Festival Countdown: Alice Pops In To Wish Festival Staff Well

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The first Rose of Tralee, Alice O’Sullivan, popped into the Festival office this week.

FESTIVAL staff had a surprise visitor on Tuesday when the first ever Rose of Tralee popped into HQ.

Wicklow resident, Alice O’Sullivan, who won the inaugural contest in 1959, visited staff at the Ashe Memorial Hall to wish them all the best for the week.

“I was on my way to Dingle so I just popped in to say hello and wish them well. It’s such a terrific festival and I’m delighted to see it going so well. They’re all set for another great one by the looks of things,” she said.

Alice won the contest as the Dublin Rose 55 years ago.

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“I’m from Booterstown originally and at the time there was just five contestants, all of whom had a connection to Tralee through their parents. In my case it was through my father Tom,” she said.

Alice hasn’t been back to the Festival very often since but made it back for the 50th anniversary – when she was a judge – and last year for The Gathering.

“I met the current Rose of Tralee, Haley O’Sullivan’s father at the Rose Ball last year and told him she was in with a good chance because there have been six O’Sullivans who have won the title,” said Alice.

Even though she was invited to the Ball this year, Alice said she had to decline.

“It takes about six months of getting psyched up to be a Rose again,” she joked.

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