TWENTY three year old speech therapist Chloe Heslin will represent Limerick at this year’s Rose of Tralee.
Ms Heslin, currently working as a research assistant in the area of Motor Neurone Disease, was selected as Limerick’s Rose at a packed event in the Castletroy Park Hotel on Saturday night.
A three person judging panel consisting of 1994 Limerick Rose and Rose of Tralee Muirne Hurley-Goode, Melanie Carroll - the last Limerick Rose to make it through the regional finals in 2007 to Tralee - and Grant Hourigan, part of the escort liaison team for the festival, selected Ms Heslin from the 21 Roses who put their names forward for the competition.
At just past midnight and in front of a capacity crowd that included Mayor of Limerick Cllr Gerry McLoughlin, 1969 Limerick Rose Mary Whelan, 1986 Rose Elaine Mulcahy, and every Limerick Rose since 2005, Chloe was announced as the new Limerick Rose for 2013.
Chloe, a keen musician who started playing the oboe and recorder at a young age, said it was an “absolute honour”.
“I’m so delighted and thrilled and so excited about the year to come and I am very pleased to have this opportunity to represent Limerick for the next year, I am really, really pleased about that,” she said just after being unveiled.
“I have said it from the start, any one of the girls could have represented Limerick so well and I am so thrilled and honoured to be the person to represent for the year. It is an absolute honour,” added Ms Heslin, who was representing sponsor the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association at the event.
Outgoing Limerick Rose Suzanne O’Brien handed over her sash to Ms Heslin on the night, who will now attempt to be the first Limerick Rose since 2007 to qualify for Tralee at the regional finals on the June Bank Holiday weekend.
She will face a battle for one of seven spots open to 29 counties.