Celebrations were getting under way in Rosemount village yesterday to mark local woman Rachel Duffy’s historic win at the 2022 Rose of Tralee on Tuesday night. Ms Duffy is the first Westmeath Rose to win the competition in its 63-year history.
Ms Duffy, 24, was presented with her sash by the 2019 Rose of Tralee Dr Sinead Flanagan on Tuesday night in the first festival in three years.
RTÉ’s Dáithí Ó Sé made the announcement live from Kerry Sports Academy at MTU to local and global audiences following two sensational TV nights. Over the course of both nights, viewers tuned in from countries including Turkey, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia.
A native of Rosemount, Rachel Duffy graduated from NUIG with an undergraduate degree in drama, theatre and performance studies and Spanish last year. She is currently working in P Egan’s Traditional Irish Bar in Moate, and plans to return to university to complete a master’s degree to be a Spanish and English teacher.
The celebrations were instant as Rachel was whisked away to the streets of Tralee, where she was presented to the town and serenaded by Alan Teahan in front of the thousands of people that have lined out for the Midnight Madness fireworks display.
Following the announcement, the new Rose of Tralee said she was “in total shock” over her win.
“I’m pinching myself now wondering if it just happened,” she said. “Having all the Roses around me made it so much more special. I’m so grateful for this honour; it was such an honour to represent my community and my county, and now to be the Rose of Tralee is just unbelievable.
“I never anticipated ending up here, I’m looking forward to the memories I’m going to make,” she added. “If the last two weeks are anything to go on I know I’m going to make memories to last a lifetime.”
As the 2022 Rose of Tralee, Rachel Duffy will enjoy an extensive prize package including exquisite ranges from Tipperary Crystal’s 2022 jewellery collection, and exclusively designed trophy, a new KIA Niro Plug-In Hybrid EV courtesy of McElligott’s Tralee for the next year, hair styling by Sean Taaffe Hair & Beauty during the year of her reign, ‘home away from home’ complimentary accommodation at the four star Meadowlands Hotel throughout the year, a week-long adventure break from Kerry County Council, taking in all that The Kingdom has to offer, and a world travel prize valued at €25,000.
A total of 33 international Roses from communities across Ireland and around the world took part in the 61st Rose of Tralee International Festival, which began last Friday.