ROSE FESTIVAL: Roses With Kerry Links Delighted Be Coming To Tralee

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


San Francisco Rose Annie Powers with Grace and Muireann O’Shaughnessy from Laois at The Rose Hotel on Wednesday evening. Photo by Dermot Crean

EVERY year there’s a number of Rose of Tralee contestants with links to Kerry and of course this year is no different.

We caught up with a few of them when they arrived at The Rose Hotel on Wednesday evening. The San Francisco Rose is 26 year old Annie Powers.

“My mother’s grandparents came from Castleisand. I have cousins, the Maguires, coming to see me from Kerry so I’m excited about meeting them here. It’s been a wonderful week so far, the adventure of a lifetime,” said Annie, who works in Business Development.

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Another lady with very strong connections to the county is Sorcha Rochford, the Boston and New England Rose. Sorcha is originally from London but spent every summer and Christmas in Kerry when growing up, thanks to her parents.

The Boston and New England Rose Sorcha Rochford with escort Peter Rooney at The Rose Hotel on Wednesday evening. Photo by Dermot Crean

“My mom Margaret and dad Gerry are both from Ballyduff. I moved to Boston six years ago with a view to coming home but I’m still there. This week has been fabulous. I landed in Dublin on Saturday morning and it’s been non-stop since!” said Sorcha, whose dad Gerry, a contractor in London, is a former London-Kerry Association Person Of the Year Award recipient.

Galway Rose, Deirdre O’Sullivan, knows Tralee very well and has seen many a Rose festival down the years.

“My grandparents would have grown up in Denny Street — Dr George Lyons and Dr Finn Lyons. They worked in the Bon Secours. My dad’s side of the family own the Beaufort Bar. We used to come down to Denny Street all the time during the summer. The town park was like a front garden for us!” said the primary school teacher who works in Dublin. She said she is really enjoying the experience.

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The Galway Rose Deirdre O’Sullivan with London Rose Gráinne Hawkes at The Rose Hotel on Wednesday evening. Photo by Dermot Crean

“It’s completely magical and it’s so surreal to be on the other side of the festival. I never expected it but handing in that application [for the Galway Rose contest] was the best decision I could have made. I’ve met brilliant people,” said Deirdre.

The Cavan Rose, Eileen Cusack, has connections to south Kerry.

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Escort Thomas Lynch, Cavan Rose Rachel Cusack, Clare Rose Clara Burke, Abu Dhabi Rose Sara Kate Mangan and escort Eoghan Burke at The Rose Hotel on Wednesday evening. Photo by Dermot Crean

“My mother Eileen Moran is from Waterville, so it’s lovely to come back to Kerry,” said the 26 year old. “My mam is so excited and my uncle Jerry and Patrick live in Waterville and I’ve cousins coming as well. The welcome we got here in Tralee has been amazing, I think we’re all a little starstruck,” said the nurse who is working in the Galway Clinic specialising in Oncology and Palliative care.

They’re all in for an amazing week, made all the better for coming back ‘home’.

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