PHOTOS: Meet The Rose Of Tralee 2017 Contestants (Part Two)

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Yesterday, 32 Rose of Tralee 2017 contestants introduced themselves here before they arrive in Tralee next Tuesday. Now here’s the other 32 ladies…

Meath Rose – Anne Lynam

MEATH ROSE – ANNE LYNAM

Hi there everyone, my name is Anne Lynam and I am 24 years old. I live in a small area called Hortland which sits on the border between Meath and Kildare.

I live with my parents and my little sister Jane, along with my Nana Molly, who is a huge inspiration to me and one of the main influences in me entering the Rose of Tralee.

I have completed many years of college and studying; starting with my Honours Degree in Health Promotion from Waterford Institute of Technology, followed by my post graduate certificate in Posture, Seating and Wheelchair mobility from the University of Limerick.

Currently, I work full time in Callagys Pharmacy, Kilcock, as part of the dispensary team and I have been given the opportunity to further my studies to achieve my pharmacy technician qualification.

Alongside my studies, I have had a passion for performance from a young age. I took part in dancing and music growing up through my school years and I was also a member of the local youth choir.

I am very grateful for all I have experienced throughout my Rose journey so far, and it has allowed me to revitalise my love for singing and performing.  I have grown up on the border of Meath and Kildare, however I am extremely proud to be representing Meath in this year’s Rose of Tralee International Festival.

Not only am I fulfilling my own personal dream of becoming a Rose, I am also fulfilling my Nana Molly’s vision of me representing Meath in this year’s Festival.

I am very privileged to represent Meath and become a role model for all the young ladies of Meath and I hope that I can inspire them to accomplish their ambitions.

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Melbourne Rose – Sinead Ryan

MELBOURNE ROSE – SINÉAD RYAN

Hello from Down Under! Sinéad here, the 2017 Melbourne Rose. I am a 26 year old Dublin native living in the wonderful Melbourne.

My fiancé Charles and I made the leap a little over 18 months ago. My sister and brother in law live in Melbourne too, which dampens any homesickness I have.

Over this time I have learned why it is so often voted the most liveable city in the world and most weekends I can be found out bush walking or hiking. I enjoy exploring this side of the world, from scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef to cheering on the Lions in New Zealand.

All good things come to an end, and we do have plans to return to Ireland in a few years’ time.

I am a Speech Pathologist and have great passion for my work. I work with young children with Autism and Developmental Language Disorder. I am grateful to Trinity College for equipping me with a qualification which has allowed me to travel. Whilst this job is challenging, it is extremely rewarding and humbling.

I enjoy the management elements to my role, and I hope in the future to open my own practice upon my return to Ireland, and returning to Trinity College to complete further studies.

Equal access for people of all abilities is something I hold close to my heart; from supporting adults with Autism in New York, to advocating for young children to attend their local school.

I am supported in this journey in Dublin by my parents, John and Mary, and my two sisters Niamh and Alana. My grandmother Mary McGrath in Co Mayo has been particularly supportive of me.

Being part of the Rose of Tralee has encouraged me to engage more in the Irish community in Melbourne, which gives a fantastic sense of home in such a big city.

Maria Murnaghan, Monaghan Rose

MONAGHAN ROSE – MARIA MURNAGHAN

My name is Maria Murnaghan. I am 18 years old. I am currently attending St. Louis Secondary School Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan, preparing to sit the Leaving Certificate in June.

I am daughter of Margaret and Michael.  I am the second eldest of four and my older brother Mikey plays county football for Monaghan. I live in Laragh Village where everyone is very friendly.

There is an old church called St. Peter’s Tin Church which has recently been renovated. There is a walk way around the church and into the forest/garden area, which is really lovely and interesting.

There is a small pub called Coleman’s Of Laragh. I also live a few minutes away from Lisdoonan Village where I work part time in the shop. Because of my interest in the community I got involved with the Pope John Paul Awards.

By achieving my 20 parish hours and 20 social hours I received my Gold Award. I also got to go to Lourdes as a helper by getting involved with the Pope John Paul Awards. It was an amazing experience.

I really enjoy jiving and listening to country music. My community also kindly sponsored me in the Monaghan Rose of Tralee selection night. I enjoy going to country bands and dances as often as I can as a hobby, especially to see Derek Ryan.

My goal is that after school I would love to become a General Nurse. I always wanted to be a nurse. I would love to think that I can try my best to help care for people when they need someone the most.

Nursing will be a hard job but it will be very rewarding job. I am really looking forward to my year representing Monaghan in the Rose of Tralee Festival and getting more involved with my local community and Monaghan as a whole.

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Newcastle Gateshead Rose – Laoise O’Shaughnessy

NEWCASTLE/GATESHEAD ROSE – LAOISE O’SHAUGHNESSY

Hello, my name is Laoise O’Shaughnessy and I am the Newcastle/Gateshead Rose! I am 21 years old and curren

tly living in Sunderland, England. I grew up in a little village called Ballintubber in County Roscommon.

I have one brother, Daniel who is my little sidekick and lookalike. I broke my parents hearts and moved across the pond to sunny Sunderland in September 2014 to follow my heart and study Pharmacy in the University of Sunderland.

I’m currently going into my final year in September with the hope of qualifying with my Masters in Pharmacy next summer. It has grown to be a love of mine and I have passion for helping and caring for people.

I’m also heavily involved in the Sunderland Pharmacy Students Association within the University and raising the highest amount in the history of the SPSA for our chosen charities this year.

I volunteered as a youth helper on a pilgrimage to Lourdes  and truly felt what it was like to care for people. I’m a proud member of the Irish Society in the University and always looking for new recruits. I have a great passion for music and will listen to mostly anything.

At a party I’m usually the one plagued to sing a song which I happily oblige but playing the piano only happens at home. I am a strong advocate of Barry’s Tea, Lyon’s will not do along with a good mug, of which I have far too many of!

