THE search for Ireland’s Rose of Tralee 2023 has officially begun – with host Daithí Ó Sé launching the annual competition from its Co. Kerry home.
The presenter was joined by 2022 Rose of Tralee Rachel Duffy and Rose Escort of the Year Shane McHugh to official launch the search for the 2023 International Rose of Tralee and Rose Escort of the Year.
The 2022 Kerry Rose, Éadaein O’Connell, from Glenderry, Co. Kerry, was also on hand to welcome Rachel Duffy back to the Kingdom and launch the search for this year's Roses today.
The launch event took place by the Rose of Tralee Statue by the Rose Garden in Tralee Town Park, County Kerry.
The statue is a tribute to the original Rose of Tralee, Mary O'Connor, along with her beloved, William Pembroke Mulchinock.
Speaking at the event, Ó Sé said: "We're here in Tralee today at the Rose Garden and you can't see any roses, no colour at all.
“If you come here in August, it will be full of colour, full of people and full of real Roses as well.”
He added: “We are launching the International Rose of Tralee Festival search for 2023 today here in Tralee and I'm absolutely delighted to be back home in my own county.
“We do have one real Rose here, however - and that's Rose of Tralee Rachel Duffy and if you'd like to be her, well get your entries in.
“We're going to have so much fun back here in Tralee in August. The streets are going to be full - full of colour, full of people and full of craic! I hope to see everyone there.”
Ms Duffy also spoke at the launch, where she encouraged anyone interested in taking part to join her this year.
"It’s great to be here launching the 2023 festival with Daithí - I have so many special memories here in Tralee and it has become a home away from home for me,” she said.
“The one thing I can say to any young woman interested is ‘go for it and apply!’
“The Rose of Tralee International Festival has truly been the most incredible experience so far and it's a brilliant opportunity to connect with other women and represent your community on a national stage.
“I am so grateful for all the lifelong friends and memories I have made on this journey. I wouldn’t change a thing,”
The 2023 Rose of Tralee International Festival will take place from August 18 – 22.
Over the coming months, Rose of Tralee Regional Selections will take place in towns and cities across Ireland, and all over the world. Every Rose that is selected to represent her county, city or country will enjoy a nationwide Rose Tour, showcasing attractions and communities right across Ireland; before arriving in Tralee for five fun-filled days of parades, gala functions, community events, entertainment, the televised Rose Selection nights and much more.
Applications to take part in the competition are now open here.