Dáithí sings the praises of Britain's Roses as they arrive in Portlaoise
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Dáithí sings the praises of Britain's Roses as they arrive in Portlaoise

TV’s Dáithí Ó’Sé is set to roll out the red carpet for Britain’s Roses in Ireland this weekend. 

As eight hopefuls arrive on the other side of the pond today for the Rose of Tralee Regional Festival, host Dáithí had nothing but praise for our girls.

“It’s great to see such a strong presence from across the Irish Sea,” he said.

“There is a vibrant Irish community throughout Great Britain and it’s fitting that their representation in the Rose of Tralee has returned to a strong level.”

Roses from Birmingham, Derby, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Nottingham and Scotland are in Co. Laois this weekend for the Regional Festival.

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They join over 50 others from Ireland and around the world, with 23 being selected to go forward to the International Festival in Tralee in August.

Dáithí will interview each of the Roses over the next three nights at the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel, where the weekend’s entertainment will also include a vintage car parade, funfair, street disco and a visit to the magnificent Castle Durrow.

“All eight Roses will have a wonderful time and their families and friends will return home feeling very proud,” the presenter said.

Profiles of Britain's Roses

1 Birmingham

Rhona McGarvey, 22

• From Myshall in Co. Carlow

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• Head of Performing Arts at Perry Beeches Academy

• Studying for an MA in Education

• Plays tin whistle, classical flute and guitar

2 Derby

Aoife Broderick, 22

• Derby-born with roots in Balla, Co. Mayo and Athenry, Co. Galway

• Studying for a Masters in Real Estate at the University of Reading

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• Cooked dinner for 40 homeless people in Reading last Christmas

3 Liverpool

Niamh Johnston, 26

• A teacher

• Originally from Cork

• Passionate about sport — captained Riverstown FC to victory in Turner’s Cross

• Member of Liverpool Wolftones

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4 London

Saoirse Faughnan, 24

• Secondary teacher in Harlow, Essex

• Grew up in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

• Passionate about keeping the Irish language alive

• Has taught Irish in London

5 Manchester

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Mairead Hussey, 20

• Has an advanced level apprenticeship in young people’s social care

• Plans to become a primary school teacher

• Irish roots in Galway and Mayo

• Won the All-Ireland tin whistle competition at 14

• Member of Irish traditional band Shake the Barley

6 Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

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Carmel Clarke, 24

• Manchester-born but moved to Ireland aged two

• Family from Galway and Mayo

• Secondary teacher in Darlington

• Irish dances with the Purcell D’Arcy Academy in Co. Meath, completes teaching exams next year

7 Nottingham

Claire Regan, 27

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• Roots in Tipperary

• Mum was the 1977 Nottingham Rose

• Joined Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance at 18

• Performed at Buckingham Palace for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall

• Qualified personal trainer and fitness instructor, owner of Fitjig

8 Scotland

Michelle Kelly, 23

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• From Killeeshil in Co. Tyrone

• Auditor in the PwC Edinburgh office

• Spent six weeks in South Africa as a charity volunteer with Friends of Africa

• Passionate about Gaelic football, music, and travelling

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