I am so honoured to be representing Newcastle/Gateshead at the Rose of Tralee in August. It has been a dream of mine for many years and I’m savouring every second of my rose journey. I’m very grateful for all of the support I have received thus far and ecstatic for the year ahead.

Newfoundland and Labrador Rose Katie Hanlon Wadham

NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR ROSE – KATIE HANLON-WADMAN

My name is Katie Hanlon-Wadman, I am 19 years old, and I live in Paradise, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

I am currently completing my Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN). I decided to pursue Engineering after participating in the 2014 Women in Science and Engineering Newfoundland and Labrador Student Summer Employment Program.

This program places high-school girls in positions in Science and Engineering to promote women’s interest in this field. During that Summer, I worked as a Wave Pump Research Assistant at the National Research Council of Canada.

Since then I have worked in many engineering related positions through my co-op program at MUN. I am very determined and hard working, having earned seven scholarships for school.

Life long learning is something that I am very passionate about. From tutoring high school students, to discovering something new each day, my love for learning and passing on knowledge is tremendous.

In my spare time, I love to swim, hike, camp, rock climb, cook, and volunteer. My love for camping and volunteering came from my nine years with Girl Guides of Canada.

Most recently I have volunteered with GoodLife Spin4Kids, the Community Food Sharing Association, and the Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life. These organizations hold a special place in my heart.

My Irish Heritage originates from my father’s side of the family. My three times great grandfather Timothy O’Connor was born in Kilkenny, Ireland and settled in Placentia Bay, NL in the late 1800s.

As well, my great grandmother Ellen Connors (Henry) was born and raised in Belfast, Ireland and came to Newfoundland as a war bride after marrying Thomas Connors in 1944. O’Connor eventually became Connors for sounding “too Irish”.

I am very proud of my Irish and Newfoundland Heritage and the impact it has on my life everyday.

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New York Rose – Sinead Kirwan

NEW YORK ROSE – SINÉAD KIRNAN

Hello from New York! My name is Sinéad Kirnan and I am 27 years old. I was born and raised in Walden, which is a small town about 90 miles (145km) north of New York City.

It’s the perfect balance between a rural area and the city life. My mother is from Naas, Co. Kildare and my father is originally from Brooklyn, NY with our family traced back to Co. Cavan and Sligo.

I was lucky enough to spend my summers growing up in Naas, where I fell in love with the Irish culture and learned the importance of a strong family bond. I am a recent college graduate from the State University of New York at New Paltz, where I studied biology and psychology.

But my true passion (f)lies within aviation. I am currently serving in the New York Air National Guard as a Loadmaster on the C-17 Globemaster cargo jet. I love traveling and can frequently be found in many different parts of the world.

I am currently pursuing my pilot’s license in hopes of flying for the Air Force in the near future. I am an active basketball and volleyball player, while coaching and refereeing younger leagues.

I volunteer within numerous organizations, such as Honor Flight, which sends World War II, Korean, and Vietnam War veterans to Washington, D.C. for the day to visit their respected memorials.

I am very passionate about promoting mentorship and leadership qualities within our youth and am able to do so through the inspiration from the Wings for Val Foundation, in honor of Lt. Valerie Cappelaere Delaney.

I am humbled to have the chance to represent all Irish women of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut and to be united with the countless number of Irish close and far. If you hear a plane overhead, wave; it may be me!

New Zealand Rose – Niamh O’Sullivan

NEW ZEALAND ROSE – NIAMH O’SULLIVAN

Kia Ora! I’m Niamh O’Sullivan, the New Zealand Rose. Although living half-way across the world now in the picturesque Taranaki region, I am proud to be a Cork girl from the town of Clonakilty where I was brought up by my tirelessly supportive parents Aidan & Noreen.

I’m 27 and the eldest of four crazy kids who are all still living back in Ireland and profoundly missed. To tell the story of how I ended up in New Zealand I need to tell you about the wonderful Mr Shane McCormack!

I met Shane, a Taranaki boy, when completing my MSc in Dietetics at King’s College London. I lucked out by moving into his flat share, took one look at him and was destined for New Zealand.

I diligently completed my year working in a busy Greenwich hospital as the Gastroenterology and Cardiology Dietitian and then packed my bags and my life and moved across the world.

For me, the Rose of Tralee journey thus far has been a soul-searching mission – a way for me to understand who I am as an Irish woman living in New Zealand, my future.

It’s been an opportunity to learn about my new home in the context of my old, something truly unique and special. This whole process has resulted in me finding myself somewhere along the way.

I have many passions and ambitions but none so strong as my desire to use this amazing platform to advocate for young woman living around the world with Type 1 Diabetes.

I hope to raise awareness about the daily challenges associated with the disease, but more so highlight the type of character adversity can build and the new doors it can open if you find the positive inside yourself. Fun Fact: I love car dance parties!

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North Carolina – Rebecca Phipps

NORTH CAROLINA ROSE – REBECCA PHIPPS

Hello all, I am Rebecca Phipps, the 2017 North Carolina Rose! I am 21 years old, and am a current graduate of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, with a Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training.

I moved to Wilmington, North Carolina for school in 2013, but I was born in the state of New Jersey so I still have some of that Yankee blood running through my veins!

I am the oldest of three girls, with the youngest about to start her final year of high (secondary) school, and they currently live in the state of Virginia with my parents.

We are not from Ireland, but my great-great-great grandfather came over from Ireland in 1867, and I am hoping to make him proud as the first Rose in our family!

When I am not working, you can usually find me sleeping or at the beach, or sleeping at the beach; my biggest dream is owning a little house along the shore so I never have to leave my little happy place.

I am also up for playing any sort of sport, with volleyball being my absolute favorite; I have been playing since I was 13 years old and I don’t think I could ever give it up, so it is very fortunate there are leagues around my town that I can play in since I am no longer on an official team.

I do tend to keep to myself, being quite shy and dreading your typical small talk, but once that wall is broken and I have started a real conversation, I can turn into the biggest goofball and will talk for as long as I am allowed!

