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Dublin: 12 °C Friday 28 February, 2020

#Rose of Tralee

# rose-of-tralee - Sunday 21 August, 2011

From Q&A: What’s it really like being a Rose of Tralee? Lovely Girl

Q&A: What’s it really like being a Rose of Tralee?

As Ireland (and the world) gears up for the 2011 Rose of Tralee finals, we talk to someone who really knows…

# rose-of-tralee - Tuesday 24 August, 2010

DAITHI Ó SÉ MADE his debut as host of the Rose of Tralee competition last night, to either fanfare or consternation, depending on your point of view.

The two-part comp was last presented by popular Today FM presenter Ray D’Arcy.

The first half of the 32 contestants were interviewed by O Sé last night, but it seems that all eyes were on the presenter.

Glucose started a thread criticising O Sé’s performance:

Dáithí Ó Sé is embarrassing on the rose of Tralee. Firstly, is he aware of camera positions? Secondly, his accent is hard to understand. Thirdly, he is talking too much and interrupting the roses. Fourthly, his nerves are making the contestants nervous. Shocking presenting performance.

asset test followed up, condemning his fellow members for even looking at the festival:

Why are you all watching this Kerry gombeen rubbish at all at all? As for Daithi, I don’t think it matters one bit if he’s good or bad. Who will remember? Apparently though the ladies think he is just divine.

Much of the debate centred on Ó Sé’s accent, described by Glucose as sounding:

…like Tom Cruise in Far and Away.
It’s a hideous accent.

FrankSpeaks was quick to leap to Dáithí’s defence though, responding:

I think your criticism of Dáthaí’s accent is over the top, I had absolutely no problem with it. He probably never attended English elocution lessons but he is easily understood by any English speaker.

Compare Dáthaí’s accent to a Geordie or some of the Scottish one’s and I think most people would find it easier to understand Dáthaí. As I said previously I thought he started poorly but was vastly improved by the end of the show. Remember Ryan Tubridy’s first Late Late I thought it was awful but the second show was a huge improvement.

@curlydena on twitter was baffled by the very concept of the Rose of Tralee, exclaiming:

The Rose of Tralee – it confuses me. I won’t lie. I just don’t get it.

@arcaller wasn’t best pleased and in his fury even forgot who Dáithí is:

Thought RTE programmes couldnt get any worse but was proven wrong by rose of Tralee and Daihi who ever he is cringe cringe.

# rose-of-tralee - Monday 23 August, 2010

THE ROSE OF TRALEE is one of Ireland’s best known festivals.

Held annually, the festival attracts would-be Roses from Birmingham, Boston, Darwin, Dubai, France, London, Luxembourg, Newcastle, New York, New Orleans, New Zealand, Perth, Queensland, San Fransisco, Southern California, South Australia, Sydney, Texas and Toronto.

But the festival wasn’t always what it is today. here are five thing you might not have known about our Lovely Girls competition…

1. It use to be a tiny bit more exclusive

Today we’re used to winners hailing from as far away as Australia but originally, only women from the town of Tralee were eligible to compete.  Tralee has a population of just over 20,000 today so, in the early 1960s, the rules were extended to include any women from, wait for it…


Right. As much as we love Kerry, it’s a county with a whopping population of 140,000.

The organisers eventually gave up the ghost in 1967 and opened the competition to include any women of Irish birth or ancestry. Much better.

2. Singles night

As recently as 2007, only single women were allowed to participate in the Rose of Tralee. Was this because the contest was used as a nationwide, televised singles night? Or because, once married, women can no longer be considered “lovely and fair”?

Hmm, perhaps a desire to stay at least a mile from such questions at all times caused the organisers to relax this rule. They opened the contest to women wearing wedding rings three years ago.

3. Oops, just one more tweak…

A year later, they hastened to add that unmarried mothers could also be considered attractive, intelligent women. What a forward-thinking step for, er… 2008.

4. Surprise, surprise: it’s a tourist trap!

The Rose of Tralee owes its name to a poem penned by a wealthy (Protestant) William Pembroke Mulchinock for his family’s (Catholic) maid, Mary O’Connor in the 19th century.

Surprisingly, William and Mary’s relationship ended in tears – but the good news is that his poem became one of Ireland’s most famous ballads about beauty and lost love.

However, the festival has its origins in the (once annual) Carnival Queen event, which was forced to stop because of mass emigration. In the 1950s a group of businessmen, discussing how to bring some tourism to the town, remembered the old Carnival Queen event – and the ballad about Mary O’Connor. The Rose of Tralee festival was born.

5. A very Irish beauty contest

Although classified as a beauty contest, the Rose of Tralee does not actually score entrants on their physical appearance. In contrast to all other beauty pageants in the world, the festival has no swimsuit section.

Instead contestants are judged on their personalities – shocker – and the festival celebrates the “aspirations, ambitions, intellect, social responsibility and Irish heritage” of young Irish women.

Past Roses can boast such as achievements as:

  • Winning the Edward R. Murrow Award for journalism (Michele McCormack; 1985 Chicago Rose)
  • Becoming Executive Vice President of the New York Stock Exchange (Noreen M Culhane; 1970 New York Rose)
  • Graduating with a degree in theoretical physics (Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin; 2005 Mayo Rose)
  • Performing live in Carnegie Hall (Róisín Egenton; 2000 New York Rose).

# rose-of-tralee - Sunday 22 August, 2010

THE ROSE OF TRALEE is a strange beast – not quite a beauty pageant, but not quite anything else either.

As a competition to judge who is most “lovely and fair” – just as the song goes – doesn’t include a swimsuit contest, the annual competition in Tralee is a strange one amongst its peers.

Indeed, it seems its most appropriate that the contest was lampooned by Father Ted as the Lovely Girls contest – as it appears the ideal Rose of Tralee is simply the loveliest girl taking part.

Here, though, is a pick of some of the other strange beauty pageants we found, that make our own Rose look a little more traditional.

Miss Jumbo Queen
A Thai contest for the more weighty woman. Enough said?

Miss Senior Sweetheart
A quite sweet competition really, the Miss Senior Sweetheart is open to women aged 59 and over, and ranks them based on… well, we’re not quite sure what. It’s probably not how good their cooking is, we can guess that much.

Miss Pregnant
It does exactly what it says on the tin. In this case, we imagine, you can probably only really enter once.

Miss Landmine
Now here’s a genuinely nice contest. This Angolan contest rewards those who have overcome the loss of a limb through landlines, and intends to challenge the traditional notion of beauty.

Taking some of the nice sheen off it, however, the winner gets a high-tech prosthetic limb – suggesting that the loss of a limb isn’t really something to be embraced.

Miss HIV Stigma Free
On a similar theme, this competition judges based on the dignity with which AIDS victims have coped with their conditions. This winner, Cynthia Leshomo, who won the contest in 2005, died three months after her victory.

Miss Tiffany
Finally, the contest of the Loveliest Girls who weren’t born girls at all. This Thai contest (what is it about Thailand?) rewards those who embody the more traditional values of a beauty contest – the obligatory talent show, the swimsuit rounds, etc etc.

The only thing is that all the contestants aren’t, in fact, Lovely Girls at all: they’re ladyboys.

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