Rose of Tralee is about so much more than glitz
The Rose of Tralee has described her first four months in the role as "absolutely surreal" as she takes in a whirlwind of visits - and plenty of cups of tea.
Maggie McEldowney said since winning the competition "it has definitely surpassed anything I could ever have imagined".
"The heartfelt kindness of the Irish people just never gets old.
"Everyone just opens their doors and you can't leave without being given a cup of tea," she said.
The Chicago Rose has just celebrated her 28th birthday with a week-long tour of eight counties.
She visited Armagh, Derry, Donegal, Fermanagh, Tyrone, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth, as well as Dublin to promote the search for 2017 Roses.
Last summer's Rose of Tralee contest became controversial with the Down Rose claiming that contestants were "treated like animals in a circus" and were "manipulated for entertainment purposes".
But Ms McEldowney is happy that any concerns have been listened to by organisers and will be rectified for the next edition of the event.