Dublin: 4 °C Saturday 28 January, 2023
# maria you gotta see her
Rose of Tralee bewitches everyone in the country on the Late Late
“On a Sunday what else is there to do except come out?”

maria RTÉ RTÉ

ROSE OF TRALEE Maria Walsh (The Luminous Maria Walsh to give her her full title) was the first guest out to meet Ryan Tubridy as the Late Late Show returned to our screens last night.

Her opening remark came with a smile as Tubs referred to a “busy few weeks”:

I’ve caused a little bit of scandal.

She is of course referring to the revelation after her Rose of Tralee win that she’s gay, and the first openly gay Rose in the competition’s history.

“It was a stir more than a scandal”, Ryan countered, as people in sitting rooms all over the country began to fall in love with Walsh all over again.

Walsh is from Shrule in Mayo but was representing Philadelphia at the Rose of Tralee, having moved there after finishing college in Dublin.

The subject of her sexuality was reported in the Sun on Sunday the weekend after her win, and speaking to Tubridy last night she brushed it off, saying

You know what? On a Sunday what else is there to do except come out?

Walsh says she knew that the article was going to appear that day, and that she had been contacted by the paper in advance and that she was “delighted with the story”.

It brought across a real truth and [had a] warmth to it.

Walsh said that she wasn’t expecting to win the Rose of Tralee, so she didn’t see the need to bring up her sexuality to the organisers. She said she was never hiding it, but that it just never came up.

The new Rose says she wants to be a role model:

If I could even help one young person come out and deal with it in a positive way and have positive reinforcement around that, then my year as the Rose of Tralee has already been completed. I would be delighted with that.

And Twitter melted:

And even her dad got a look in:

Maria’s dad Vincent told Tubridy that he “got a bit of a shock” when she told him she was gay, but:

I hugged her for about 10, 15 minutes and she says ‘you can let go now’. I was very happy and very proud of her that she came straight out and told me.

He also praised his daughter for all of the things she has done for her community.

We love you Vincent.


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