Sadness At Death Of Founding Member Of Rose Festival Margaret Dwyer

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Margaret Dwyer with Anthony O’Gara  pictured at the 50th anniversary of the Rose of Tralee festival in 2009. Photo: Rose of Tralee Facebook

THERE is sadness in town and far beyond this morning, at the news of the death of Margaret Dwyer, one of the first members of the Rose of Tralee International Festival in 1959, at the age of 97.

Ms Dwyer, who died yesterday, came to Kerry soon after World War 2, a conflict in which her husband Johnny Dwyer lost his life. She was a vital contributor to the festival and community groups over the past decades and everyone who knew this independent, strong-willed, wonderful person will be saddened by her passing.

Anthony O’Gara Executive Chair of the Rose of Tralee International Festival, issued a statement about her contribution to the festival over the years.

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“It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Margaret Dwyer. The late Florence O’Connor, a fellow founding member of the Festival once said: “If you want to make sure a job is done quickly and efficiently get the women to do it.”

One of the women he had in mind was Margaret Dwyer. She became the first Lady President of the Festival of Kerry, as it was known, back in 1970 and with her presidency came a new approach to attract more sponsorship which remains necessary for continued growth and development. This helped pave the way to make the Rose of Tralee one of Ireland’s most famous and important family festivals to the present day.

The contribution of Margaret to the development, growth and long-term success of the Rose of Tralee International Festival from 1959 to 2003 and indeed to the town of Tralee through her role in the local business sector, has been immense. She will be sadly missed and we extend our sympathy to her sons Ryle and Sean.”

Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr Pat McCarthy has also paid tribute to Ms Dwyer.

Cllr McCarthy said that Margaret Dwyer’s contribution to tourism in Tralee was exemplary not least through her involvement with the Rose of Tralee International Festival.

“Margaret Dwyer was a dedicated and long-standing member of the Rose of Tralee committee and was an outstanding ambassador and advocate for the festival and for Tralee.

“I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to Margaret’s family at this sad time. May she rest in peace,” said Cllr McCarthy.

President of Tralee Chamber Alliance, John Drummey said: “We send our sympathy to the family of well-known Tralee lady, Margaret Dwyer who has passed away. An original member and former President of the Festival of Kerry, Margaret was also very proactive member of the business community in Tralee. Margaret was the first member of Tralee Chamber Alliance which was founded in 2012. May she rest in peace.”

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