Rose of Tralee organisers have banned one party piece this year...
Published 17/08/2016 | 02:30
It is a move that will shock a nation of TV viewers raised on the sight of aspiring young Roses reeling off lines of verse.
The organisers of the Rose of Tralee have decided to ban poetry recitals from the 2016 competition.
Rose of Tralee spokesperson John Drummey said the decision had been made in a bid to ensure the competition remained "modern" and "fast moving".
Instead, organisers are encouraging Roses to showcase other, livelier talents such as hula-hooping, kick boxing and even preparing breakfast rolls.
Mr Drummey insisted the Rose of Tralee had "nothing against poetry or the creative skills of our Roses who like to write their own poems".
Organisers simply believe ditching the poems will increase the pace of the show.
Mr Drummey added that poetry had a place in the contest in the "olden days" when "poems were seen as a form of entertainment before all the modern entertainment we now see".
Yesterday, host Dáithí Ó Sé joined the 65 hopeful Roses in RTÉ to launch the 57th annual competition.
At 18 years old, Emma Kirwan from Offaly is the youngest Rose.
Kirwan will receive her Leaving Cert results this morning and hopes to studying aeronautical engineering in either University Limerick or Carlow IT. "I am really nervous, but at the same time - school is school," she said. "It's over and done and there is not that much I can do about it now."
"I have the Rose of Tralee and then my debs so I'm getting used to getting dressed up," she said.
Many of the Roses believe the contest is all about female empowerment.
"It's a celebration of Irish culture and heritage and strong smart women," London Rose Emma Murphy O'Connor said.
Emma works in a law firm in the UK and said her passion for court drama had been ignited when she attended the Sharon Collins hitman trial as a work experience student.
For the first time ever, all 65 Roses who made it through the regional finals will travel to the festival dome in Tralee for the qualifying selections.
The final 32 will feature on the live broadcasts on Monday 22 and Tuesday 23 on RTÉ One. Ó Sé said he was delighted to helm the show for the seventh year running.