Limerick Rose Kayleigh Maher with host Dáithí Ó Sé. Picture: Domnick Walsh
The Kilcornan 24-year-old was the first Limerick Rose in 10 years to be selected to appear on the RTE One broadcast of the Rose of Tralee competition.
Over 1.7 million viewers are expected to tune in to RTE One over the next two nights to watch the competition. Tonight’s show kicks off at 8pm.
“I’m actually really looking forward to it, I’m really excited. I’m sure maybe just before I go on, or maybe an hour before, I’ll probably be really nervous, but for now, I can’t wait to get up there,” said Kayleigh.
The 2017 Rose Escort of the Year, as voted by the Roses and his fellow Rose Escorts, will be announced during the programme.
The 32 Roses - 18 tonight and 14 tomorrow night - will be put through their paces by host Dáithí Ó Sé before a winner is chosen.
“I’ve met Daithi a couple of times, he’s so nice and he makes all of us feel at ease,” said Kayleigh.
“We were up there (on stage) last Thursday as well when we spoke with Marty (Morrissey), that helps as well because you’re actually up there on stage looking down at people. But I am really looking forward to it, I can’t wait to get up there now,” she said.
The winner will receive a host of prizes, not least the coveted tiara.
As the lead sponsor of the Rose of Tralee International Festival, Tipperary Crystal will present the 2017 Rose of Tralee with a complete collection of Tipperary Crystal Fine Jewellery, and a range of high quality products from their Giftware and Homeware Collections.
The winning Rose will wear a “splendid” new tiara featuring the Rose motif as the central framework, adorned in glistening crystals - as well as the exquisitely crafted crystal perpetual trophy.
The next Rose of Tralee will drive away from The Kingdom in a brand new KIA Pro Ceed from McElligotts Tralee, a World Travel Prize valued at €25,000, a week-long holiday in Kerry from Kerry County Council, and a tablet complete with a year’s subscription to Independent.ie.