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The Rose of Tralee

The Rose of Tralee International Festival is based on the love song The Rose of Tralee, by William Mulchinock a 19th century wealthy merchant who was in love with Mary O'Connor, his maid. Mary was born in Broguemaker's Lane in Tralee and worked as a nanny. When William first saw Mary he fell in love with her, but because of the difference in social class between the two families their love affair was discouraged. William emigrated, and some years later returned to Tralee only to find Mary had died of tuberculosis. He was broken hearted and expressed his love for her in the words of the song.

The Festival as it is today stems from Tralee's Carnival Queen, once a thriving annual town event, fallen by the wayside due to post-war emigration. In 1957 Race Week Carnival was resurrected in Tralee that featured a Carnival Queen. A year later a group of local business people met in Harty's Bar in Tralee and decided to revamp the Carnival in a way that would regenerate the town, encourage tourism and keep the race crowd in town overnight.

The new event would be called a festival and the carnival queen contest turned into a celebration of the Rose of Tralee song. Young women would also be sought from outside Tralee, and heats were held as far away as London, Birmingham, New York and Dublin with the help of local Kerry people living abroad.

The first Festival in 1959 had Roses representing Tralee, London, Dublin, Birmingham and New York, Each Rose had to be a native of Tralee, but this condition was relaxed in the early sixties to be a native of Kerry, and in 1967 "Irish birth or ancestry" became the criterion.

The 1959 Festival was a resounding success with Alice O'Sullivan from Dublin becoming its first Rose. The organising committee extended their sights to include setting up centres in other areas, beginning with the United States. As well as Ireland, the UK and the US, the Festival now has centres in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai and Luxembourg.

The only Centre to have won the title in successive years is London, in 2010 (Clare Kambamettu) and 2009 (Charmaine Kenny). The closest runner up is New York which won in 1974 (Maggie Flaherty) and 1976 (Marie Soden). Dublin has won the contest more often than any other Centre - 5 times - beginning with Alice O'Sullivan in 1959, Ciara O'Sullivan (1962), Cathy Quinn (1969), Sinead Boyle (1989) and Orla Tobin (2003) and Luxembourg's Nicola McEvoy won in 2012.

Since 1959 the Festival has grown, incorporating centres from all over the world and is firmly established on everyone's events calendar. RTÉ's live coverage of the Rose selection has helped install the Festival in the national psyche, and it has remained their top rating show for many years, with up to a million people tuning in every year for the result.

Qualities of Rose
The qualities of a Rose are defined by the lyrics of the song The Rose of Tralee and crystallised by the young woman who is chosen as the Rose of Tralee at the International Festival.

Over the years our Roses have mirrored a changing Ireland and the definition of Irishness that is celebrated by so many different people around the world. Roses have come to reflect the aspirations of modern young Irish women and embrace our global diaspora in a positive and refreshing way.

A Rose represents the collective aspirations, social responsiblities and ambitions of a variety of communities and backgrounds, united by a desire to celebrate Irish heritage.

Luxembourg Roses

The Luxembourg Rose of Tralee is now entering its 16th year and after a brief absence in 2017, has succeeded over these years due to the large support the event has received from the local business and expat community in Luxembourg. We hope that the 2018 Rose Ball will be as big a success as in previous years.

2012 was a hugely significant year for our centre, with our Luxembourg Rose, Nicola McEvoy being crowned the 2012 International Rose of Tralee in Ireland in August 2012. During the course of her reigning year, Nicola travelled to India with the Hope Foundation, (, Chernobyl with the Adi Roche's Chernobyl Children International Project (, New York and Washington DC for St Patricks Day where she had the huge honour of meeting Barack Obama at the White House. She also travelled to several Rose centres both in Ireland, the UK and Europe to promote the Rose of Tralee International Festival.

Sile Reidy was crowned the 2016 Luxembourg Rose in March 2016 and went on to represent the Grand Duchy in Tralee, her home town at the International Festival.