This will be my first time in Ireland, and I am so excited that my first time will be as a Rose, and I truly hope I can represent North Carolina to the absolute best of my abilities!

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Offaly Rose – Jennifer Byrne

OFFALY ROSE – JENNIFER BYRNE

My name is Jennifer Byrne and I am 24 years old. I’m from a small rural area in Offaly called Clonaderig.

I went to primary school in my local village, Ballinahown, and then went to secondary school in Our Lady’s Bower in Athlone.  I studied Medicine at NUI Galway and thoroughly enjoyed my college years.

I am currently working as a junior doctor in the Accident and Emergency department of University College Hospital Galway.

It can be challenging at times, but I genuinely love my job and I’m very fortunate to be working in such a rewarding profession.

Sport has always been an enjoyable part of my life. I’ve played soccer and Gaelic football from a very early age, and have been fortunate enough to represent Ireland in soccer at U17 and U19 level and in the World University Games.

I’ve made so many friends and have some fantastic memories through sport. I am currently playing with Galway WFC in the Women’s National league. I also enjoy spending time with my family, socialising with friends, travelling, table tennis and tea!

As a medical student, I volunteered at Barretstown, a charity set up for children living with a serious illness and their families. It was an incredible experience and I really learned a lot from it.

I also volunteered in Mpongwe Mission Hospital in Zambia through a charity called Volunteer Services Abroad. It was a life changing experience and opened my eyes to how fortunate we are here in Ireland.

I am honoured to be the 2017 Offaly Rose and I’m really excited to meet my fellow Roses, Rose Escorts and everyone involved in the Rose of Tralee International Festival. I am really thankful for all the support I have been given and so grateful for this fantastic opportunity.

Ohio Rose – Meghan Adams

OHIO ROSE – MEGHAN ADAMS

Hi! My name is Meghan Adams, and I am 22 years old. I was born in Bethesda, Maryland, but I grew up and went to school in Cleveland, Ohio.

My grandmother and grandfather were from Ballintubber and Roscommon, respectively, and immigrated to America when they were young adults. Ever since I can remember, my Irish heritage has been a prominent part of my life.

From Irish dancing since age four to marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Cleveland, I have been able to experience the Irish traditions my grandparents aimed to keep at the core of our family.

Therefore, I am so honored to represent my community and make my family proud. I recently graduated from Loyola University Chicago where I studied Statistics, Marketing, and Information Systems.

There, I was involved in multiple organizations including Chi Omega Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi (a business fraternity), Loyola University Chicago Irish Dance Team, Women’s Club Basketball, and Best Buddies.

Upon graduation, I received a full time offer as a Research Analyst with IPSOS in North America, one of the world’s leading market research firms. I enjoy traveling, which is quite an understatement.

I studied abroad and had the opportunity to visit ten countries through a program called Semester at Sea. One of my favorite memories was teaching young children how to Irish dance at a school in Myanmar (Burma).

I also enjoy new adventures, some of which have included shaving off my hair while passing the equator and running the 2016 Chicago Marathon while raising $1,000 for Make-A-Wish.

I am excited and honored to represent Ohio in the Rose of Tralee Festival, and am ready for this next adventure. I look forward to meeting my fellow Roses, Rose Escorts, and all those involved with the Rose of Tralee Festival.

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Ottawa Rose – Vanessa Foran

OTTAWA ROSE – VANESSA FORAN

I am a 22-year-old student completing my Bachelor of Social Sciences degree at the University of Ottawa with a specialization in International Development and Globalization and minor in Business Administration.

I grew up in Whitby, Ontario and moved to Ottawa to study in French Immersion and be in a bilingual environment. After completing my studies, I plan to obtain a master’s degree in International Development and I am interested in working for a non-governmental development organization in the future.

I have volunteered locally as well as internationally from my time helping to build a school in Tanzania when I was in high school, to being Vice President of Internal Affairs for the University of Ottawa’s International Development Conference.

In 2012 I was honoured with the Celebrating Youth Award for my involvement in the Whitby Environmental Youth Alliance and the Whitby Youth Council. Throughout my studies I have worked in heritage and tourism at the Capital Information Kiosk in Ottawa, educating tourists about Canada’s history.

I also worked as a tour guide at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France for four months, where I was able to teach visitors about Canada’s participation in the First World War.

I was proud to have the opportunity to visit France, the country of my ancestors on my mother’s side. I am now looking forward to be visiting the land of my Irish ancestors for the first time this summer.

My Irish roots are on my father’s side of the family as my great-great-grandfather, John Foran Jr. immigrated from Castlegregory Co. Kerry to Canada as a baby in 1840 to Huron County, Ontario. In my free time, I enjoy reading, playing guitar and exploring Ottawa by bike.

Perth Rose – Kerrie-Ann Barnes

PERTH ROSE – KERRIE-ANN BARNES

My name is Kerrie-Ann Barnes, I am 19 years old and I am absolutely thrilled to be this year’s Perth Rose.

I was born in East London, and my Irish heritage comes from Mountmellick, Co Laois where my mother and grandmother’s family is from, and Portarlington, Co Offaly where my grandad’s family are from.

In 2005, my family decided to emigrate to Australia. We have been in Perth ever since. I currently work as a cosmetician, and as a bartender.

I am also studying a Certificate III in Education Support. Once completed, I hope to attend university to study a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education. My passion for teaching began when I was very young and I have loved the idea of teaching ever since.

As well as teaching, I have a passion for the Performing Arts. Throughout my schooling years I have been a part of various productions and performances, some backstage work, some chorus parts, and even playing lead roles, including Sadako in A Thousand Cranes – for which I had to make hundreds of origami cranes.

I am a huge animal lover, and in our home we have three cats and one dog. Over the past three years, I have also fostered five kittens. In my spare time, I love to go to the beach with my family and friends and explore all that Perth and Western Australia has to offer.

