Shrule native Maria Walsh has been selected as one of the 23 Roses who will compete in this year’s Rose of Tralee festival in front of a television audience of more than one million people and 2,000 spectators in the famed Festival Dome.
Ms Walsh won out at the regional finals last weekend in Athlone where 60 Roses from all over the world and across Ireland vyed for a place on stage with Daith O Se this August.
She will represent Philadelphia in the competition, where she has lived since 2010.
Ms Walsh is the daugther of Vincent and Noreen Walsh. She works in the fashion industry as a studio manager in Philadelphia.
She said she had a nervous wait to hear if she had made it through to the final stages of the competition and when her name was announced her family and supporters were thrilled.
“I was one of the last on the list [to be announced] so it was edge of your seat, waiting for the cliffhanger but I’m delighted,” said Ms Walsh after finding out she had made it through. “I’m so delighted I get to represent my city of Philadelphia and my family in Shrule and Boston.”
Ms Walsh said her progress in the competition has garnered an international following through social media when supporters in Philadelphia, a brother in L.A. and a sister in Australia all tuned in last weekend to get news of the competition outcome.
“There has been great support,” she added. “It’s a great feeling.”
This year’s Rose of Tralee festival takes place from August 15 to 19.