COUNTY Laois has been home to the Regional Finals of the Rose of Tralee since 2008 and this will continue for another three years from 2013 to 2015.
The Regional Finals significantly enhance the profile of the Rose of Tralee and it is a major stepping stone on each Rose’s journey to Tralee in August.
The 2012 Luxembourg Rose, Nicola McEvoy, said: “My experience at the Rose of Tralee Regional Finals in Portlaoise was fantastic. I met so many wonderful Roses and made a new group of great friends. We stayed at the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel which was superb. I personally had never been to Laois before but was so impressed by every place we visited and the vintage car parade on the Saturday was definitely the highlight for me. We met with many of the local Laois business people who were so kind with their hospitality.”
This year’s Roses from Ireland, Australia, USA, Canada, Dubai, Luxembourg, Great Britain and Germany all enjoyed a carnival atmosphere with a vintage Car Parade, funfair and visits to the magnificent Killenard Golf Club, Emo House and Castle Durrow.
The Melbourne Rose, Claire Lynch said her week was topped off with the meeting of the Rosebuds. “My rosebud Rebecca was a delight. Her mum informed me she had not slept for weeks with excitement about this event and that’s what the Rose of Tralee does it effects all ages, to see Rebecca full of so much excitement and pride as we sat in the Vintage car I said to myself this is why I entered the Rose of Tralee. Since leaving Portlaoise Rebecca’s mum has emailed me to say that I made a positive impact on Rebecca and that she enjoyed every second of it, this is one thing that will stay with me forever.”
On the final night, selection host Dáithí Ó Sé announced to a packed audience in the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel, the names of the 23 Roses who would be travelling to Tralee in August - seven Irish Roses, nine from the USA, two Canadian, two British and one each from Melbourne, Luxembourg and Germany.
The Monaghan Rose, Caoimhe Flanagan, summed up the experience: “We were treated like royalty for the five days in Portlaoise with the finest of cuisine and most incredible events planned.”
The people of Laois are excited about welcoming their friends from all over the world back to Portlaoise for the Regional Finals of the Rose of Tralee for another three years. The hosting of the Regional Finals in Laois puts the county firmly on the map as a national centre for major festivals and events. The Rose of Tralee brand is firmly established and recognised worldwide and Laois will benefit significantly from its continued association with the Festival.
Everyone involved in the Rose of Tralee International Festival wishes to thank our wonderful hosts in the Midlands – Laois Tourism, Laois County Council, Portlaoise Heritage Hotel, Maldron Hotel Portlaoise and Castle Durrow. They always lay on a spectacular programme of entertainment for Roses, their families and friends who travel to the event each year.