THERE was a proposal, an outbreak of the latest dance craze, the Harlem Shake, tears in memory of parents who have passed away, and laments to emigration.
After two nights, 32 Roses, and 54 years of singing about ‘the pale moon rising’ in the Dome, the 2013 Rose of Tralee crown went to 25-year old Texas Rose Haley O’Sullivan.
A marketing co-ordinator for an industrial chemical company, she met her Monaghan boyfriend through Dallas GAA Club, and has roots in Bere Island, off the coast of County Cork, and in Longford. There were jubilant scenes in the crowd - with her father jumping up and punching the air - as she was announced the winner.
Flying the flag for Limerick (as well as Galway, the UK, and Queensland), was Sorcha Holmes from Lansdowne Park, off the Ennis Road in the city.
Born in Galway, she was brought up in the UK for 12 years, and spent 13 years in Limerick. Speaking to host Daithi O Se, a graduate of Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, she praised the ongoing redevelopment of the city, and was joined by Daithi in saying the “bad name is all gone”.
After joking about her fascination with teeth, and not having any sense of smell, she sang Amy Winehouse’s Valerie on stage to great applause. Her brother Barry Holmes, the former Mr Ireland, who won Mr Europe in 2011, was also in the audience to cheer his sister on.
The 26 year-old, who is first ever non Australian-born lady to claim the title, said it was “an absolutely amazing week”, which “surpasses every aspiration you have about it.”
“The camaraderie with the girls is incredible. You’re together 24/7, and become so close, so fast. They’re all amazing ambassadors for their centres.”
Sorcha said Hazel was “a deserving winner and then some..a truly natural person, beautiful inside and out”.
After the emotional rollercoaster of the festival, she expects some tears when she leaves Limerick for Queensland on Sunday, “but I’ll take the memories back with me” and hopes to recruit the next Rose for 2014.