Pictures: Roses hit Cork on final stop of nationwide tour ahead of main event

The Roses enjoyed a warm welcome from the community as they arrived in Carrigaline
Pictures: Roses hit Cork on final stop of nationwide tour ahead of main event

Minister Simon Coveney TD with the Waterford, Philadelphia and Arizona Roses, Helen Geary, Tara Ryan and Sophie Owen. Picture: Brian Lougheed

ROSE of Tralee contestants made their final stop on their nationwide tour of Ireland in Carrigaline this week ahead of their journey to Kerry for the commencement of the renowned festival.

The Roses enjoyed a warm welcome from the community as they arrived in the town on Thursday ahead of an evening of fine dining and mingling alongside local dignitaries and public representatives at an exclusive event hosted by the Carrigaline Court Hotel.

The event marked the second time the Leeside hotel has hosted the Roses prior to the main event and was also the first time the contestants got a glimpse of the Rose escorts who they will be partnered with for the festival.

"We are thrilled to host the Roses, the escorts, and the wider team here at the Carrigaline Court Hotel," general manager at the hotel, Jerry Healy, said in his speech. 

"The Rose of Tralee is a historic event in Irish culture, and this year feels even more special after the two-year break."

On the final leg of the Rose of Tralee Tour, the Roses stopped at the Carrigaline Court Hotel, where they spent the evening mingling with well-wishers from the local community. The Roses were treated to a drinks reception, followed by a gala dinner where they met with politicians and members of the business community. From left: Jerry Healy, general manager at the Carrigaline Court Hotel; Sydney Rose, Maud Brennan from near Mallow; Cork Rose Jenny Byrne from Douglas and Minister Simon Coveney TD. Picture: Brian Lougheed
On the final leg of the Rose of Tralee Tour, the Roses stopped at the Carrigaline Court Hotel, where they spent the evening mingling with well-wishers from the local community. The Roses were treated to a drinks reception, followed by a gala dinner where they met with politicians and members of the business community. From left: Jerry Healy, general manager at the Carrigaline Court Hotel; Sydney Rose, Maud Brennan from near Mallow; Cork Rose Jenny Byrne from Douglas and Minister Simon Coveney TD. Picture: Brian Lougheed

Director of operations of the Rose of Tralee International Festival, Steve Cronly, thanked the hotel for the warm reception. 

"This is the last stop on our 2022 Rose tour before we head to the festival in Tralee, and we are delighted to spend it in Cork in the Carrigaline Court Hotel where the hospitality is second to none. 

"We were last here in 2019 and once again, the welcome we received has been brilliant. 

The Roses at the Carrigaline Court Hotel. Also pictured are Jerry Healy, general manager at the Carrigaline Court Hotel; Barry O'Flynn, deputy general manager and on the right, Dafydd Lewis, head of marketing at the Carrigaline Court Hotel. Picture: Brian Lougheed
The Roses at the Carrigaline Court Hotel. Also pictured are Jerry Healy, general manager at the Carrigaline Court Hotel; Barry O'Flynn, deputy general manager and on the right, Dafydd Lewis, head of marketing at the Carrigaline Court Hotel. Picture: Brian Lougheed

"The excitement for the 2022 festival is incredible and we look forward to welcoming all to Tralee, as we celebrate our Irish Diaspora worldwide," he said. 

Speaking to The Echo following the event in Carrigaline, Cork Rose Jenny Byrne said she was delighted to be back on home turf ahead of the festival. 

Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Damien Boylan and his wife Breda (on right) with Sydney Rose, Maud Brennan from near Mallow and Cork Rose, Jenny Byrne from Douglas. Picture: Brian Lougheed
Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Damien Boylan and his wife Breda (on right) with Sydney Rose, Maud Brennan from near Mallow and Cork Rose, Jenny Byrne from Douglas. Picture: Brian Lougheed

"We pulled into the Carrigaline Court Hotel and there were so many people there. It was amazing to see the incredible turnout and support we got. 

"My family and my parents came down waving a huge Cork flag as we came in," the Douglas resident said. 

The 25-year-old PhD researcher at NUI Galway said there has been great camaraderie among the Roses on the tour. 

"We’re all getting on really well and we’ve seen amazing parts of Ireland that I had never been to before."

This year's Sydney Rose, Maud Brennan, also hails from Cork. 

The 27-year-old has lived in Sydney since January 2021 but is originally from just outside Mallow. 

Minister Michael McGrath and his wife Sarah with New York and Florida Roses Catherine Collins and Jennifer Waldeck. Picture: Brian Lougheed
Minister Michael McGrath and his wife Sarah with New York and Florida Roses Catherine Collins and Jennifer Waldeck. Picture: Brian Lougheed

Maud, who works as a palliative care nurse Down Under, fondly described the experience of being a Rose as "like a whirlwind". 

"The reception we’ve gotten in every county has just been phenomenal. I felt like I was in a film or something," she laughed. 

"It was so nice getting into Cork yesterday. When we pulled in, my mam and my family were all waving posters. It was so nice to see them."

The 61st Rose of Tralee competition will air on RTÉ on both Monday, August 22 and Tuesday, August 23.

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