A BUSKER played The Rose of Tralee as 21 young ladies hoping to be the next Limerick Rose moved through the Milk Market on Saturday.
Limerick’s Rose will be crowned this Saturday night in the Castletroy Park hotel - the first rose to be named in the country, spurring hopes that Limerick’s unlucky streak in the festival could end this year. For five years in a row the county has missing out on having a representative in the Dome in Tralee.
But the young women vying for the sash said they felt like “winners” already, after a tour of Limerick city and county at the weekend.
The rose theme continued throughout the day, with rose cupcakes served to them in the George Boutique hotel.
“They are an amazing bunch of girls, and they have all bonded so well together,” said Denis Griffin, of the Limerick Rose Centre.
Chloe Brennan, 23, from Monaleen, a primary teacher in Ballysheedy Roxboro national school, said: “It has been amazing - more than I expected it to be. We’re being treated like royalty. This is really something you’re going to remember for the rest of your life. It’s highlighting everything that’s wonderful about Limerick. It’s a pity everybody can’t get to experience Limerick like this.”
She said to get to the Rose of Tralee “would be a dream, but this has been an experience in itself. We’re all winners already”.
Niamh Phelan, 25, from Cratloe, said “it feels like we’re doing the Rose of Tralee already”. “I did this to meet people, and I want to represent Limerick. Some many people here are like-minded,” said the secondary school teacher in the Salesians.
“To me, when I was younger, it was unattainable, it was on TV, and that I have the sash on, it’s unbelievable.”
Kelly O’Brien, 24, a Masters student in journalism at the University of Limerick, said: “It would be a great honour to be selected and represent Limerick. I just did this to meet new people and have a bit of fun. It’s definitely worth it. All of the girls would be great at representing Limerick.”
Niamh Carey, 25, a nutritionist from Mungret, was also blown away the reception they received in the city, with heads turning at each stop along the tour. Lisa Falvey, a teacher in John the Baptist school in Hospital, said “it’s every girl’s dream to make it to Tralee.”
Regardless of who is selected this Saturday, they have all vowed to be in Tralee supporting the county’s representative. The Limerick Rose will then go on to the regional finals in Portlaoise.