As the Rose of Tralee extravaganza begins, DAN DOONER reports on the various local Roses, including Roscommon Rose Deirdre Cribbin, who are hoping to bloom in Tralee

There are a number of Roses with Roscommon connections in Tralee this week for the International Rose of Tralee Festival.

  They include Roscommon Rose Deirdre Cribbin, who is a primary school teacher from Castleplunkett, and Newcastle/Gateshead Rose Laoise O’Shaughnessy, who is a Pharmacy student from Ballintubber.

  Roscommon Rose Deirdre said she was delighted to be in Tralee for the festival.

  “It will be tough to get through but it’s a huge bonus to be in Tralee to enjoy the whole festival. The fact that I get to take part in Tralee has been great motivation!

  “Both my family and my boyfriend Evan’s family have been brilliant in supporting me and there’s a good gang here,” she said.

  Deirdre was grateful to sponsors such as RosMed Pharmacy and Padanee Boutique and said she had enjoyed her reign so far.

  “I’ve had four months representing Roscommon and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m very thankful to the organising committee for giving me this opportunity and I’m looking forward to continuing to support local groups and causes, whatever happens in Tralee. I said at the outset that I wanted to make the most of it and that’s what I intend to do.”

  Deirdre, who has volunteered with Roscommon Civil Defence, said she had already received a special message of support from Co. Kerry.

  “Kerry Civil Defence sent me a message recently saying they were looking forward to seeing me in Tralee, which was really nice. Roscommon Civil Defence has been brilliant and they even made a sign for the door (at headquarters), wishing me luck.

  “It has been amazing the way people I don’t even know have come up to me and wished me luck.

  “The most special reaction so far has been from little girls who ask to hold my hand or dance with me!

  “Whether I get on stage this week or not (for the televised final), I’m looking forward to representing Roscommon and hopefully doing Roscommon proud,” she concluded.

  Newcastle/Gateshead Rose, Laoise O’Shaughnessy, told the Roscommon People how she came to represent the Northeast of England this year.

  “Three years ago, I moved to the Northeast of England to complete a Masters in Pharmacy. Being in the Rose of Tralee was always something I aspired to and there was an excellent opportunity to do so in the Northeast as I knew there was a Rose Centre there,” she said.

  Laoise grew up in Ballintubber with parents Danny and Grace and brother Daniel. She attended the Convent of Mercy in Roscommon town before making the big move to England. She has received plenty of support from her home town.

  “I am sponsored by Kenny’s Bar in Ballintubber and James and Eileen have been very good to me. They held a farewell party for me last Friday night. They aren’t my only sponsors of course and I’ve been very lucky with all the support,” she said.

  RosMed Pharmacy is also behind Laoise’s Rose of Tralee adventure and she says their support is indicative of the backing she has received across Roscommon.

  “I’ve been working at RosMed for the past two years and the staff and customers have been lovely. I’ve also received great support locally even though I’m an international Rose.

  “I feel it’s really important to not forget where you come from. I’m a Rossie, a Ballintubber lady, and you bring a part of where you are from with you. I’m not only representing Newcastle/Gateshead, I’m representing Roscommon too,” she added.

  Laoise was grateful to her family, friends,

 and her many supporters. She was clear in explaining what the Rose of Tralee means to her and pleased to have met Roscommon Rose Deirdre Cribbin ahead of the journey.

  “The whole point of the Rose of Tralee is bringing people together. It has brought me and Deirdre together already and it has been great meeting up with the other 63 Roses and my Rose Bud Ava. Now, hopefully I can do the Newcastle/Gateshead Rose Centre proud while I’m here in Tralee!”