ROSE COUNTDOWN: Meet The Rest Of The Rose Of Tralee Contestants (Part 2)

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You’ve met the first 29 Rose of Tralee 2018 contestants (click here if you missed them), now meet the other 28…

Saoirse McGrath


I am 23 years old and come from Skryne. I am in my third year of a BSc in General Nursing in DCU. Most of my training is completed in Beaumont hospital in Dublin, one of the busiest hospitals in the country. I wish to pursue a Masters and become an Advanced Nurse Practitioner specializing in cardiac care following my primary degree. Sport is paramount in my life and I have played football and ran for Meath, and have two Leinster athletics medals in the 800m. I am running the mini marathon this year in aid of Pieta House, a charity I hold close to my heart. I am a sociable person and love meeting new people and  enjoy the company of others. I have a passion for music and have a particular love of artists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Simon and Garfunkel  .. The golden oldies!

Suzie Jackson


I’m 27, born in Boston on Valentine’s day, my parents always thought I was destined to be a ‘Rose’.  We moved to Ireland when I was four years old.  My Dad was born in New York but grew up in Cork where he met my mom, a Cork native. I grew up in Dublin and Cork completing my Nursing Degree at UCC.  I began Nursing in the Mercy Hospital Cork, before heading off to Melbourne three years ago with a group of friends.  I’m now nursing in the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, the number one Trauma Centre in Victoria. My sport is basketball, I play for a local Melbourne team and represented Cork at underage level. Travel is my passion having visited the US, Europe, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, New Zealand and of course Australia.


Hannah Mooney


I am 24 and proud to say I am from Co. Monaghan, from a small parish called Aughnamullen East in the middle of Monaghan. I have two older brothers, who sometimes act more like bouncers and it’s safe to say I’m a Daddy’s girl.  I am in my final year of Adult Nursing in Queens University, Belfast, and will soon qualify as a Registered Nurse, following in the footsteps of my mum.  Having taken the scenic route to my Degree, I am a strong advocate for alternative pathways in further education, nothing is impossible and often the scenic route has the best views!!  Myself and my family are community focused, with music playing a huge part in our lives, as well as GAA and fitness in general.

Ciara Harvie


I am 20 years old and live in the beautiful south east coast of Scotland. Since leaving school in 2015, I took a risk and followed my dream to become a classical singer. My passion for singing has given me many life changing opportunities, such as appearing on The Voice UK 2017 and representing the UK at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to support charitable events, most recently attending the “Art-football” campaign in Russia. Its aim is to support the ideals of Kindness and Humanity and raise funds guaranteeing treatment of seriously ill children.  My mum is a proud Cork woman and I have many happy memories of family visits to my large extended family in Cork City.

Bridgette Abbott


My heritage originates from County Kilkenny, Wexford and North Tipperary from both the Cuff and Butler families. I am a native of Musgrave Harbour, Newfoundland & Labrador, where I was raised as the youngest of eight children. I am a twenty seven year old Special Education Teacher, and am heading into a Master’s Degree in Leadership Studies. I am an avid volunteer, and am involved with numerous non-profit organizations and charities. I have recently become a “Big Sister” through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and I enjoy spending quality time with my little sister and keeping her active in the community.  I have been awarded both the Queen’s (England) Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers by the Governor General of Canada in recognition of my continued volunteer efforts.

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Sarah Ward


I’m a 22 year old born and raised New Yorker! I grew up in the Hudson Valley, about an hour north of NYC. My father hails from Brooklyn, raised by proud Co. Donegal and Co. Monaghan native parents. My mom grew up in Waterford City, and moved to New York to work as a nurse. I spent every summer of my childhood running around Dunmore East with my sister, brother, and clan of cousins. I attended a small State University outside of Rochester NY, where I studied Biology and Psychology. Just two weeks after graduating with my Biology degree, I began an intensive twelve month nursing program. I am now a graduated Registered Nurse, and I could not be more proud and excited to join this profession. When I’m not collecting college degrees, I love cooking and baking, going on hikes with my family, watching the NY Rangers, and planning my next travel adventure.

