Meet The 2022 Rose Of Tralee Contestants (Part 1)

Posted by’s coverage of the Rose Of Tralee International Festival is brought to you by AIB Tralee


There’s less than a week to go until the Rose of Tralee International Festival take place. Time for the Rose contestants to introduce themselves…

Arizona Rose, Sophie Owen.

Sophie Owen is my name, and I am 23 years old. I am from Taylor, Arizona, and this is my first trip to Ireland as well as my first trip to Europe! I was home-schooled as a child and spent many years raising chickens, goats, and pigs with my family.

I then left my small town for the big city, graduating from Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor Degree in Communications and minors in Theatre and Social Work.

In the future, I hope to pursue a Graduate Degree in English and work as an English professor at a university. During my college years, I received university scholarships for both theatre, speech and debating.

I enjoy ballroom dancing and always listen to classical jazz as background music. In addition, I spend as much time as I can outside and am an avid camper. I consider myself a bibliophile and can almost always be found with a book in hand!

I’m looking forward to my first trip to Ireland and Tralee, as well as the opportunity to represent the Irish community from sunny Arizona!

Cavan Rose, Tara Rogers

My name is Tara Rogers, and I am 22 years old, from Knockbride, a small rural area outside Bailieborough. I finished my three-year Music and Geography Degree at DCU, and I’m hoping to start a Masters Degree in Primary Education in September after sitting my Irish leaving certificate.

After finishing my degree, I took a year off to study Irish and was fortunate to be hired as a substitute teacher at Drumbarragh National School for the year. Sport has always been a big part of my life for anyone who knows me.

I’ve been a member of my local ladies’ team since I was five years old and have always enjoyed playing and watching games.

Coming from a large family and a small town, being the Cavan Rose means a lot to me because I am making them all proud, and it is an honour to get this far. I am very excited to bring my family and friends to Tralee, as well as the experiences that await us.

Continued below…


Cork Rose Jenny Byrne

Hello, my name is Jenny Byrne and I live in Douglas, Cork, Ireland. It is an honour for me to represent the Rebel County at this year’s Rose of Tralee Festival!

I am a third-year PhD researcher at NUI Galway, researching employment opportunities for disabled women in Cambodia and Rwanda.

During my undergraduate studies at UCC, I discovered my passion for women’s empowerment and disability inclusion, and my future goal is to use my PhD research to advise NGOs on new ways to include women with disabilities in their programmes.

I’ve been a Trócaire volunteer since 2016, and I’m excited to be able to get involved in more initiatives in my community during my Rose journey.

One of my many passions is travel, and I love exploring lesser-known destinations and learning new languages. In my free time I also enjoy hiking and sewing – both to varying degrees of success!

Derry Rose Aine Morrison.

Hiya! I’m Áine Morrison, I’m 25 years old, and I’m thrilled to be representing Derry as the Derry Rose this year.

I was born and raised in Derry City, and I am a true Derry Girl at heart. I recently received a Postgraduate Diploma in Physician Associate Studies and a Bachelors degree in Biomedical Science.

In addition to Science, I have a strong interest in music and play the piano and flute. I love volunteering and have volunteered as a Team Leader in Children’s Summer schemes throughout my teenage years.

My family are a huge inspiration to me and together we have participated in many charity events such as the LegenDerry Relay for Life in June. I also love travelling and experiencing new places and cultures, in Summer 2018 I worked as a Science Specialist Counsellor at a special needs camp in America.

I am so excited for the adventures I will have as the Derry Rose, and I am looking forward to bringing a little bit of Derry to every place I visit.

Donegal Rose, Katie McAteer.

My name is Katie McAteer, I’m 24 and I am delighted to be representing my county as the 2022 Donegal Rose. I grew up in a village called Rathmullan.

I studied Journalism and New Media in UL, which allowed me to live in Barcelona and Glasgow. I work in Public Relations and Social Media.

