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Night One of the Rose of Tralee 2016: As It Happened

Lovely moment by lovely moment.

SUFFERING FROM A spot of post-Olympics depression? Worry not, fellow countrymen and countrywomen, for the Rose of Tralee is here to ease us back into a post-Olympic reality.

Tonight, lovely girls from all four corners of the globe will battle it out to be crowned Rose of Tralee and we at will be here to liveblog the festivities for the next two nights.

Can the contest survive the poetry ban? Will there be proud as punch Dads in the audience wearing stetsons? And what on earth will Dáithí Ó Sé wear? Only one way to find out…

Quick, Eastenders is over! Stick on the kettle, have a wee and get comfy on the couch – the Rose of Tralee is about to start!

Some housekeeping: #RoseofTralee is the hashtag to use tonight.

The usual #ROT is now the official hashtag of the Refugee Olympic Team, so you know… kind of inappropriate.

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And we’re off!

Dáithí has just welcomed the 65 Roses and introduced the judging panel, which is comprised of Mary Kennedy, a former Rose of Tralee and a member of Kerry County Council.


The first Rose of the evening is Shannon Burke from New Orleans.

Shannon seems perfectly lovely and is adamant that she both gets what ‘craic’ is and that she in turn is ‘good craic’.

Shannon, who is pursuing a career in speech pathology, taught Daithi sign language…


And then proceeded to throw Mardi Gras beads into the crowd.

A worthy ambassador for New Orleans.

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Next up we have Aisling McNeill of Co. Roscommon.

She ticks every Rose of Tralee box:

  • She bloody loves Roscommon.
  • She’s a primary school teacher.
  • She has done voluntary work in Africa.

Your Mam is wondering why you can’t be more like Aisling.

Cake by the ocean. (Or should that be Cake By The Ó Sé?)

Our third Rose of the night was Monaghan’s Pamela Allen.

Pamela has three loves in this world – Emmerdale, tea and country music. (She even got a shout out from an actor in Emmerdale. Please don’t ask me what his name was. He had a white beard.)

Pamela’s party piece entailed teaching Dáithí to jive. Here he is getting his Kevin Bacon on to Footloose:

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Marian Keyes asking pertinent questions here as to what year it is.

I have done some research and Google says it’s 2016.



Someone in the crowd just ratted out the Louth Rose for missing training…

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This is Megan Ferguson, the Louth Rose.

Megan told an extremely charming story about wearing a Liverpool jersey under her Communion Dress and revealed that she’s a pioneer.

You know who else was a pioneer?

Well played, Louth.

Meet Sarah Griffin, the Ottawa Rose.


Sarah shared a photo of her boyfriend wearing her Ottawa Rose sash. (She left it in the car, see.)


Dáithí then wondered aloud what her boyfriend would do if she left her bra in the car. “If she left her bra in the car… would he wear that, too?”

Dáithí’s mind is a curious thing.

I am convinced that Cork Rose Denise Collins doesn’t really want to win this competition.

Why? Because she mentioned ‘deer feces’ and ‘fecal matter’ several times. Do you really think Mary Kennedy approves of that kind of talk?

Elsewhere, Collins nearly set Dáithí on fire in an attempt to demonstrate how science can be cool.

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Wow, science really is cool!

*goes back to college to study a STEM subject*

Well, we’re midway through the show and one thing is clear – the people of Ireland are suffering from poetry withdrawals.

After all, it’s not the Rose of Tralee without a girl reading a bad poem over some melancholy flute music, is it?

Ever wondered what it takes to win the Rose of Tralee?

Our colleagues at have conducted some VERY SCIENTIFIC analysis to find out what it takes to win the coveted title.

Spoiler: brunettes are waaaay more likely to win than blondes. Who knew? / YouTube


And we’re back with the Newcastle/Gateshead Rose. Most exotic Rose centre by far, tbh.

Aisling regaled us with a tale of taking a selfie with a patient in the middle of brain surgery and then, cruelly, did not show us it.

For her party piece, she played Lord of the Dance on the drums and bongos. (More like Lord of the Bants, wha’?)


Literally starving for a poem here.



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And we’re back.

In case you missed it: a Fathers4Justice campaigner just invaded the stage at the Rose of Tralee.

The fathers’ rights group tweeted about the incident shortly afterwards.



Thanks to Kentucky Rose’s granny for giving us all hope, tbh.

Germany Rose just uttered the FORBIDDEN WORDS “beauty pageant” on stage.

Didn’t she get the memo that we never, ever compare Rose of Tralee to a beauty pageant?

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So, Germany Rose just rapped Lil Wayne’s A Milli onstage.

She didn’t modify the lyrics to reflect the Rose of Tralee or anything. She just straight up rapped the whole thing.

Mary Kennedy just sitting there like, “This is lovely now.”

Same, Mary. Same.


Newfoundland Rose has emerged as a viewers’ favourite. (And with good reason, she was fab.)

Special shout out to her Mam <3

And the award for Best Dad Anecdote goes to Scotland.

Scotland told us how her Dad, a teacher, used to trick the children into thinking he was famous. And, of course, they believed him.

The auld schemer.



After being treated to a video package of Escort Bootcamp (read: from what I can tell, Escort Bootcamp consists entirely of lads making funny faces and falling off things while wearing county jerseys), the title of Escort of the Year was awarded to a man named John.

John won €1,000 and joked that he’d buy beer for the escorts and the Roses. Dáithí, ever prudent, pointed out that the €1,000 wouldn’t go too far if he bought drinks for the 65 Roses. “That’s true,” said John.

The Kilkenny Rose just sang, what else, the Rose of Mooncoin.

But not before telling us how her granny Maureen was all set to become a nun when, all of a sudden, she met her husband-to-be. 58 years later, they’re still married.

True luv <3

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Sydney Rose has won a lot of praise on social media for speaking out about the Repeal The Eighth campaign.

“I think it’s time to give women a say over their reproductive rights,” she told Dáithí Ó Sé, before stating that she believed it was time for Ireland to hold a referendum on the matter. She is the first Rose of the night to mention the issue.

It’s been an eventful night between stage invasions, science experiments, Lil Wayne and Repeal The 8th.

Will tomorrow night be able to match? Let’s find out when we do it all over again at 8pm tomorrow.

Over and out.

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