Limerick Rose Marie Hennessy, centre, with escorts and Rose candidates at Bunratty Castle Hotel
THE OUTGOING Limerick Rose Marie Hennessy has said that it will be a “bittersweet” moment handing over the sash at the annual selection this Saturday.
After two weeks of preparations and a busy tour of the city and county, at least 14 local ladies will take to the stage to prove they have what it takes to represent Limerick at this year’s Rose of Tralee.
Ms Hennessy, from Carrigkerry, who is an Irish teacher at Desmond College in Newcastle West, said ahead of the event at Bunratty Castle Hotel: “Whichever girl gets the sash has no idea what kind of year she is in for. It goes on past Tralee, and I think a lot of people forget that there is so much more to it than just that week.
“The friendships that I have made is one thing that stands out from last year, and the group of girls I was with last year were brilliant, and we have been in contact all the time. They would always send a supportive message, and it is lovely to have that in a group of people you have literally met for three weeks.”
Some of the highlights of the year, she said, included attending the opening of the Frankfurt Christmas markets, experiencing Belarus with Chernobyl’s Adi Roche, followed by attending the St Patrick’s Day festival in New York.
“Even thinking back on the selection night last year. I wouldn’t have thought in a million years that the experience would have been this incredible.”
Limerick Rose Centre co-ordinator, Conor Walsh said there was great excitement ahead of the event, which - as of Wednesday - is still accepting applications for escorts and Roses.
“Some people tend to have the opinion that the Rose of Tralee is a very old-fashioned event, but the women who come forward are representing the modern Irish woman. You get everyone; we have a circus performer, we have plenty of students, nurses, we have a vet, and we have everyone from all walks of life, this year. You couldn’t meet a more diverse group,” he said this week.
The selection starts at 7pm, Saturday, April 15.