Jolene McLaughlin


My name is Jolene McLaughlin, and I am a 25-year old musculoskeletal physiotherapist reigning from the hills of Donegal. I made the big move to New Zealand in 2015 after graduating from University College Dublin, and have been exploring the peaks and valleys of the beautiful country ever since I stepped off the plane. I have settled in Wellington, the “world’s coolest little capital” and am in love with the close-knit community and laid-back lifestyle it offers.  I work as a senior physiotherapist with Habit, and I feel very fortunate to have such an engaging and rewarding profession. I am forever seeking new challenges and adventures, and I enjoy hiking, camping, running, skiing and cycling. I am an active member of the Wellington GAA

Hannah Virga


I am a 25-year graduate student from North Carolina who could not be more honored to represent the great state of North Carolina! I graduated from East Carolina University in 2015 with a degree in Quantitative Economics and decided to further my education and obtain my Master’s in Business and Human Resources from the University of Richmond.  I currently work at Capital One Bank as a fraud analyst and love it! I am a coffee connoisseur and would love to open and run my own coffee shop one day. I enjoy spending time exploring my city for local coffee shops and festivals. I spend as much time running as possible and love trying all the new “hip” gyms. My mother was born and raised in Ireland and moved to the United States when she met my father, a true Romeo and Juliet story.

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Katie Kehoe


I am 20 years old. I was born and bred in Tullamore, County Offaly. I am currently studying Primary School Teaching in Mary Immaculate College Limerick and will be going into third year come September. My life mostly centres around my family, friends and GAA. I play both Camogie and Gaelic football for my club and I also play with Offaly Ladies Football team. I am very lucky to play along side two of my three sisters both at club and county level. As well as training every day of the week I am kept busy helping to coach the underage football teams and I am currently managing Tullamore Minor ladies. I love being outdoors and being active and so I fill my spare time with walks and cycles with friends or family!

Erin Stefancin

OHIO ROSE – Erin Stefancin

I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. I live in Ohio’s capital city, Columbus, where I am a first-year master’s student. I am 22 years old, studying Speech-Language Pathology at The Ohio State University, and hope to work with adults in an acute care hospital setting, specializing in stroke and traumatic brain injury. My maternal grandparents Sean and Agnes (McGrath) Fox, hail from Cong, Co. Mayo, and paternal grandparents Bob and Grace (Toolis) Stefancin from Achill. I have enjoyed singing since I was three years old, I also have a passion for volunteering with those with physical and cognitive disabilities through adaptive sports and games. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, doing yoga, baking, cooking, and hiking with my dog, Brady!

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Laura Cannon


I’m 25 years young and originally from the beautiful hills of Donegal.  I am now living in my second home Perth, Western Australia. Since moving to sunny Perth I have gained invaluable learning and development opportunities. I am privileged to have been afforded the opportunity to nurse in Oncology and Palliative Care which has opened my eyes as to how precious each life is.  Since March I have begun working in Coronary Care and Intensive Care, I am enjoying all of the learning and skill development unique to this area of nursing. I enjoy the relaxed lifestyle in Perth, I am living by the beach nestled beside a small town called Fremantle.

Katie Keenan


I am 22 years old and so excited to be representing Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the 2018 Rose of Tralee Festival. I am a senior studying Communications at Temple University, but I have been spending this summer interning at a casting agency in New York City. I am a passionate traveler and have been fortunate to have lived in five different cities in the past five years. I enjoy cooking, photography, acting, and spending time with family and friends. In my spare time I help run a non-profit organization that I co-founded in honor of my beautiful sister, Jordan. “Jordy’s Cause” raises funds to help sick children and their families in our local community. I can trace my ancestry back to County Mayo and County Tyrone.

Sarah Griffin-Breen


I am 27 and from Brisbane, Queensland. I have been fortunate to call Manly, a small bayside village in Brisbane home for my entire life.  My mum is from Athea in Limerick, she immigrated to Australia in 1979 after meeting my dad in London. My dad also has Irish heritage, his maternal grandparents are from County Tyrone and Clare and his paternal grandparents are from County Tipperary and Galway. I am a Lawyer having graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Law (Honours) from the Queensland University of Technology. I also hold a Bachelor of Biomedical Science. During my visits to Ireland, I developed a strong penchant for various Irish foods like Barry’s Tea, Tayto Crisps, Irish barmbrack and Irish soda bread.

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Eimear Reynolds


I am 27 years old. I come from the picturesque village of Rooskey in County Roscommon along the banks of the Shannon. Music is my great passion in life and I graduated from Dublin Institute of Technology Conservatory of Music and Drama with a Bachelors degree in Music with Performance in 2015. I have been fortunate to build a career in performing throughout Ireland and abroad. I love travelling and meeting new people and consider myself lucky that music gives me the opportunity to do both. I have taught music to adults and children for many years and also work with local business in an initiative set up through our local arts centre called ‘The Office Choir’. My brother and I established the Roscommon Solstice Choir of which I am musical director.

