ROSE Dawn Ryan will be hoping to break Limerick’s unlucky streak in the Rose of Tralee festival this weekend as she takes to the stage in Portlaoise for the regional finals.
Host Dáithí Ó Sé will interview 60 Roses over three nights this weekend before two judging panels select 23 Roses to go forward to the festival in Tralee in August.
Dawn, 21, said “to be selected as the 2014 Limerick Rose was the most amazing and surreal experience of my life”.
Limerick hasn’t had a finalist in the Dome in Tralee for the past six years.
The Meelick girl, care worker with Enable Ireland in Mungret, was crowned ahead of 22 other hopefuls in the Castletroy Park Hotel in March.
She said at the time that she was “totally shocked” to win.
“I am just so honoured to be representing Limerick this year, especially the year that’s in it with Limerick being City of Culture. I’m really looking forward to Portlaoise and to be honest, anything after that will be a major bonus, and I just want to be the best ambassador I can possibly be for Limerick city and county for the next 12 months.”
Dawn’s dad Ray is from Meelick, and mum Trish is from Cratloe, and she said “with Thomond Park just three minutes away” - Limerick and rugby has always been in their blood.
She has strong ties to Young Munster, with her father playing for the club, as do her younger brothers - triplets Evan, Gavin and Darren - who are no strangers to sporting headlines and are delighted that their sister is now stepping into the limelight.
Limerick has won the crown twice - in 1984 and 1994 - with Dianne Hannagen and Muirne Hurley taking home the tiaras, and this year will mark the 20th anniversary of Limerick’s last win.
But the county hasn’t had a finalist in the Dome in Tralee for the past six years, so fingers will be crossed that this year’s Limerick Rose will be selected to make it through to the Dome in Tralee for the August festival.