Much more than a beauty pageant, the Rose Of Tralee Festival is very much an institution and is most definitely a part of Irish culture. With representations from all over the world, the Rose Of Tralee Festival draws large crowds on an annual basis with loads of concerts and events which culminate in the crowning of the ‘Rose Of Tralee’ herself! The 2008 Rose of Tralee takes place from Friday 22nd of August to Tuesday the 26th August. Read on for more…
In 2008 the International Rose of Tralee Festival celebrates its 49th year. It got its inspiration from the famous song “The Rose of Tralee” written by William Mulchinock. He was a wealthy 19th Century merchant and was in love with a girl named Mary O’Connor. Unfortunately she was his servant and he was discouraged from expressing his love for her due to the different classes and religions they belonged to. He decided to move away but on his return many years later he sadly learnt that Mary had died of TB (tuberculosis). This left him broken hearted, and hence he wrote the song -”The Rose of Tralee”.
The festival connects Irish communities all over the world. Around 30 contestants take part, all of whom must be born in Ireland or have Irish ancestry. The winning Rose is chosen by a panel of judges for her personality, ambitions etc., rather than looks alone.
The highlight of the first day of the festival on Friday August 22nd is the Rose Ball. This glitzy affair, where the Roses are introduced, is usually a sell out event at the Festival Dome. This year the Dome is right next to the Fels Point Hotel. Throughout the weekend there will be parades, street theatre, markets, a fun fair, fireworks as well as open-air concerts. And on Tuesday the 26th the winning girl is crowned the ‘Rose of Tralee’.
The Rose Selection is televised from the Festival Dome on the Monday and Tuesday nights with millions of viewers tuning in to see the girls. Each girl will talk about themselves for a couple of minutes as well as their Irish connections and their ambitions. At the end of her chat she has the opportunity to perform a party piece – a song, dance or recite a poem etc.
For more information check out the Rose of Tralee Festival website.
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