American to serenade 'Rose of Tralee' winner
Published 10/08/2011 | 05:00
THE 'Rose of Tralee' will be sung by an American for the first time when the winner of the festival is chosen later this month.
Robert Mizzell, right, who grew up in Louisiana without ever hearing the song, has been selected to serenade the 52nd winner on August 23.
Mizzell (40) has been singing country music in Ireland for almost 20 years and lives in Ballinagore, Co Westmeath.
He is one of the Three Amigos -- and both his fellow singers have previously performed at the festival finale.
The song was written by Tralee-based William Mulchinock, son of a wealthy merchant in the famine years. He wrote the song in 1840 for Mary O'Connor, his family's servant girl, with whom he had fallen in love.
He proposed marriage but Mary refused, knowing his family wouldn't allow him to marry a Catholic girl.
Mulchinock later fled to India, falsely accused of the murder of a local.
When he returned to Tralee years later he inquired in his local bar on a passing funeral. According to local legend he was told it was Mary, who had died of TB.