The participation of our Luxembourg Roses from 2002 to 2014 in both the Regional Finals and the Rose of Tralee International Festival has been an amazing experience for the Roses, and provided huge exposure for Luxembourg in front of a worldwide audience in a high profile event.

The selection of our Luxembourg Rose provides our supporters the opportunity to enjoy a fantastic evening at our Rose Ball, which is advertised in various publications in Luxembourg, such as, CityMagazine Luxembourg,,, Ara City Radio, L’Essentiel, our Facebook page, Luxembourg Rose and our website The event is also published on the International Rose of Tralee website, And video clips from the Rose Ball are also aired by RTL, with an interview with the newly selected Rose giving further exposure to the event.

The annual Rose Ball also gives us the opportunity to raise funds via our tombola, that are subsequently donated to a number of charities in both Ireland and Luxembourg. At the 2016 Rose Ball, a total of €5,000 was raised charity.

Read a little about our previous Roses...

Luxembourg Rose 2016 - Síle Reidy

My name is Síle Reidy and I am twenty years old. I grew up in a farm house in Ballymacelligott, a large parish just outside Tralee in county Kerry, Ireland. I am the fifth child out of six - four boys and two girls. We are a very sporty family with football being our main love. Going to Croke Park is a yearly pilgrimage for us. I have a brother and a sister living in Australia and one brother living in New Zealand. Even when Kerry are playing they are tuning in in the middle of the night there. I went to Presentation Secondary School for five years. On my first week in Secondary School we all wrote down what we wanted to be in the future and we received them back on our graduation day in sixth year. For me I said I wanted to be a PE teacher, a maths teacher or an accountant. To this day I still don't know how I chose accounting as I had never studied it previous to writing that.
I spent four months in Lille, on Erasmus in 2015 where I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. I am currently doing an internship in Credit Suisse here in Luxembourg which I am really enjoying the whole learning and practical experience. Both Erasmus and International work experience were optional for me in my degree but as I have such a huge love for travelling I couldn't turn down the opportunities.
I hope to take a year out soon to volunteer in Africa or Fiji, travel Asia, Australia and New Zealand. I may need more than a year!
I love the fact that Luxembourg is such a multicultural country where you hear so many different languages and meet many people with such different and interesting backgrounds both in the work place and outside. Also there is such a large Irish community here in Luxembourg which is great as you don't feel too far from home.
Each year, growing up in Tralee I have attended the Rose parade and watched the roses on RTE with the news paper at hand, with all the pictures of the Roses while me and my sister rank our favourites and put a bet on to see who wins. I would love to represent Luxembourg and put it on the map as it really has lived up to its expectations for me, the learning experience and opportunities here are endless.

Síle will be escorted by Michele Massacesi.

