Westmeath Rose stands proud for her county

The 2011 Westmeath Rose will be using her title to make a difference to charities in her beloved home county.

It was a surprise to many that Teresa Donohoe of Mount Temple wasn’t chosen last weekend as one of the seven Irish Roses to go forward to the international finals in Tralee in August.

However, following encouragement from Claire Kambamettu, the current Rose of Tralee, she has already been in touch with the Jack and Jill Foundation and is planning a fundraiser in Athlone.

“I don’t want to let it go to waste,” says the 22-year-old. “It’s not every day you get an opportunity to represent your county and make a difference.”

Her on-stage interview with Daithi O’Sé on Sunday night was a tour de force, enjoyed especially by a bus load of Westmeath family and friends who travelled to Portlaoise to support her.

In a stunning gown from Design It, Athlone, she chatted and laughed with her host and spoke about her passion for Irish Music and Dance, the course she has just finished in Limerick.

As a party piece she danced on increasingly small movable stages until the final stage was just the size of a shoe-box, providing a thrilling conclusion to the night’s interviews.

She even had Daithí ‘playing’ the bodhrán and says he couldn’t have been nicer, on and off stage.

It was a difficult weekend for Teresa whose grandmother passed away on Thursday, just as the Roses from Ireland, England, the USA and the rest of the world were gathering in Portlaoise.

She wasn’t able to attend the funeral on Sunday because her group interview with judges was taking place but travelled up and down to Westmeath on Friday and Saturday to be with family for the wake and removal.

“It was a little bit tough,” she says, especially on Sunday, but says her fellow Roses, the committee and even the judges were “brilliant”.

Teresa has made life-long friends and can’t speak highly enough of her Rose experience.

“It wasn’t like a competition at all – everyone was supporting everyone and we were so proud to see each other do well on stage.”

“The organisers and committee were absolutely amazing and would do anything for you – we were treated like royalty,” she enthuses and says she will be recruiting her friends to enter next year.

“It was like a mini Rose of Tralee for us, with 51 Roses there,” she says and has already made plans to go to Tralee for the finals where she’ll be supporting the Roscommon Rose Róisín Guihen.

She also compliments the Westmeath committee for their support, Design It and Charlene McCaffrey who sponsored her interview dress.

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