Limerick's Sinead Flanagan, right, next to two Roses with Limerick connections, Galway Rose Orla McDaid, and Melbourne Rose Jordan Balfry and the Abu Dhabi, San Francisco, Antrim and Longford Roses
Limerick Rose, Sinéad Flanagan embarked on the journey of a lifetime this week, as the contestants kicked off in Kildare a tour that will finish up in the Kingdom and the iconic pageant.
Sinéad and the 31 other Roses commenced their tour on the plains of horse country this Monday and the 27-year-old junior doctor, who grew up in Mungret and lives in Adare, said she is “honoured and delighted to represent the Treaty County”.
Speaking about her decision to enter this year’s competition, she said: “I suppose it’s something I always thought about, as many young Irish girls do.
“Myself and my mum would be very big fans, we’d get the RTÉ Guide out and be marking them all and looking at all the dresses,” she laughed.
Until the big show, the young women are on the road with Cork next up before hitting Kerry this Thursday.
“It’s exceeded my expectations, it's been fantastic, lovely places and lovely people,” said Sinéad, “the girls are lovely, it’s been great.
“Once we get to Tralee it’ll get even better, it’s beyond our wildest dreams.”
Sinéad also added that having a few fellow Roses with Limerick connections has made the experience even better.
“I have plenty of Limerick company!” she laughed.
Sinéad studied physiotherapy in University of Limerick, before completing a medical degree in University College Cork last year.
She also volunteered in Ghana in 2017, at The Methodist Faith Healing Hospital in Akaase, which she describes as “an incredible experience”, with hopes to return to voluntary work soon.
The Limerick Rose - who is also an avid Limerick hurling fan, despite her father’s Roscommon roots and passion for football which she also shares - is rated a 16/1 chance by the bookies.
Sinéad says keeping fit is a “priority” for her, and regularly attends pilates or spinning classes.
The young doctor has also been bitten by the travel bug, fitting in trips during college breaks, and hopes to visit South America soon.
The Rose of Tralee International Festival’s 60th Year celebrations will commence this Friday, August 23 until Tuesday August 27, when the 2019 Rose of Tralee will be crowned in the Festival Dome live on RTÉ One.
The Limerick Leader would like to wish Sinéad the very best of luck in this year’s festival.