BRITAIN’S four Roses will come face to face with their escorts this evening when all 23 girls competing to be crowned the Rose of Tralee 2014 arrive in Limerick.
The competition hopefuls have enjoyed an action-filled week in Ireland, visiting Dublin, Roscommon and Leitrim before spending today in Westmeath, ahead of the Rose of Tralee Festival which begins tomorrow.
Michelle Kelly (Scotland), Máiréad Hussey (Manchester), Aoife Broderick (Derby), and Claire Regan (Nottingham) are the British hopefuls taking part in the much anticipated festival, which runs from August 15-19.
Derby Rose Aoife Broderick (22) who is studying for a Masters in Real Estate at the University of Reading told The Irish Post how much of a whirlwind the competition has been.
“My organisational skills have been tested to the limit but we’re in good hands,” she said.
“Today’s slightly more relaxed and all the girls are thrilled about meeting the escorts this evening. It’s been very busy but we’ll sleep when it’s over.”
It’s fair to say the Roses have had a busy schedule this week.
After travelling to Athlone today, to meet representatives from the Westmeath Rose centre, they continued their journey further to Limerick.
Luckily Scotland’s Rose Michelle Kelly is ‘thrilled’ by the experience.
The 23-year-old, who works as an auditor with PwC and is originally from Tyrone, told The Irish Post that it has always been her dream to take part in the event.
“We used to always watch the Rose of Tralee as I’ve got three sisters who absolutely love it. So since we were young we were always saying ‘I want to be in the Rose of Tralee’,” she said.
“I always thought I’d try and be the Tyrone rose then I moved to Edinburgh for university. I’ve been living there on and off for the last four years so I just applied this year.”
Tomorrow the Roses will finally arrive in Tralee and meet their Rose Buds, something Manchester Rose Máiréad Hussey cannot wait for.
She recently gained an advanced level apprenticeship in children and young people's social care, and the 20-year-old, whose grandparents hail from Galway and Mayo, can’t wait to meet all the young girls who will also take part in the festival.
“It’s going to be so cute I can’t wait to see them all,” she said.
Nottingham Rose Claire Regan (27), a personal trainer and fitness instructor, is following in her mother’s and aunt’s footsteps in becoming a Rose and is hoping to impress the judges with her Irish dancing.
Claire owns her own Irish dance and fitness company, which takes her around Ireland, Britain and America.
Today the entrepreneur revealed that she has already enjoyed her stay in Ireland so much that she won’t want to leave.
“It’s brilliant, it’s such an amazing experience getting to tour Ireland and see family we haven’t seen in ages,” she said.
“The welcome we’ve got from everybody, in every town we’ve been to, it’s just been incredible. We feel like were celebrities, it’s been amazing and we don’t want to leave.”
The televised Rose Selections will be on RTÉ One on Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th at 8pm each night