I love what I do as it involves doing something different every day. I am also involved with Rathmullan Film Fest, a community-led festival that encourages people young and old to be creative.

I hope to continue working in the media industry as it doesn’t confine you to one specific area or job. I hope to travel more, write more and experience as much of the world as possible.

Staying mindful and keeping fit are important to me. I play football for Milford GAA and enjoy walking the beach – it’s my favourite place in the world.

I was raised by and am surrounded by strong women, and it is an honour to be surrounded by so many independent, strong, motivated women on this Rose of Tralee journey.

Dubai Rose, Aileen McAlister.

My name is Aileen McAlister, and I am 28 years old. I come from Ballymoney, Co. Antrim which is a small town inland from the North Coast of Ireland.

My mum is from Glencolumbcille Gaeltacht Co. Donegal, and I fondly spend the holidays visiting my grandparents and relations there.

I am so pleased and privileged to represent Dubai, UAE in the Rose of Tralee Festival 2022. I moved to Dubai in August 2019, as a primary teacher happily embracing every opportunity that comes my way.

I have a passion for connecting others through my love of Irish dancing, music and exercise. I bring a taste of home to Dubai and have grown a community by introducing an Irish Dance fitness class called ‘ReelRobics’ to the UAE.

I love helping others and was fortunate to lead Living Youth Teams on humanitarian trips to Ethiopia and Romania on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, both unique yet unforgettable experiences. I hope to revisit these projects again one day.

I have lots of interests such as netball, boxing, Gaelic football, travelling, singing and playing music.

Continued below…


Dublin Rose, Claire Connolly.

My name is Claire Connolly, and I am 25 years old. I live in the seaside village of Dalkey, and I am both honoured and delighted to represent the Nation’s Capital.

After qualifying as a Nutritionist in 2019, I began a PhD with the UCD Nutrition, Biomarkers and Health research group and Food for Health Ireland.

I thoroughly enjoyed my Undergraduate Degree and got to spend a year working with the US Department of Agriculture in University California Davis. I enjoy cooking and am very passionate about Irish produce.

I have worked with Irish Chef Neven Maguire in his restaurant in Blacklion, County Cavan. My friends and I started our porridge Instagram page “pimpmy porridge” in senior year to inspire the nation to dress up their morning bowl of oats!

My mother is from County Laois and my father is from County Louth, so I spent many of my childhood vacations at my grandparents’ farm.

Last year, I began golfing at the Heath Golf Club Laois, enlisting my father as a caddy. I go for runs and attend F45 in Blackrock as part of my routine to stay fit and healthy.

Florida Rose, Jennifer Rose Waldeck.

Hello from the sunshine state! My name is Jennifer Rose Waldeck, and I am from Orlando, FL. I pursued my lifelong creative passion and graduated with my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from Parsons in New York City and am currently pursuing my Masters in Arts.

Always ambitious, I am working my dream job as a product designer for The Walt Disney Company. I design accessories that help bring magic to our guests, including everything from jewellery to ears.

Outside of work I enjoy furthering my knowledge of art history, travelling to new places, spending time with my puppy, and designing my own clothing, especially to wear to the Disney parks with friends.

My passion for helping others always keeps me active with a variety of organisations, including those focused on empowering women. Having been involved with the Rose since 2014 as a Junior Rose, I’m honoured to be representing the Florida Centre.

Continued below…


Galway Rose, Clare Ann Irwin.

Dia dhaoibh, Clare Ann Irwin is ainm dom! I am humbled and privileged to be representing the Tribesmen as this year’s Galway Rose.

Although I originally studied Primary School teaching and Psychology in the wonderful Mary Immaculate College and taught for three years, two years ago I decided to follow my heart and join my family’s funeral business in Galway City.

Since then, I have completed an embalming course and I now spend my time working with my parents, learning the ropes of this incredible profession.

The last few years have taught me a lot, but I can truly say I feel honoured to be able to serve the people of Galway in their time of need, as my family have done since 1834.

