Saturday 21 October 2017

Kirsty Blake Knox: Thorny comments about Roses giving their opinions hark back to bygone era

OffalyRose Jennifer Byrne who was crowned as the 2017 International Rose of Tralee at the Festival in Tralee Co Kerry.
Pic Steve Humphreys
22nd August 2017
OffalyRose Jennifer Byrne who was crowned as the 2017 International Rose of Tralee at the Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Some of the Roses on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry was Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Presenter Daithi O'Se at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Queensland Rose Ellen McCready having her make up applied at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Fermanagh Rose Stephanie Maguire Jiving with singer Derek Ryan at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Presenter Daithi O'Se at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
South Carolina Rose Ellerslie McCue speaking to Presenter Daithi O'Se at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry was Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Business Consultant Thomas Lynch from Kerry is congratulated by his Mum Ellen after he was named Escort of the Year at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Business Consultant Thomas Lynch from Kerry who was named Escort of the Year at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Some of the Escorts at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Fermanagh Rose Stephanie Maguire Jiving with singer Derek Ryan at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Business Consultant Thomas Lynch from Kerry who was named Escort of the Year at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Sydney Rose Ailish Walsh playing the Flute on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Daithi O'Se on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Daithi O'Se on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Southern California Rose Claire McManamon on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Kildare Rose Deirbhle Mulvihill playing the tin whistle on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Western Canada Rose SInéad McGahern Irish Dancing on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Western Canada Rose SInéad McGahern Irish Dancing on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Sydney Rose Ailish Walsh playing the Flute on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Abu Dhabi Rose Niamh Kelly on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Cheering on the Roses at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Kildare Rose Deirbhle Mulvihill playing the tin whistle on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Kildare Rose Deirbhle Mulvihill playing the tin whistle on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
The Roses at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
San Francisco Rose Amanda Donohoe chatting with Dathi O'Se at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Offaly Rose Jennifer Byrne Irish Dancing at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Kentucky Rose Martha Mortell boxing with Dathi O'Se at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Melbourne Rose SInead Ryan singing at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Chicago Rose Teresa Daly gives presenter Dathi O'Se the Taste Test at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Hong Kong Rose Clarissa Langley Coleman chatting with Dathi O'Se at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Louth Rose Aoife Heffron chatting with Dathi O'Se at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Toronto Rose Colombe Nadeau-O'Shea performing a limbo with Daithi O'Se at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Donegal Rose Amy Callaghan performing on an Aerial Hoop at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Donegal Rose Amy Callaghan chats with Daithi O'Se at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Donegal Rose Amy Callaghan with Daithi O'Se at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Toronto Rose Colombe Nadeau-O'Shea performing a limbo at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Westmesth Rose Eva Cooney with a puppet of Daithi O'Se at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Westmesth Rose Eva Cooney with a puppet of Daithi O'Se at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Darwin Rose Rochelle Blake gets Daithi O'Se to try his hand with a whip at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Darwin Rose Rochelle Blake gets Daithi O'Se to try his hand with a whip at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Limerick Rose Kayleigh Maher with presenter Daithi O'Se at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 21st August 2017
Kildare Rose Deirbhle Mulvihill playing the tin whistle on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Kildare Rose Deirbhle Mulvihill playing the tin whistle on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
The Roses at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Western Canada Rose SInéad McGahern Irish Dancing on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Western Canada Rose SInéad McGahern Irish Dancing on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Sydney Rose Ailish Walsh playing the Flute on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Abu Dhabi Rose Niamh Kelly on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Cheering on the Roses at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Texas Rose Lydian Lawler Lopez singing Spanish Song ‘Como La Flor’ on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Sydney Rose Ailish Walsh playing the Flute on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Daithi O'Se on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Daithi O'Se on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Southern California Rose Claire McManamon on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Kildare Rose Deirbhle Mulvihill playing the tin whistle on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Waterford Rose Chloe McGrath singing ‘On My Own’ from Les Miserables on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Waterford Rose Chloe McGrath singing ‘On My Own’ from Les Miserables on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Florida Rose Elizabeth Marince on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Florida Rose Elizabeth Marince on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Galway Rose Niamh Elwood performing First Aid on Daithi O’Se on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Galway Rose Niamh Elwood performing First Aid on Daithi O’Se on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Dublin Rose Maria Coughlan on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Dublin Rose Maria Coughlan on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Offaly Rose Jennifer Byrne who was crowned as the 2017 International Rose of Tralee at the Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
OffalyRose Jennifer Byrne who was crowned as the 2017 International Rose of Tralee at the Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Offaly Rose Jennifer Byrne who was crowned as the 2017 International Rose of Tralee at the Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017
Offaly Rose Jennifer Byrne who was crowned as the 2017 International Rose of Tralee at the Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys 22nd August 2017

Kirsty Blake Knox in Tralee

Novelty acts can be distracting. Fun? Yes - and 99pc of the reason we tune in to the Rose of Tralee year after year. But distracting nonetheless.

Amid all the limbo dancing, onion eating, and aerial acrobats, it's easy to forget that the 2017 Roses discussed issues including global terrorism, domestic violence, overcoming physical illness, coping with bereavement, mental health struggles and the death of baby Charlie Gard.

Donegal Rose Amy Callaghan received praise for speaking eloquently about dealing with anxiety in the run-up to school exams.

There were controversial viewpoints - such as when the Kentucky Rose Martha Mortell spoke about the US military: "I don't think Irish neutrality is the reason why we are free, it's because of America and their military."

We also heard about the Fermanagh Rose's PhD studies which chart the problems of domestic violence. "It's a taboo subject in Ireland," said Stephanie Maguire.

We were presented with a group of women who were willing to express their opinions and discuss issues that 10 or 15 years ago would never have been allocated air time in the Dome.

So it was jarring when the 2016 Rose of Tralee Maggie McEldowney said it was "selfish" for Roses to discuss controversial or political issues. Her comments were made in relation to 2016 Sydney Rose Brianna Parkins' call to repeal the Eighth Amendment last year.

"If every single one of us got up there with their own political [views], it would be a mud-slinging contest and that is not what it's about," she said. "It's about building women up, it's not about bringing each other down or contradicting theories or statistics."

'Mud-slinging' and having an opinion are very different things. But Maggie seems to believe that once you are a 'Rose Sister', you must park personal opinions and adopt a sort of inoffensive and trite sense of wholesome goodness. Her comments seemed at odds with what the festival stands for now.

All the most memorable Roses have been outspoken and unafraid to voice their opinions and beliefs.

Her comments seem to date back to a different era of the festival. One that hobbles rather than enhances it.

Irish Independent

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