Annie Powers


I am twenty-six years old and I am from San Francisco, California. My faith, family, friends, and Irish heritage are the most important things in my life. My mother’s grandparents immigrated to San Francisco from Castleisland in Kerry, and my father’s grandparents immigrated to New York from Lismore in Waterford. I grew up Irish Step Dancing with my four sisters for Greene Academy of Irish Dance. I graduated from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Philosophy.  I currently work in Business Development at Salesforce. My hobbies include spending time with family and friends, singing, running, volunteering, playing volleyball, dancing, and going to the beach!

Julie Patterson


I am 27 years old, raised on a farm, alongside my brothers, and a nature lover with a deep appreciation for the outdoors. I enjoy hiking in my free time and Sligo is the perfect place to get out and explore the mountains. I always wanted to work with children and I am proud to say that I am a passionate primary school teacher in Malahide, Dublin. This year I am taking a career break and I am delighted to use this opportunity to pursue my dream of illustrating a children’s story that I have written, and ultimately publishing my first book. I am a creative lady who loves drawing, painting and poster design too! I love leading an active lifestyle and I was taught to appreciate good, honest food from a young age. I also like to volunteer and have done so both locally and abroad.

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Emilie Helbig


I’m 25 years old and from Adelaide, South Australia. My Irish ancestry originates from Newry, County Down where my great grandparents Patrick and Bridget Larkin resided. My family has always held our Irish heritage in high regard, in particular our love of Irish dance. My grandmother participated in the Irish dancing community in Adelaide, passing on her love to her daughters who then opened up their own studio, ‘The Newry Studio of Irish dancing’, named after the town from which our family originated. Their love was passed onto me and for the last 21 years I have revelled in everything Irish dance all over Australia and the world, and have recently moved my passion into the art of teaching.

Caitlin Macinante


I’m 26 years old and live in Medowie with my fiancé Barry. I work full-time as a Business Development Manager while studying a Bachelor of Primary Education part-time. Music is an important part of my life, I play guitar, piano and sing.  If I’m not working or studying, you will find Barry and I camping with our mates.  The late Steve Irwin was my hero and I grew up catching snakes and countless other creatures, I feel completely at home in the bush. My Grandmother Mary hails from Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny and my late Grandfather Jimmy from Castletownroche, Co. Cork.  They emigrated to Australia in 1961, shortly followed by the arrival of my mother who went on to become the 1980 Sydney Rose.  It is a rare privilege to share the same role she did 38 years ago.

Kimberly Corser


I am a 22 year old student at Texas A&M University and will be graduating next spring with a Bachelors Degree in Economics. I plan on starting my own non-profit someday to benefit families of cancer patients both financially and emotionally. Having lost my father after a 13-year battle with cancer it is a passion near and dear to my heart. In the meantime I am working as a bartender at the local Irish pub, O’Bannon’s Tap house! My Irish roots come from my father’s mother through Co. Donegal. One of my biggest interests is Irish dancing and has been since I was seven. I have competed in the World Championships several times and plan to take my teachers exam once I graduate from college.

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Laura Durkan


I am 26 years old and I am from Clonmel. I am the eldest of three fanatical Tipperary supporters. Although, as our Dad is an exile from the wild west of Mayo, we always keep a fond eye out for the folks in green and red during the summer. I attended UCC where I graduated with a degree in Pharmacy and then completed my Masters in the RCSI in Dublin. I currently work for Pfizer in Kildare making medicines for patients all over the world. When I get some free time I head for the hills, or the coast, or anywhere outside in nature.  I love playing tennis and proudly represent my local club in leagues and competition events throughout the summer.

Carly McGrath


I am 25 years old. My parents are native Irish, they emigrated to Toronto in the late 80’s. When I was two, we moved back home to Cooley, Co. Louth.  In 2014, I received my Bachelor of Arts International Honours Degree from the National University of Maynooth. Throughout my studies, I had the pleasure of studying abroad in the University of Vienna, Austria, where I specialized in Economics and Cultural Studies.  I work within the financial services industry in Investor Relations at Citco (Canada) Inc. I love staying active and playing sports. I play GAA for Durham Robert Emmets GFC and I am also the clubs first female referee. In addition, I train and compete in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, to say I am passionate about it would be an understatement!

