LIMERICK won’t entirely be without a Rose in the Dome in Tralee, as the Queensland Rose is from the city.
Sorcha Holmes, who attended the Salesian secondary school in the city, moved to Brisbane two years ago, and was selected as the Queensland Rose a fortnight ago. Sorcha, who attended college in Tralee where she graduated with a degree in sport science and management, said she was “overwhelmed and honoured” to receive the crown in Queensland.
Meanwhile, those involved in the Limerick Rose Centre are urging people that they should not “feel hard done by” that the county will not have a Rose on stage in Tralee for the sixth year in a row.
Chloe Heslin, 23, from the South Circular Road, was hoping to break Limerick’s unlucky streak in the international pageant this August, but it was not to be in Portlaoise.
At the regional finals at the weekend, just 23 Roses were selected to go through to the Dome out of 61 Roses, drawn from all parts of the Ireland and the world.
In addition to Kerry, Dublin and Cork, which are afforded automatic entry to the festival, the Clare rose was selected this year, after having been absent from the stage in Tralee since 2006, pointed out Denis Griffin, of the Limerick Rose Centre.
Furthermore, he said Galway hasn’t had a Rose in the competition since 2004, making it a decade before they have a chance to enter again. “There is this perception out there that Limerick is hard done by, but we are by no means the most suffering,” Mr Griffin told the Limerick Leader.
“It is the fairest system that can be developed,” he said, explaining that the Limerick Rose has a one in four chance of being selected, as each province has one representative.
“We had a brilliant weekend in Portlaoise. There was a great atmosphere up here all weekend. We would have loved for Chloe to go through, but she has had a marvellous experience already. She’s very upbeat, is delighted to have represented Limerick and is still the Limerick Rose for the year. As she said herself, she entered it knowing the process,” he said.
While Chloe said she is disappointed not to be going further in the competition, she said: “Tralee is never a given. I went to make friends and memories, and it has been a great experience.”
Melanie Carroll was the last Limerick Rose to make it to Tralee in 2007, while the Rose of Tralee has been won twice by Limerick women.
Other Irish counties represented this year will be Leitrim, Longford, Donegal, Wicklow and Monaghan for the very first time in the 54 year history of the pageant. Addressing an audience of 800 people in Portlaoise, the 2012 Rose of Tralee, Nicola McEvoy, said: “Everyone one of you should remember that you are a Rose for your region for the year and that is something that you should always cherish. It is a bonus to get to the International Festival in Tralee.”
Roses from Sydney, Perth, Darwin, South Australia, Queensland and New Zealand also automatically go through. The Denver, Luxembourg and Scotland Roses all had strong connections to Limerick, but none of these were selected in Portlaoise. There will be nine American Roses, three from Canada, three from the UK, with others from Melbourne, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.