I love to live life to the fullest and take each moment as it comes. I am so pleased and grateful to be chosen as the 2017 Perth Rose, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the tremendous support of my family and friends, the committee, the judges, and the other girls I had the pleasure to spend this amazing journey with. I am very excited to meet all the other Roses in August!

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Philadelphia Rose – Tara Grandich

PHILADELPHIA ROSE – TARA GRANDICH

Hi there! My name is Tara Grandich, I am 25 years old and so honored to represent Philadelphia in the Rose of Tralee Festival this year!

I currently live in Drexel Hill, PA, about 15 minutes from the city center. I have grown up watching the Rose of Tralee Festival and have dreamt of the chance to participate.

My beautiful mother Mary, was born in Kilcormac, Offaly and is one of 10 from a farming background. My mother came to America in the late 1970s where she met my Italian father Peter, in the Bronx.

I have been very fortunate to travel home to Ireland every year to visit my family. From learning how to farm to whiskey tasting, every trip home to the faithful county is an adventure.

My must see every year is to first stop at Kinnitty Castle and then drive up the Slieve Bloom Mountains.  In 2014, I graduated from St. Joseph’s University with a degree in International Business.

I also studied at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia for a year.  I currently work in Portfolio Management for De Lage Landen, a global vendor finance company. I am so excited to be a part of this journey.

I would like to dedicate this in memory of my Granny, Rose. Every year in August, I would watch the Rose of Tralee with my Granny. I would tell her that I will be up there one day waving to her, I hope to make her proud.

Queensland – Ellen McCready

QUEENSLAND ROSE – ELLEN McCREADY

Hi, my name is Ellen McCready and I am honoured to have been selected to represent Queensland at the Rose of Tralee International Festival this year!

I am 27 years old and have lived in Queensland all my life. I am a first-generation Aussie with my parents emigrating from Ireland in the late 80s.

Mum and Dad were both born and raised in Dublin. They followed my mum’s four brothers to Brisbane where they all still live.

We have had the privilege of travelling back to Ireland several times and some of my fondest memories include drinking tea, eating chocolate and playing cards with my great aunts and many cousins during my first Irish (COLD) Christmas, as well as driving the windy roads of Donegal where my dad’s paternal family originated.

I studied a Bachelor Degree of International Hotel and Tourism Management at the University of Queensland and now work as an Event Planning Manager at the highly acclaimed Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

I love my job because of the diversity of events I get to plan, such as the Australian National Basketball League’s Brisbane Games and the Premier’s Sustainability Awards.

Working closely with an amazing team of people to showcase my home city on the world stage makes my job very rewarding.  When I am not working, or hanging out with my four younger sisters, I am playing field hockey or touch football, brunching with family and friends or watching the cheesiest of TV shows.

I am beyond thrilled to travel back to Ireland again this year to celebrate my Irish heritage with a group of similar minded young women and represent my family, friends and of course beautiful, sunny Queensland. Bring on the new friendships, the crazy experiences and the wonderful memories to come!

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Roscommon Rose – Deirdre Cribbin

ROSCOMMON ROSE – DEIRDRE CRIBBIN

My name is Deirdre Cribbin and I am delighted to be this year’s Roscommon Rose. I grew up in the small village of Castleplunkett in Roscommon, where I still live and work today. I am 27 years old and I am a Primary School Teacher.

I have always wanted to work with children, so I completed a Bachelor of Arts in Gaeilge, Geography and Children’s Studies at NUI Galway before attending Hibernia College to study Primary Education.

After my first year in NUI Galway, I travelled to South Africa to volunteer as a teaching assistant in a township near the city of Cape Town. I love travelling to new countries and embracing different cultures.

Last year, I was very fortunate to have the time to spend six weeks travelling South East Asia. While I was studying in Galway, I decided to join the ISPCC as a Childline volunteer, which then led me to working for the ISPCC for a year.

The years I spent with Childline is an experience that will stay with me forever. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding things I have ever done.

I have a huge love and respect for Gaeilge, which initially came from the many summers I spent as a student and as a Cúntóir in Coláiste Lurgan in Connemara.

I currently facilitate a weekly Irish club for children – a place they can come to take part in art, drama, games and many other fun activities through Gaeilge.

I am also an active member of Roscommon Civil Defence, which has given me the chance to give back to the local community, and provide a very valuable service to local people.

I am really looking forward to all that lies ahead for me as the 2017 Roscommon Rose, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support so far.

San Francisco – Amanda Donohoe

SAN FRANCISCO ROSE – AMANDA DONOHOE

Hello my name is Amanda Donohoe. I am 20 years old. I was born and raised in the beautiful wine country region, just north of San Francisco.

I am currently a student at the University of Nevada, working towards my bachelor of science in physics, with a minor in math, with the goal of achieving a PhD in physics, and to pursue a career in research.

I currently serve as the Director of Cultural Interests for Delta Gamma, Eta Iota Chapter, which allows me to host presentations to over 200 women, regarding respect and understanding of cultures around the world.

I have volunteered in many different areas, such as teaching special needs kids to ride bicycles, working with veterans and volunteering at a senior care facility. My parents are from Dublin, and I have a strong sense of Irish tradition and heritage in my heart.

Two traditions I’ve always loved, was helping my mother make Irish Christmas cakes using my granny’s famous recipe as well as pulling the crackers on Christmas Day.

In my spare time I enjoy art, outdoor activities such boating, swimming, hiking, soccer, skiing and I have a passion for traveling, especially meeting people from different cultures.

I’m very excited for the Rose of Tralee Festival to celebrate all the amazing and strong women that the Irish community has produced around the world.

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Sligo Rose – Lisa Moloney

SLIGO ROSE – LISA MALONEY

My name is Lisa Maloney and I am a 25 year old secondary school teacher. I live in a small rural village at the foot of the Ox Mountains called Cloonacool in County Sligo.

I spent four wonderful years in the University of Limerick studying a Bachelor of Education with Modern Languages. I am currently teaching French in Grange Post Primary School in County Sligo.

