The annual competition marks its 60th year, Dáithí Ó Sé is celebrating his tenth year as host... and, on a less happy note, it will be 20 years since Cork last had a winner!
Cork has six Roses taking part in this year’s contest, including Stephanie McCarthy, who is representing the Rebel County and hoping to follow in the footsteps of Geraldine O’Grady, who won the contest in 1999.
Stephanie, 27, is currently studying for a Masters in Pharmaceutical Technology.
She also juggles motherhood with part-time work as a fashion consultant with wedding dress boutique Cinderella’s Closet. One of three siblings, Stephanie has Kerry roots and a mother who hails from Dubai.
The other five Roses with Cork connections are:
Karen Cashman, representing Abu Dhabi, a 27-year-old graduate of Mary Immaculate College and a primary school teacher from East Cork.
Simone Hendrick Buchanan, representing South Australia, who was born in Cork city and raised in Dingle.
Laura Kennedy, the London Rose who is from Glenville in Co. Cork and graduated from UCC in Business Informations Systems. She works in a bank in London.
Sarah O’Shea, who is the Canada Rose. She grew up in Cork and moved to Alberta in 2015, where she is training to be a structural engineer.
Speech pathologist Rebecca Mazza, 24, who is the Sydney Rose, and who has plenty of Cork relatives.
All eyes will be on the Dome in the Kerry town when this year’s contestants are paraded in Rose Of Tralee 2019 on RTE1 on Monday and Tuesday at 8pm — with a break for the 9pm news on both nights.
Host Dáithí will interview the final 32 Roses live from the venue and will be his usual natural, witty and exuberant self as he ensures that the hopefuls put their best foot forward.
Then, on the Tuesday, garlands galore as this year’s winning Rose is announced.