The Roses of Tralee: Meet all 59 women who have won Ireland's biggest prize over the years
Entertainment

The Roses of Tralee: Meet all 59 women who have won Ireland's biggest prize over the years

SINCE it began in 1959, the Rose of Tralee International Festival has become about as quintessentially Irish as bad weather, good Guinness and Mass on a Sunday.

The Festival takes its inspiration from a 19th-century ballad of the same name about a woman called Mary, who because of her beauty was crowned the 'Rose' of Tralee in Co. Kerry - where the event is held each August.

The idea behind the beauty contest itself came when a group of local business people met in Harty's bar to brainstorm how to bring more tourists to the town and to encourage expats to return to their native Tralee.

The event started in 1959 on a budget of just £750 and since then, some 59 Irish women located around the world have been crowned the Rose of Tralee.

The Festival has gone through a number of changes but one thing is for sure, it still lights up the public imagination each and every year.

Advertisement

To celebrate this year's Rose of Tralee, we look back at the winning women of times gone by...

1959: Alice O'Sullivan - Dublin

1960: Teresa Kenny - Chicago

1961: Josie Ruane - Cork

1962: Ciara O'Sullivan - Dublin

Advertisement

1963: Geraldine Fitzgerald (RIP) - Boston

1964: Margaret O'Keeffe (RIP) - Tralee

1965: Therese Gillespie - Belfast

Advertisement

1966: Lorraine Stollery - New Zealand

1967: Anne Foley - Birmingham

1968: Eileen Slattery - Clare

1969: Cathy Quinn - Dublin

Advertisement

1970: Kathy Welsh - Holyoke

1971: Linda McCravy - Miami

1972: Claire Dubendorfer - Switzerland

Advertisement

1973: Veronica McCambridge - Belfast

1974: Maggie Flaherty - New York

1975: Maureen Shannon - London

1976: Marie Soden - New York

Advertisement

1977: Orla Burke - Waterford

1978: Liz Shovlin - Pennsylvania

1979: Marita Marron - Belfast

Advertisement

1980: Sheila O'Hanrahan - Galway

1981: Debbie Carey - Birmingham

1982: Laura Gainey - Peterborough

1983: Brenda Hyland - Kildare

Advertisement

1984: Diane Hannagan - Limerick

1985: Helena Rafferty - Boston

1986: Noreen Cassidy - Leeds

Advertisement

1987: Larna Canoy - Chicago

1988: Maryanne Murphy - New Zealand

1989: Sinead Boyle - Dublin

1990: Julia Dawson - Germany

Advertisement

1991: Denise Murphy - Cork

1992: Niamh Grogan - Galway

1993: Kirsty Flynn - Midlands, UK

Advertisement

1994: Muirne Hurley - Limerick

1995: Nyomi Horgan - Perth

1996: Coleen Mooney - Toronto

1997: Sinead Lonergan - France

Advertisement

1998: Luzveminda O'Sulligan - Galway

1999: Geraldine O'Grady - Cork

2000: Roisin Ryane Egenton - New York

Advertisement

2001: Lisa Manning - Perth

2002: Tamara Gervasoni - Italy

2003: Orla Tobin - Dublin

2004: Orla O'Shea - Kilkenny

Advertisement

2005: Aoibheann Ni Shuilleabhainn - Mayo

2006: Kathryn Feeney - Queensland

2007: Lisa Murtagh - New York

Advertisement

2008: Aoife Kelly - Tipperary

2009: Charmaine Kenny - London

2010: Clare Kambamettu - London

2011: Tara Talbot - Queensland

Advertisement

2012: Nicola McEvoy - Luxemborg

2013: Haley O’Sullivan - Texas

2014: Maria Walsh - Philadelphia

Advertisement

2015: Elysha Brennan - Meath

2016: Maggie McEldowney - Chicago

2017: Dr Jennifer Byrne - Offaly