This September I am continuing my studies in St. Angela’s College in Sligo in a Masters of Special Education Needs. Throughout my studies, I have had several opportunities to travel.

I spent a semester teaching English to children in Badajoz in Spain and followed by an Erasmus semester in l’Université d’Angers in France.

In the year abroad it helped me to discover new cultures, meet new people from all around the world and also develop my proficiency and fluency in both French and Spanish.

I volunteer with a long running festival in my local community called the Old Fair Day Festival. This year I am secretary of the festival. It is considered one of the leading Fair Days in the country.

The festival is a five day event and offers a wide variety of entertainment for everyone free of charge.

In my free time, I enjoy travelling and meeting new people. I also have a passion for social dancing; mainly jiving and country music. I also enjoy reading in my three languages, Gaelic football, and music. I am really honoured and privileged to be selected as the 2017 Sligo Rose.

I am looking forward to my year as the Sligo Rose and meeting my fellow Rose sisters in the celebration of women that is the Rose of Tralee International Festival.

South Australia – Aoife Wright

SOUTH AUSTRALIA ROSE – AOIFE WRIGHT

Hello, my name is Aoife Wright, I am 23 years old and from beautiful South Australia. My Irish heritage comes predominantly from my mother, who is originally from Bundoran, Co. Donegal.

I do, however, have Irish ties on my father’s side too, dating back to my great grandparents who hail from Clare. My family has always proudly celebrated being Irish and has strong ties both in Ireland and in the South Australian Irish community.

In 2015 I was lucky enough to have spent just over a month working with the Imizamo Yethu community of Hout Bay, South Africa.

The majority of my time was spent working in the local school, tutoring students in grades 3 and 4. Recognising the students’ change in concentration levels and mood from room to room, combined with my existing love for education, sparked an interest for me regarding the impact architecture can have on education.

Because of this experience I am currently undertaking an Honours Degree at the University of South Australia, specialising in interior architecture and educational buildings.

Preceding this, I completed a Bachelor’s degree in Architectural Studies, also at the University of South Australia.

I have a strong passion for architecture and design and the impact it can have on society and would love to someday work as an educational consultant, acting as a specialist when it comes to classroom design.

I would really love to bring a greater awareness for the Rose of Tralee quest here in Australia and expose as many people as possible to this fabulous experience.

I am ecstatic to be representing South Australia in the Rose of Tralee festival and I can’t wait to see what the year ahead will bring.

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Southern California – Claire McManamon

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ROSE – CLAIRE McMANAMON

Claire McManamon is my name; I am 24 years old, the youngest in a family of five raised in the West of Ireland in the beautiful town of Newport, Co Mayo.

I graduated from Dublin City University in 2014 with a degree in Accounting & Finance which has led me to the USA today.

I moved to the States two years ago to further my career as an accountant as part of the Glanbia Pure Ambition Graduate Program. Whilst still studying to become a qualified CIMA Accountant, I have had the opportunity to become fully immersed in American culture in two very different states.

One being Idaho in the Pacific Northwest and second the fast-paced sunny state of California. I settled into the way life in Southern California enjoying the constant sunshine, beautiful long beaches and endless hiking trials around the hills of Los Angeles.

Alongside new experiences, celebrating my Irishness is very important to me. I have met so many Irish and Irish descendants here, which really illustrates how evolved our small nation is around the world.

Mayo GAA is a huge part of my life; I never miss tuning into a match regardless of the 8-hour time difference! From Galway, London, Melbourne, LA, Budapest and of course Mayo – the family WhatsApp lights up for every score, block and whistle!

Earlier this year, I became a member of the ‘OC Wild Geese GFC’. I attend Gaelic football training every Friday evening with a good mix of Irish girls and home grown American players.

Working for Glanbia which was once a small diary processor in Ireland, has taught me how the Irish have influenced and evolved around the globe.

Glanbia provides a unique working environment with a strong Irish presence but has so naturally fit into the American way of business. I would like to thank Glanbia for their sponsorship on this fantastic journey.

South Carolina Rose – Ellerslie McCue

SOUTH CAROLINA ROSE – ELLERSLIE MCCUE

Hello everyone, my name is Ellerslie McCue and I am 19 years old. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of South Carolina, which has some of the most incredible coastlines, lakes, rivers, mountains, and farmland in the country.

I can trace my Irish heritage on both sides of my family to Co Cavan on my dad’s, and Co Antrim on my mom’s.

I attend Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, where I study Agribusiness in hopes of pursuing a career in either agriculture sales or policy with a focus on sustainability.

I am an active member in Clemson’s Agribusiness Club and successfully implemented a record breaking fundraiser this year.  My grandfather introduced me to the marvels of the land and shared his passion for farming and our family farm, which we have owned for over 125 years.

I hope to do my part in educating the public about agriculture and share my passion with others, just as my grandfather shared his passion with me.

I am an avid equestrian and I’ve been fortunate to ride incredible horses, meet amazing people, and compete in horse competitions around the United States.

I have been blessed to learn from and work with several accomplished horse trainers and have done my best to learn as much as I can about the care and training of horses and the equine industry.

It is an honor to be the 2017 South Carolina Rose, and I am so excited to have this platform through which I can better promote Irish heritage in South Carolina, learn more about my own Irish roots, and gain a better appreciation for Irish agriculture firsthand.

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to go to Ireland this August and represent my family, friends, and the South Carolina Irish community while also connecting with Irish women from around the world.

Sydney Rose – Aisling Walsh

SYDNEY ROSE – AISLING WALSH

Hello from the Sydney Rose! My name is Aisling Walsh, I’m 27 years old from Ballylongford in North Kerry where I grew up with my parents, brother & sister.

I broke my parents hearts and moved to Sydney four years ago with my boyfriend on a one way flight seeking a new adventure, opportunities and live the dream of travelling around the world.

First stop…Sydney and we never left! I fell in love with this beautiful, vibrant & hectic city which has now become my second home.