I am very passionate about women working in industries which are stereotypically seen as predominantly for men.

Sport has always been a massive part of my life, having represented Connacht in hockey for many years as well as playing and coaching with my local GAA club St. Michael’s. Above all, I am a proud Galway Girl.

Kerry Rose, Édaein O’Connell.

Hi there! My name is Édaein O’Connell, I am 27 years old and hail from Glenderry, a small townland situated just 10 minutes outside lovely Listowel in North Kerry.

After many wonderful years in Galway, I graduated from NUIG with a Bachelors degree in Civil Law and a Higher Diploma in Business Studies.

Finally, I completed an MSc in Digital Marketing from TU Dublin in 2018. I had planned on a career in social media management, but when McDonald’s cruelly struck caramel sundaes from its menu, I happened upon a career in freelance journalism.

Since that fateful event, I have written for the Irish Independent, Metro UK, The Sunday Times Style, IMAGE, and more.

I write about everything from pop culture to travel to societal issues and I am also a regular contributor to the Jennifer Zamparelli Show on RTÉ 2FM where I seek out the best stories from Munster and place them on a national stage.

I’m also an avid reader and singer, having won two All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil titles. I love nothing more than getting on a plane, socialising with friends, and spending a week in the glory that is the Listowel Races.

Continued below…


Kildare Rose Ashleigh Byrne.

My name is Ashleigh Byrne. I’m a 26-year-old artist who was born and bred in the bog lands of Kildare, on a beautiful rural road just outside of Newbridge.

At times I venture out to the heather and gorse to work on film sets or teach art classes. You may also find me making the odd cup of coffee.

I studied Sculpture and Combined Media in LSAD and my goals as a graduate are to gather as much experience and knowledge in the creative workforce as possible.

I am a big believer in the art of storytelling and One day I wish to harness my skills to tell the stories that our little island has to offer.

In Kildare, our land is full of rich history and our spirit bright. It is a deep honour to be chosen to represent County Kildare, and I thoroughly look forward to bringing Kildare’s Spirit to Tralee.

Kilkenny Rose, Molly Coogan.

My name is Molly Coogan, I am 20 years old and I’m from Firoda just outside Castlecomer. I’m a student going into my third year of Business and Law in UCD. My mam is a proud Mayo woman from Derryharriff, Castlebar and my dad is from Castlecomer.

I’m currently working as an Activity Instructor in Castlecomer Discover Park, guiding customers on kayaking, archery, high ropes courses and Ireland’s longest zipline.

I am a huge musical theatre fan, so I joined UCD Musical Society last September and have loved the experience of working both on and off stage, as well as meeting such lovely people. I enjoy singing and playing the piano and I take part in the Deenside Players’ Pantomime in Castlecomer every year.

I also play Gaelic Football with our local club Erin’s Own, and basketball with Castlecomer Basketball Club. I’ve been a fan of the Rose of Tralee from a very young age and feel so privileged and grateful to have the opportunity to represent Kilkenny in this year’s festival. Up the Cats!


Leitrim Rose, Saoirse Gibbons.

I’m Saoirse Gibbons, I am 25 years old and this year’s Leitrim Rose. I live in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim. I am a very proud Leitrim woman and as a result, I am and delighted to have been selected to represent the people of Leitrim and everything our beautiful county has to offer.

I love to explore the scenic parts of our country, through adventuring and hiking to hidden gems in the region.

I am attending the University of Ireland Galway where I am studying Drama, Theatre and Performance with Gaeilge. Tá grá agam don ár dteanga dúchais agus thaitin an deis agam chun é a chur chun cinn.

I would love to help promote and encourage love of the language in my future career. I volunteer with the Galway University Musical Society, previously a first-year mentor and I am part of the youth advisory panel (YAP) for JIGSAW.

Improving mental health amongst young people is very important to me and I believe we can make a real difference to young people’s mental health. I hope to keep working with and volunteering with various organisations in the future.

