead!
Naturally enough, we got more than a few weird looks walking through Portlaoise town that evening, and the old grannys sitting behind us at the event were none too pleased either. But Triona was glad of the support and even Ray D’arcy mentioned us from the stage! Triona did us all proud and solved the Rubix cube right there on stage next to D’arcy and with the music blasting and the spotlight on her, it was no easy task!
In the mass of poem recitals and singers, having a quirky talent payed off – and the Rose of Roscommon got through the Regionals and made it through to the Final of the Rose of Tralee!
She is taking to the stage of the Dome tonight and unfortunatly due to work commitments, I can’t don the box again and cheer for the most unusual Rose the festival is likely to see this year.
So tune in, take a gander and realise that the Rose of Tralee is not all about girly girls with buckets of fake tan, fake nails and hair pieces. Who knows, this might even spur me on to enter next year for the 50th anniversary. Now, what could my ‘talent’ be……….?!?!