What’s not to love about Sydney the glorious weather, the lifestyle and endless job opportunities, I knew this was where I was meant to be.

I hope to become a permanent resident by the end of 2017. I studied a Bachelor of Science degree in the Institute of Technology Tralee and graduated with an Honours degree in General Nursing in 2012.

I have a real ‘grá’ for caring & helping others ever since a young age and all I ever wanted to be was a nurse. I currently work primarily in Oncology nursing in some of the major cancer-treating hospitals in Sydney and I hope to obtain a post-graduate degree in Oncology in the near future.

Within the last year I’ve become a facilitator for new-graduate students as part of a graduate program with the University of Sydney. I love being able to teach these students my Irish nursing experience & skills.

Although nursing is both a physical & emotionally challenging vocation I couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything else! I miss home almost every other day, but playing the traditional flute with a cup of Barry’s Tea or strolling along the beautiful Bondi to Coogee coastline makes everything ok!

I am honoured to be representing Sydney this year and to return home to the Kingdom of Kerry for this year’s Rose of Tralee festival.

 

Texas – Lydian Lawler Lopez

TEXAS ROSE – LYDIAN LAWLER LOPEZ

Hi y’all, my name is Lydian Lawler Lopez, the 2017 Texas Rose.  I am 27 years old and live, and work in Houston, Texas, which is the fourth largest city in the United States.

I attended the University of Houston and received my Bachelor’s Degree in English and Pre-Law in 2015. I currently work in the Texas Medical Center as an Administrative Coordinator and plan to attend law school in the near future with an emphasis in Immigration Law.

My Irish roots come from my mother’s side of the family, the Lawler’s, who are from Abbeyleix, County Laois.  My father’s side of the family is from Mexico City.

Being from a multicultural background has allowed me to connect with diverse communities in the city of Houston as well as the many countries I have visited around the world.

Volunteer work has been an important aspect of my life throughout the years. I have volunteered since I was 14 years old at Texas Children’s Hospital, and immigrant and refugee assistance organizations such as Casa Juan Diego and Interfaith Ministries.

Working with these groups has changed my life and I hope to inspire others to give of their time and generosity to their local community volunteer organizations.  One of my biggest passions is Irish Dance; I have been an Irish dancer since the age of five.

I volunteer as the McTeggart South Texas performance coordinator and dance coach. I am also taking the TCRG exam this year to become a certified Irish dance teacher.  I enjoy staying active in the Houston Irish community and I was excited to join our local GAA team, the Houston Gaels, this year.

I am so honored to have been selected as the 2017 Texas Rose of Tralee and I am extremely excited to meet the rest of the Roses for this once in a lifetime experience.

Tipperary Rose – Sheila Ryan

TIPPERARY ROSE – SHEILA RYAN

Hi everyone (or ”well” as we say in Tipperary), my name is Sheila Ryan and I am 24 years old. I hail from a small parish in North Tipperary called Toomevara.

I am a proud farmer’s daughter and the youngest of four siblings. Like most Tipperary people, I am very passionate about GAA, in particular camogie. I have played camogie with my club Toomevara since the age of five.

I had the privilege of playing on the Tipperary Senior Camogie for five years. I won a Minor ‘A’ All Ireland Title in 2011 (beating Kilkenny, ahem!) and also won two Ashbourne All Ireland Medals playing with WIT.

Horse racing is also a major aspect of my family life. In my spare time I also enjoy travelling, fashion and reading.  Throughout my teenage years, my desire to work in a caring profession grew.

In 2012, I started my training as a psychiatric nurse in Waterford Institute of Technology and I am currently working as a full time nurse within the South Tipperary Mental Health Services.

In 2018, I hope to complete a post graduate degree and work in child and adolescence mental health services. As a psychiatric nurse I truly understand the importance of independent organisations that primarily help to raise awareness of mental health in our society.

As the Tipperary Rose I am honoured to be working alongside Pieta House this year to help raise much needed funds for the prevention of suicide and self-harm. Becoming the Tipperary Rose is a childhood dream come true!

I am so honoured and humbled to be representing my county and the people of Tipperary. I can’t wait to make amazing memories with my new Rose sisters, Rose Buds, Rose Escorts and everyone involved in the Rose of Tralee Festival.

 

Toronto Rose – Colombe Nadeau O’Shea

TORONTO ROSE – COLOMBE NADEAU-O’SHEA

Hi! I’m Colombe Aingeal Nadeau-O’Shea. I’m 26 years old and was born and raised in the beautiful city of Toronto. I am half French Canadian and half Irish. My grandparents, aunt and uncle hail from Dublin.

They came over in 1954, and once settled here had a family. I went to an arts high school to follow my passion for visual arts (I’ve been painting since I was seven, had a solo show at 12, and had pieces hanging in the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto for eight years).

I ended up majoring in photography and dance! I also grew up playing the piano (brought to Toronto from Dublin!), and figure skating.

After high-school I went to Wilfrid Laurier University, where I majored in Psychology and minored in French (I’m bilingual, and currently learning Spanish). I then took a year off, worked, and traveled the world for three months.

Upon my return, I went back to school to get my Master’s degree in Fashion Theory from Ryerson University. After school (and traveling solo through South America for five weeks), I started my career as a business etiquette consultant Corporate Class Inc.

I loved it, but something was missing! I took a step back from that full-time role (currently still a contractor there) to join a non-profit tech start-up. I couldn’t be more excited!

Some of my hobbies and passions include (but aren’t limited to): painting, working out, traveling (been to nearly 30 countries so far, and counting!), volunteering (a huge part of my life), animals (including my ones at home – Jax, a ball python and Charlie, a budgie), music, reading, high-adrenaline sports (like sky-diving and scuba-diving), hiking, spending time with friends and family, and living and promoting a vegan lifestyle.

I’m so thrilled and honoured to represent Toronto in this years’ Rose of Tralee Festival!

