Local Roses impress as Westmeath’s Rachel wins Rose of Tralee 2022

Roscommon Rose Bernie Ryan pictured with Oonagh O’Gara and County Roscommon native Anthony O’Gara, CEO of the Rose of Tralee.

Roscommon Rose Bernie Ryan may not have captured the International Rose of Tralee title on Tuesday night at the Kerry Sports Academy, but she certainly captured the hearts of many of those watching on following her live interview with presenter Dáithí Ó Sé.

While Westmeath Rose Rachel Duffy (24) was announced as the deserving winner, Bernie was described as a “breath of fresh air” on social media and received widespread praise for her sense of humour and for demonstrating CPR in the ‘talent’ section of her interview.

Bernie travelled to Tralee with plenty of support, and her family and friends made themselves heard in the ‘Dome’ on Tuesday night. There had been a large Roscommon contingent in the Kerry town throughout the Rose Festival as two other Roses also have local connections.

Queensland Rose Eimear Naughton, who wowed the audience with a poem about homesickness, is originally from Athleague. She impressed the judges and those watching on as she told Rose of Tralee host Dáithí Ó Sé about her life as a teacher in Brisbane.

Hayley Reynolds (28) was this year’s London Rose, and her father Martin hails from Strokestown. Hayley said she had spent the first three years of her life in Cricklewood but now lives in St. Alban’s, Hertfordshire where she works as a personal trainer and is a member of the St. Colmcille’s GAA Club.

All three ladies appeared on Tuesday’s final selection night and while their proud families and supporters watched on, two of their fiancés threatened to steal the show!

Bernie’s fiancé John Donnelly, who hails from Fourmilehouse and plays football with Kilbride, received his fair share of praise and good-natured ribbing on social media on Tuesday night.

Host Dáithí was keen to know how long it took John to pop the question ahead of the couple’s December wedding while the camera appeared to catch Bernie’s father Michael offering a look of disapproval as John appeared on screen. The Roscommon People understands however that John is firmly in the Ryan family’s good graces!

Meanwhile, Eimear Naughton’s fiancé and Colombian native, José, appeared in a gushing video message which was played live during the Queensland Rose’s appearance. Eimear may have been reduced to tears but Dáithí was impressed with José’s smooth way with words.

Tuesday’s final night also featured a live performance from Dublin band Wild Youth while Dáithí was ably assisted by fellow presenters James Patrice and Will Leahy.

The festival came to an end amid emotional scenes as Westmeath’s Rachel Duffy beat the odds to win this year’s title. But while they may have come up just short on the judges’ scorecards, the Roscommon, Queensland and London Roses did their respective Rose Centres and the county very proud with their on-stage appearances on Tuesday night.