Waterford Rose Kirsten Mate Maher crowned Rose of Tralee 2018

Waterford Rose Kirsten Mate Maher crowned Rose of Tralee 2018

THE winner of the 2018 Rose of Tralee was announced in a ceremony in Kerry last night.

After two days of pageantry, bizarre talents and buzz, the 2018 Rose of Tralee was crowned at the Dome in Tralee.

Host Daithi O Se opened the all important envelope to reveal that 21-year-old student and part-time model Kirsten Mate Maher was this year's winner.

The Waterford Rose impressed everyone on Monday night, singing a beautiful rendition of the Nina Simone classic 'Feelin' Good.'

Kirsten was the joint favourite along with the Carlow Rose Shauna Ray Lacey.

Speaking to Daithi, she heaped praise on her fellow contestants, describing them as "the most amazing women".

She broke down in tears on stage where she was joined by her father, Kwalo, who hails from Zambia, and her mother, Jacinta, who is from Waterford.

Ms Maher currently works in a boutique in Tramore, Co Waterford. On Monday she was notified that she had been accepted on to a course at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT)to study Multimedia and Application Development.

“I certainly did not think it would be me. I haven’t clicked any buttons yet. I might have to click on the defer button,” she said.

As she left to savour her win, Kirsten said she wanted to "bring happiness to everyone and have a laugh".

"Help out and raise money for much-needed charities like Pieta House," she added, "who I've chosen as my charity for the year and who I raised money for early on in the year."

She took to Instagram this morning to reflect on her win.

What just HAPPENED. I am stunned.. It is hard to describe how I feel this morning but I am bursting with pride. To my 56 Rose Sisters all I can say is I love each and every one of you. You truly are a fantastic bunch of women. You have all done yourselves, familys, friends and Counties/Countries/Cities proud. We have all gotten to know each other so well, each and everyone of you has inspired me in some sort of way. I am incredibly proud to represent the Class of 2018 ❤ @jenny_b_5 You've given me big (sparkly) shoes to fill over the next year. You're an inspiration to us all. Beautiful inside and out thank you for being such an amazing role model. To my Rose Centre, family, friends my amazing boyfriend @cian.omahony to the entire team of volenteers that make the festival happen each year, to the people of Waterford and the fantastic and welcoming people of Kerry THANK YOU. I hope I do you all proud. This experience has been magical for all 57 of us Roses and our families. Bring on the year ahead #justbesound

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