Ten things we learned from this year's Rose of Tralee
On Monday night, RTE viewers saw how 65 rose contestants were whittled down to 32 after a gruelling week-long schedule, during which they were asked some tough questions by the judging panel. The Road to the Dome gave a birds-eye view of the festival, and the heartbreak and laughs the girls shared along the way. Here are ten things we learned from The Road To The Dome.
The X Factor-style cull was tough
"The initial impact of being told that you're not going through is a bit of a shock. You are upset about it," said Dublin Rose Lorna Whyte.
"It's very much like my big fall on stage, you get back up, that's all" said one tearful rose.
'Feet Tea' is a thing
New Zealand Rose Hannah Greally reckons she has unlocked a secret beauty treatment.
When your feet ache, fill your bath with hot water. Throw in a few peppermint tea bags. Allow to brew. Hey presto. Feet tea. Bathe to your feet's content.
The Rose of Tralee is NOT a beauty pageant
A mix of "confidence" and "stamina" is what they're looking for, says overseas judge Gerri O'Grady Finn. Authenticity and "a good, warm person" are the makings of the Rose of Tralee.
"This is categorically not a beauty pageant," she stressed. "We're really looking for someone who can bring their own personality to the title."
The autographs are like gold dust
Rose of Tralee fan Debra O'Connor told The Road to the Dome: "I wanted to get here as early as possible so I could get all the autographs of all the Roses," as she raced around the streets of Tralee with her brother in search of those precious signatures.
When things go wrong...
Bring out your mega-watt smile.
"If I trip it's not the end of the world," Boston and New England Rose Grace Schiller said ahead of her party piece for the first-round interviews in Tralee.
When she did actually fall on stage, there was only one thing she could do...
"She had a little bit of a slip on stage. She just picked herself up. She put on that mega-watt smile and everyone was just completely behind her," commended judge Gerri O'Grady Finn.
Roses are given the "Queen treatment"
Prosecco on arrival, chocolates on a platter, and chaperones to look after them. The Roses get it all.
"This is Queen treatment, and all 65 of us get it, it's insane" giggled New Foundland Rose Anna Murphy.
"Everyone is treating us like Royalty, and we're apologising for it because we're just not used to it," adds the Dublin Rose Lorna Whyte.
But they're also asked some tough questions
Take a look at these...
"1916-2016. Time for a United Ireland?"
"Should abortion be legalised in Ireland and if so, in what circumstances."
"Ireland has accepted only a fraction of the refugees that we pledged to. Should we be doing more?"
Roses get precious little shut-eye...
So they grab it where they can
They don't make hats in the US like they do here...
"In the States, we just can't get these anywhere, especially the way you make them yourself. Wow, they're so good," said New Orleans Rose Shannon Burke. "I feel like I could conquer the world," she declared.
People are saying "what's the craic"?
"It's a drug, don't do it," warns North Carolina Rose Maigan Kennedy.