London Rose, Hayley Reynolds.

My name is Hayley Reynolds and I’m 29-years-old from St Albans, Hertfordshire. I was born in Cricklewood, London but moved just outside of the capital to St Albans when I was small.

My dad is from Strokestown, Roscommon and my mum was born in Cricklewood to Irish parents from Kilkenny and Leitrim. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography.

Having obtained my Degree in 2016, I then travelled Asia and lived in Australia for a year before coming back and taking up a career in Marketing. Since COVID, I’ve decided that fitness is my passion and have made the career change.

I’m now a personal trainer at a nearby gym, with the ultimate goal of opening my own studio. I’m a big sports fan, and I watch everything from the GAA to Formula One and tennis.

Hurling has always been a big watch for my grandfather, who is from Kilkenny. I’ve always enjoyed sports and was a member of the netball, tennis, and athletics teams in school.

I’m now a member of St Colmcille’s GAA and enjoy playing with the ladies. I’m hoping to get back into travelling now that the restrictions have been lifted; I’d like to visit Machu Pichu.

Continued below…


Louth Rose, Emma Barry.

My name is Emma Barry and I’m a 27 year old Drogheda woman. It’s a privilege to represent the Wee County at this year’s Festival!

I’ve just completed my post-primary Professional Master of Education degree in Trinity College Dublin. I’m excited to enter the workforce in September following 8 years in college, having completed BA and MPhil degrees before my PME!

I consider myself a lifelong learner and am grateful for those opportunities! Football, especially at the club level, is an important part of my family’s life.

We have a special relationship with Stabannon Parnells GFC because of my late sister, Nicola, and her legendary performances with the club. I’m an avid baker who taught myself how to decorate intricate cakes while on lockdown.

I’m a regular volunteer, especially for cancer charities, and I’m honoured to be an ambassador for Brain Tumour Ireland during my time as Louth Rose.

Monaghan Rose, Rachel Woods.

My name is Rachel Woods, and I am 20 years old. I am honoured to represent Monaghan in the Rose of Tralee 2022.

I recently finished my level 6 Health and Social Care course and plan to start Occupational Therapy at Ulster University in September.

I work part-time as a retail assistant in Dunnes Stores in Monaghan and as a SNA for children with special needs in St. Tiarnach’s P.S. Clones, Co. Monaghan.

I thoroughly enjoy volunteering with Special Olympics events, Arch Club, and Faith and Light activities where I have developed strong interpersonal skills and have adored working with a diverse range of people.

I have a great love for farming, motorsport, playing music, jiving, and spending quality time with my family and friends. I am a country girl at heart and feel most at home in my wellies, on my family farm where we all work together as a team.

I am very proud to originate from a close-knit rural area such as Tydavnet, where I was awarded the great honour of being chosen as Tydavnet Show Queen in 2019, a role as ambassador for my local area.

I eagerly await this once in a lifetime opportunity to represent Monaghan, my friends and family alongside all the beautiful rose sisters who I cannot wait to share every moment with.


Newfoundland and Labrador Rose, Jennifer Mackey.

Hello, my name is Jennifer Mackey. I am 28 years old and very excited to be representing Newfoundland and Labrador at this year’s Festival.

I work as a Registered Nurse, both in the surgical and forensic fields, and recently completed my Masters Degree in Health Ethics from Memorial University.

When not working, I love performing. I have been a part of the Newfoundland musical arts scene since a young age, but my favourite memory has to be performing at the Canadian Embassy in Dublin on Canada Day.

I also enjoy traveling and fundraising with Team Broken Earth, a group that helps provide medical relief to those in developing countries which included a trip to Haiti, where we supervised surgery and trained staff to adapt to more updated nursing.

Additionally, I enjoy dressing up as “Hope” the garden fairy with the Canadian Cancer Society – Pink Days in Bloom, an organisation that helps support those with breast cancer in the province of Newfoundland.

Meet the rest of the Rose contestants by clicking here


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