Who doesn’t love a rose? They are colourful, delicate, if not a little prickly.
Roses were in full bloom in Mayo this week and no, it wasn’t the floral type. It was the 32 Rose of Tralee candidates who visited Westport on their tour of Ireland.
Mayo eyes were firmly fixed on our own contender, Dervla Kenny from Ballyvary. This occupational therapist has all the credentials to be crowned the 2012 Rose of Tralee, and a betting person would be well advised to put a few bob on her.
Dervla is an occupational therapist at the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Dun Laoghaire, where she works in the Acquired and Traumatic Brain Injury Programme, and previously worked in Wales in the area of spinal cord injury rehabilitation.
The 26-year-old has taken part in many charity events, including the Cardiff half marathon for the RSPCA, the Ring of Kerry Cycle, Pieta House Darkness into the Light, the Mayo Pink Ribbon Cycle, and she has volunteered with AbilityWest while living in Galway. Dervla has travelled to Calcutta with Irish NGO SUAS teaching English, and recently went backpacking with her mother around Vietnam and Cambodia.
And that is just a snapshot into her achievements to date.
This girl knows what it is to win and was beside her uncle and Godfather’s side when he last won a seat in the general election before being named Taoiseach of Ireland. He doesn’t need any introductions.
But she is in this contest on her own merits. Having being entered by her sister Deirdre, who obviously realised her little sis ticked all the rose boxes, she is the bookies’ third favourite to take the title.
Should she do it she will be only the second Mayo Rose to win the Rose of Tralee, following in the footsteps of Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhan who has carved out a very successful media career for herself since winning.
When Luzveminda O'Sullivan won she was the Galway Rose as the structure of the competition was different in those days and the Mayo Rose progressed to the Galway Rose final before hitting for Tralee. And Mayo’s third rose, Marita Staunton, represented Belfast in 1979 when she took the title.
But back to today. Having left Westport and made the acquaintances of their respective escorts, the 32 Roses are now back ‘home’ in Kerry, enjoying all the trappings of the Rose of Tralee Festival and eagerly awaiting the commencement of the competition.
RTÉ will broadcast the International Rose of Tralee selection live from the Festival Dome from 8pm on Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 August on RTÉ One.
This week more than 1,500 Leaving Cert students in Mayo picked up their exam results, five or six years of hard work culminated in a sheet of paper marked with a series of results which will determine the course they pursue in third level — if that’s their choice.
However, students should bear in mind that the Leaving Cert is not the only route to their career of choice. If someone finds on Monday when the CAO offers are released that they did not get their first choice, the world will not stop turning. If you are determined enough to follow a particular career path then you will find a way. Determination is the key. Don’t fall at the first hurdle. What’s more important is how you acquit yourself in the next phase of your life. It is important to communicate well, respect yourself and others, and work within the moral parameters you have set up for yourself.
If you are successful in obtaining your first choice course then a hearty congratulations and if you are going straight to work from school or starting an apprenticeship the best of luck to you from all at the Mayo Advertiser.