Ellen Campbell


I’m 22 years of age and live in the townland of Stewartstown, County Tyrone, where there is a rich community ethos that is very proud of their Irish heritage and the local GAA club Stewartstown Harps. I graduated in July 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Queen’s University, Belfast and currently work as a Peripatetic Music Teacher and Performer, working alongside music companies such as ‘Live Music Now’ helping others with the power of music through performance. As well as my love for classical music, I also have a great affection for Irish Traditional Music and have recently taken up playing the banjo. I always admired my late father playing this beautiful instrument and wanted to keep the family tradition going.

Michelle Karkos


I am 26 years old. I currently work as an analyst for the Department of Justice where I look at various crimes for trends and patterns. I’m looking to attend graduate school next fall and continue my career in law enforcement. Before starting work, I received my undergraduate degrees from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I studied psychology and sociology with my concentration being in criminal justice. While attending college, I was a collegiate rower. Being a rower taught me various life lessons that I still use in my career today! I did various sports besides rowing growing up. I was a swimmer, Irish dancer, soccer player and runner.

Kirsten Mate Maher


I am 21 years old and I’m the 2018 Waterford Rose. I love singing and sing with the island of Ireland Peace Choir which was formed in the wake of The Omagh bombing Co. Tyrone 1998. We have performed together in The Garden of Remembrance, The Aviva Stadium, Stormont and many other fantastic places. I play hockey with Waterford Ladies 1st team and we are currently competing at Munster Division 1 level! I have such a big love for animals, especially horses and dogs. I have been horse riding since I was five years old and in the future I hope to own many horses, dogs maybe even some sheep and goats too! In September I look forward to attending Waterford Institute of Technology to study Multimedia and Application Development. I hope to pursue a career in computer programming!

Leanne Quinn


I am originally from Coralstown but currently reside in Newmarket on Fergus “The Rose Village” in Co. Clare. I turned 25 this summer and am the eldest of five siblings. With an interest in people and behaviours, I studied BSc Psychology at the University of Limerick and graduated in 2016 before moving to Dublin to work in Management Consulting at Accenture, Ireland. Throughout my time at university, I also lived in Canada, Scotland and New York. Finding a grá for health and fitness while in Dublin, I qualified as a fitness instructor and personal trainer and decided to return to UL to further my studies. Currently in my postgraduate degree, MSc Sports Performance, I’m very excited to be working with Munster Rugby for my thesis.


I am 27 years old. I studied my BA in Music and History of Art at University College Dublin and in 2012, followed my dream of moving to London to complete my Masters Degree at Sotheby’s Institute of Art. I now work as a Marketing Executive for Collier Webb who specialise in restoration and historical interiors. Music is one of my great loves and I was the recipient of the National Excellence Award for Music Performance. I am passionate about volunteering with charitable organisations and am currently involved with the Irish Heritage Association and Plan Ireland. I am also carrying on my family’s tradition of running the Dublin Marathon while raising money for MS Ireland and the LauraLynn Hospice.

Lorna Mallick


I am 22 years old and honoured to be chosen as this year’s Wicklow Rose in the 2018 Rose of Tralee International Festival. I am living in a small village in the sunny South East county of Wicklow called Tinahely, where I was born and raised. I studied Gaeilge and Geography as my undergraduate degree in St. Patrick’s College in Drumcondra. I then went on to follow my dream career and have just completed the Professional Masters of Education with Hibernia College to qualify as a primary school teacher. I have just been offered my first full-time job for September! I live with my Mam Fiona, my Dad Joe, my older brother Colin, my Grandad Pat, and my two cute dogs, Benson and Hooch. My hobbies include playing the piano, GAA, working with children and travelling.

Alana Gallagher


I am 20 years old and originally from Ballybofey, Co. Donegal. In 2016 I moved to York to pursue my dream of becoming an Occupational Therapist at York St John University. I am now in my second year of the course and loving every minute of it! I also work part time in a neurological rehabilitation centre to further my knowledge and experience. I am an avid Gaelic footballer and upon my move to England joined the Gaelic football club ‘York Éireannach’. I am also vice secretary of the first ever Yorkshire Ladies County Board. The Gaelic team has developed a close knit community of people from Ireland, people with Irish heritage and even people with no Irish connection who enjoy the sense of community. I have also attended many of the York Irish association’s events.

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