Luxembourg Rose 2015 - Aedammair Ní Chiardha

My name is Aedammair Ní Chiardha and I am 25 years old. I am originally from Dublin with 3 brothers and 1 sister. My dad is from Ballivor in County Meath and my Mam is from Dublin but with a lot of her family from County Cork. My parents both have a great passion for the Irish language and because of that I was brought up through Irish and English which may have influenced my career path.
I graduated from NUI Maynooth with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography and Nua-Ghaeilge and then a Master's degree in Nua-Ghaeilge. I particularly enjoyed my Master's as the lecturers were very helpful when times got stressful with essays and thesis work. I had a great time in Maynooth even with a lack of sleep studying into the night at exam time.
After my Masters I was lucky enough to get accepted for a traineeship with the Council of the European Union in Brussels as an Irish translator. I loved the experience and the Irish unit were very welcoming making it an easy transition from home. I also took part in the Brussels half-marathon. I was delighted I was able to finish it without stopping as I could just about run 5 minutes before I started training for the marathon. I made a lot of new friends from across Europe whom I am still in touch with. Whilst in Brussels with my traineeship coming to an end, I applied for a job in Luxembourg with the European Commission and here I am.
I work in the Publications Office as an Irish proof-reader. Even though I work on my own I really like the work and the people in my unit. I particularly like leaving my office door open and hearing all of the different EU languages being spoken in the corridors (even though I can't understand what they are saying).
On the weekends I like to watch a bit of Dr. Phil (my guilty pleasure), see new places, meet up with friends and of course catch up on sleep. I live with 12 people which may sound a bit chaotic but it is great fun on the weekends with dinner on Saturdays cooked by one of my housemates cooking a typical dish from their home country.
At first I was nervous about moving my whole life from Dublin to a new country without knowing anybody. When I arrived I was pleasantly surprised. The locals are very helpful even if it means using hand signals to explain directions as I have very little French (or German/Luxembourgish) having never studied it before. I even had a Luxembourgish skiing instructor trying to teach me how to ski. At the start I was hanging onto the railings for dear life as I looked down at the beginner's slope but by the end with his patience and understanding of my lack of Luxembourgish I was flying down the advanced slope like nobody's business.
I love living in Luxembourg because it reminds me of home in a way. It is small like Ireland so you always bump into people you know. The city is gorgeous with many castles and old historic sites. Above all I think Luxembourg's diversity in culture is what really makes it a great place to live. The city is full of people from all around the world who are well integrated thanks to the people of Luxembourg welcoming other cultures with open arms. I would love to represent Luxembourg in the Rose of Tralee and show others what a great city it is.

Aedammair will be escorted by Joe Glennon.

Luxembourg Rose 2014 - Niamh Bergin

My name is Niamh Bergin, I was born and raised in a typical Irish country setting in the South East, Kilkenny, Ireland. Besides my Irish roots, I have some American blood running through my veins. My Grandmother was an Irish-American originally from Long Island, New York.
I’m a recent graduate in Politics and Public Administration from the University of Limerick. My Final Year Project was on ‘Women in Politics and why there are so few’. Due to my strong interest in other cultures, I was involved with the International Society in the University of Limerick.
My desire to travel and experiencing different cultures brought me to Luxembourg. I first came to Luxembourg on an internship; I worked with SES Astra in Betzdorf in Accounts Payable Department. I enjoyed the time here so much that once I graduated, I immediately started looking for a job here. Currently I’m working for The Bank of New York Mellon in Alternative Investment Services. This is challenging for my first job after graduating but I am enjoying it and learning a lot.
One of the greatest things about my experience is the friends I’ve made. I have been lucky to make friends from not only from Ireland but from all over the world. I love being around people. This I believe I have inherited from my Mother, who is a Tourist Guide in Kilkenny Castle. I recently completed a Fáilte Ireland workshop on welcoming visitors to Kilkenny. My parents also hosted a Bed and Breakfast in Urlingford, Co. Kilkenny. For years we have welcomed people from all horizons. This meant growing up I was constantly surrounded by new people from all walks of life. This is something that I think attracted me to Luxembourg with its multicultural environment and culture attracts people from all over the world. I love that even with all these influences, Luxembourg has remained faithful to its roots as is stated in their national motto ‘mir wëllen bleiwen wat mir sin’ which can be translated to ‘we want to remain what we are’. This motto is close to my own heart as although I like to take in inspiration from others, I will always stick to my own Irish roots no matter where my life journey takes me.
I must confess I have a great love of food, I like to experiences dishes from all different cuisines. I’ve just enrolled in some cooking courses. On the weekends I love to cook traditional Irish dishes for my roommates and friends. My speciality is Shepherd’s pie!
I also love fashion; this is my passion outside of work. I really believe that fashion soothes the soul. Or maybe this is just what I tell myself when my monthly credit card bill arrives!
Language is not just for me a way of communication but also a tool of integration this is why I’m intending to learn German and French in the Bank which belong to the three official languages of the Grand Duchy. I would feel honoured and privileged to represent Ireland in Luxembourg as a Rose because I cherish both Ireland and Luxembourg as they both hold a special place in my heart.
Niamh will be escorted by Malachy Fahey.
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