AS households across Limerick city settle into their sofas to watch the second night of the Rose of Tralee contest, a special group of children will be doing so from their hospital beds.
And they will be more excited than most – the little ones had a visit from the 32 Roses on Friday last.
Children with Cystic Fibrosis at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick welcomed the ladies who were rounding off the final leg of their five day tour of Ireland before their television appearances this Monday night.
The Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland (CFAI) is one of the official charity partners to the Rose of Tralee International Festival for 2012.
“This visit to the hospital means a lot to the children as they can be in hospital for days, weeks and even months at a time. Special visitors are always remembered with affection,” said Philip Watt, CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland.
Cystic Fibrosis is a chronic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system of about 1200 children and adults in Ireland.
Motorists in the Raheen area on Friday morning had to do a double-take as the Roses – all dressed in purple attire - walked from the South Court Hotel to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital shaking buckets to collect funds for the association.
The ladies looked fresh and relaxed after a busy night on Thursday when they visited the Carlton Castletroy Park Hotel where they were introduced to their escorts for the first time.
Were they nervous?
“Not in the least,” said Limerick fashion queen, Celia Holman Lee, who organised a mini fashion show on the night.
Six of the Roses and six of the escorts took to the ramp to model designs from leading labels Ted Baker and Tommy Hilfiger supplied by Brown Thomas in Limerick.
“There was no nerves on the night whatsoever. These ladies are accomplished young women and very little phases them. We thought it would be a nice twist to have some of the models and the escorts take part in a fashion show. It was jam-packed and very, very enjoyable,” continued Celia.
Limerick will not be represented on stage in this year’s Rose of Tralee contest but all eyes will be on the New Orleans Rose, Lisa Brady, whose mother hails from Granagh in County Limerick where Lisa spent many holidays down through her 21 years.