IT will be 33 years in August 2012 since a Northern Ireland woman has brought home the Rose of Tralee crown and in the event’s 53 year history, never has a Rose representing Cavan, Donegal or Monaghan taken the title.
In 1979, Marita Marron became the third woman from Belfast to win the Rose of Tralee, following in the footsteps of Therese Gillespie and Veronica McCambridge in 1965 and 1973 respectively.
The reigning Rose of Tralee, Tara Talbot will meet Roses of the future all next week (Jan 30 to Feb 3) when she pays a visit to every county in Ulster as part of the search for the 2012 Rose of Tralee.
“It’s amazing how the smallest decisions sometimes lead us to the most extraordinary of places. My decision to enter the Queensland Rose back in March this year was one such small decision that I made in the hope that I would reconnect with the local Irish community, and perhaps make a friend or two along the way. The thought of winning the title of the International Rose of Tralee seemed almost mythical to me, so far very far removed from my own reality. Nine months later, I find myself carrying my tiara and sash in my handbag, as if it were my purse, or my phone, and I have to say that it is an absolute dream come true,” she said.
Tara’s trip to Northern Ireland will include school visits in Newry, Belfast, Derry, Cookstown, Lurgan and Fermanagh, along with engagements at hospital and with local dignitaries.
She will also have Afternoon Tea in Belfast with the First Minister, Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness.
During her tour of Ulster, Tara will underline the important role the Rose of Tralee plays in connecting the global Irish community and the positive life-changing experience that is on offer to so many young women who are encouraged to take part.
The journey to find the next Rose of Tralee is well underway in towns and villages all over Ireland! Selection events will be held in every county from March until June with the Regional Finals of the Rose of Tralee taking place in Portlaoise from June 1st to 3rd and the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee from August 17th to 21st.
Each county has a different selection date and application deadline, so the best thing to do, is log on to www.roseoftralee.ie now to download an application form.
Any Rose of Tralee, from Alice O’Sullivan in 1959 to Tara Talbot in 2011, will say that the experience is the ultimate reward for anyone who enters the Rose of Tralee, however there are some great prizes on offer as well including – a World Travel Fund of €25,000 from the Pilot Training College, a treasure trove of Jewellery & Homeware from lead-sponsors Newbridge Silverware, the use of a car for the year, free accommodation at any Carlton Hotel in Ireland and much more.
Each lady who is chosen to become her county’s Rose will win a wonderful selection of prizes from Newbridge Silverware, Carlton Hotel Group and local event sponsors.