Tyrone Rose – Niamh McElduff

TYRONE ROSE – NIAMH McELDUFF

My name is Niamh McElduff. I’m 21 years of age and I’m a third year student teacher at St. Mary’s University College in Belfast, studying Primary education with Irish.

I hail from a townland called “Termon” or “An Tearmainn”, meaning a safe place or a sanctuary in Irish, in Carrickmore, County Tyrone. Carrickmore is a very close-knit community with the GAA at its core, and it goes without saying that people here are very proud of their Irish heritage.

Having played for both my club Carrickmore and at County level for Tyrone, I fully appreciate how special it is to be involved with the GAA community. I am the eldest of three children, with a sister Bláthnaid and brother Patrick.

My parents Paula and Barry are from East and West Tyrone respectively, which I like to think this gives me a county-wide perspective on things.

My Dad recently became the MP for the area of West Tyrone and we are all very proud of his achievement. A student at St. Mary’s, I live in Belfast during the week and I love nothing more than to come home on a Thursday or Friday night and drink a cup of tea in Carrickmore.

I usually spend my weekends in Sallys of Omagh, where I have worked part-time for nearly six years and I am very grateful to them for sponsoring me throughout this experience.

As well as my love for the Irish language, I have a keen interest in singing and I have represented my club and comhaltas branch in Scór and fleadh competitions on many occasions, and am proud to say I have a few Ulster titles to my name.

I am overwhelmingly honoured to be crowned the Tyrone Rose and I hope to do my Parish, my family and myself proud. Tá mé an-bhuíoch as an deis seo.

 

Washington DC Rose – Sarah Robertson

WASHINGTON DC ROSE – SARAH ROBERTSON

Hello, My name is Sarah Robertson and I am incredibly honored to be selected as the 2017 Washington, D.C. Rose.

I am 21 years old, the middle of 5 kids, with two older brothers, and a younger sister and brother. I currently live in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and am going into my fourth year at Christopher Newport University, where I study French and Communication Studies, and minor in Middle East and North Africa, and Arabic (and get to live near the beach during the school year!).

My family’s ancestry is from Co. Armagh, Co. Monaghan, and Co. Kerry! I am a competitive Irish dancer, and my love of dance has inspired my parents to dance as well.

Growing up, my father was in the military so I had the opportunity to live all over the world, which included learning Flemish at the same time as I learned English! Seeing different cultures first hand has given me a love for diversity.

Throughout my years I have not only had the opportunity to travel but also to help, which has shaped who I am today. I have volunteered working with the Salesian Mission in Camden, New Jersey, where I helped with underprivileged youth and the homeless.

I have also volunteered working at Camp Rainbow, a camp that I helped run for underprivileged girls who could not afford to go to camp during the summer.

I have a passion for giving back and would like to join the Peace Corps after I graduate to help create sustainable education programs for children in third world countries.

While in high school, I created the Irish Culture club for my old primary school where I taught students about Irish history, culture, and Irish dancing.

I am super excited for the International Rose of Tralee Festival in August and excited to see what this upcoming year holds for me!

Waterford Rose – Chloe McGrath

WATERFORD ROSE – CHLOE McGRATH

My name is Chloe McGrath and I am a 23 year old Primary School Teacher from Waterford.

I am currently working as a Resource Teacher, supporting children with special needs, in Waterford Educate Together National School.

I graduated from Mary Immaculate College in 2016 with a Bachelor of Education degree and Music Education Specialism.  Growing up I had two passions, music and scouting.

Having started in the Ferrybank Scout Group at the age of nine, it quickly became a major part of my life. Throughout the years, I have led teams to the National Phoenix Challenge which utilizes scouting skills in first aid, camp craft, map and compass, and backwoods.

I have also performed and later produced musicals for the National Star Scout Show in Dublin for the past number of years. I am a now scout leader in my local unit and am currently helping Scouting Ireland in organising National events.

My flair for music began at a young age. I had my voice trained, achieving singing awards and medals with the Royal Irish Academy. I was also a member of the WIT Youth Choir, the Irish Youth Choir and am now currently a member of the Waterford based choir Lumina.

I have also played lead roles in various musicals both locally and nationally such as Annie in ‘Annie’, Grizabella in ‘Cats’ and Cinderella in ‘Cinderella’.

This love of music is continued through singing at local events for charities such as the Solas Cancer Support Centre, and the creation of a school choir in Waterford Educate Together National School.

I am delighted to have been selected as the 2017 Waterford Rose. I want to thank my family, my Rose Centre and my friends for their support, and I am looking forward to the exciting year ahead.

 

Western Canada – Sinead McGahern

WESTERN CANADA ROSE – SINEAD McGAHERN

Hi’a, my name is Sinead McGahern, and I feel truly blessed and honoured to be the 2017 Western Canada Rose. I am 27 years old, and currently living in Calgary, Alberta.

I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where my parents, Patrick and Kama decided to settle down. My father, Patrick, is from Co. Cavan and immigrated to Canada in 1976.

My mother, Kama, is from Lynn Lake, a small mining town in Northern Manitoba.  When I graduated high school, I moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia to attend Dalhousie University.

In 2013, I graduated with a Civil Environmental Engineering Degree and moved to Calgary. I have been working at a small environmental consulting firm for the past three years and have been fortunate enough to travel for work throughout southern Alberta and British Columbia.

In my spare time, I enjoy being outdoors, especially snowboarding in the winter and hiking in the summer, primarily in the Rocky Mountains. I have a love for the arts, and enjoy painting, metal smiting, writing, and photography.

Yet, my passion is dance; I attend Irish dance training twice a week, and I volunteer my time, teaching at my Irish dance Academy once per week.

Most of my weekends in the spring, summer and fall are filled with adventuring throughout Alberta and British Columbia in my 1986 Westfalia VW camper van.

Since I am an only child, I am very close to my parents, which has me talking on the phone to them every day and spending time with friends every chance I get.

