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.
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.
Speaking tofollowing the event in Carrigaline, Cork Rose Jenny Byrne said she was delighted to be back on home turf ahead of the festival.
"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.
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.
The 61st Rose of Tralee competition will air on RTÉ on both Monday, August 22 and Tuesday, August 23.