I am beyond ecstatic to be attending the 2017 Rose of Tralee International Festival as the Western Canada Rose. I cannot wait to begin this journey and show how proud I am to be an Irish Canadian, representing my family in Ireland and community in Canada.

Westmeath – Eva Cooney

WESTMEATH ROSE – EVA COONEY

Hello from Westmeath! My name is Eva Cooney, I am 23 years old and from Glasson, the ‘Village of the Roses’, County Westmeath.

The eldest in my family, I have two younger sisters – Gemma and Carla, my mum, Anne and dad, Mark. I attended school locally, Tubberclair N.S. and Our Lady’s Bower, Athlone.

Hockey provided an escape from academia, I played, coached and captained at school and club level. Having an interest in people, psychology was an obvious academic choice for me.

I’ve just finished with a first class honours degree from Trinity College Dublin. I enjoyed my time there and sharing the campus with tourists nurtured my appreciation of this little country that we’re lucky to call home.

Now at a junction in my career path, I plan to take a year out and consider my options. Throughout college I worked waitressing in Grogan’s of Glasson and as a stewardess on a private yacht touring the Mediterranean during summers.

I also worked with the Trinity Global Relations Office, on their social media campaigns.  Many summers in Italy have increased my appetite for both food and travel.

Food plays a central role in all my plans for social occasions. Thankfully, I’m also interested in keeping fit and healthy. Last summer I was lucky enough to escape to Thailand for several weeks – between Thai cookery courses, mud baths with elephants and scuba diving, it was certainly my most memorable trip to date!

I look forward to my year as the Westmeath Rose, a once in a lifetime opportunity, a chance to get involved in local charities and tick a few more places off my bucket list – be it the Wild Atlantic Way or the USA!

Thanks to my family and community for their continued support and to Custom Cuts Athlone, who sponsored me for the Westmeath Selection.

Wexford – Julie Sinnott

WEXFORD ROSE – JULIE SINNOTT

Hello everyone, my name is Julie Sinnott and I am 26 years old. I live at the foothills of Mt. Leinster in the picturesque village of Ballindaggin, County Wexford.

It is a true honour to represent my home county at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. I am the second eldest of my family with two brothers and one sister.

I work as a primary school teacher at Boolavogue National School where I teach a group of 30 incredible first and second class students.

I have recently completed a master’s programme in Waterford Institute of Technology in the area of Leadership and Management in Education. This September, I hope to further my education as I embark on my PhD studies in the area of outdoor instruction within the Irish primary school.

I also work as an educational tutor with the Dyslexic Association of Ireland. I am passionate about music and Irish dance. I play the trumpet, piano, tin whistle and bodhran.

I have performed at the National Concert Hall, Dublin and the National Opera House in Wexford.  In the past, I have competed at both national and international levels Irish dancing.

Unwilling to hang up my dancing shoes just yet, I now enjoy volunteering with my local dance group. I love to travel and have been fortunate enough to appreciate various cultures during my travels across Europe, Asia and the USA in recent years.

When I am not busy talking about previous escapades, you will find me planning my next adventure.

This summer, I am determined to reach all 32 counties sporting my sash! I am so excited to be involved with the Festival and so grateful for Glamourize Hair Design, my initial sponsors, who have made it all possible for me.

Wicklow Rose – Abby McKenna

WICKLOW ROSE – ABBY McKENNA

Hello! My name is Abby McKenna and I am honoured to be representing Wicklow at the 2017 Rose of Tralee Festival.

I am 22 years of age and the eldest of three with two younger siblings, Kelly and Adam, whom I am very close to. I have lived in Redcross, a small yet beautiful village close to the seaside, most of my life, having moved down from the busy life of Dublin.

I currently work full time in the Wicklow Brewery in Redcross village. I am a fully qualified ITEC and CIBTAC Beauty Therapist having attended Glenart College in Arklow, Co. Wicklow.

Upon graduating, I spent some time working in The Wells Spa in Brooklodge, Aughrim. I loved working here and found it to be a great experience but have since decided to return to college this year to study Digital Marketing and Web Design in Bray Institute of Further Education.

I’ve always had a big interest in makeup and fashion and love experimenting and taking risks with them. I am very family focused and always ensure to make time to spend with them.

I love exercising by walking Around Redcross village and enjoying all the beautiful scenery it has to offer. If I’m being honest, I can’t really put into words how proud I am to be representing my beautiful county, the Garden of Ireland.

I have received nothing but love and support from my family and also from the people of Redcross and I cannot wait for my journey to continue!

Yorkshire Rose – Aisling McArdle

YORKSHIRE ROSE – AISLING McARDLE

My name is Aisling Mc Ardle, I’m 26 years old and I’m delighted to say that I’ll be representing Yorkshire in the 2017 International Rose of Tralee Festival.

I grew up in a little town called Kingscourt in County Cavan, where I went to Primary School, before attending St Louis Secondary School in Carrickmacross, County Monaghan.

After completing my Leaving Cert, I made my way to the big smoke of Dublin where I began my studies in Trinity College.

I quickly came to realise that Natural Science wasn’t the right course for me. I had always wanted to become a Pharmacist but was unfortunate not to achieve the points required.

After much encouragement from my mother, and some self-belief, I sat myself down and filled in the UCAS form to study Pharmacy in the UK. The rest is history!

I’ve lived in Liverpool now for just under seven years and I love it. The people here, and in Yorkshire, are some of the nicest you could ever wish to come across and they know how to make you feel right at home – probably because the majority of them have Irish roots as well! Travelling is a huge passion of mine!

I have a “Travelling To Do List” on my phone and constantly add more and more destinations to it, while chipping away at it too.

One of the things I’m looking forward to most about the Festival is meeting all the other Roses and making plans for reunions all over the globe in the future.

I feel so honoured and privileged to have been selected as the Yorkshire Rose and I can’t wait for all that I’m yet to experience.

I’ve no doubt I’m going to have the time of my life and hope to make my family, friends, colleagues, Rose Centre and Yorkshire proud.

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