Daithi jumps for joy in wild Rose run
IT'S that time of year again when the Roses are in full bloom.
Thirty-two Rose of Tralee hopefuls, representing Tipperary to Texas to Toronto, were unveiled yesterday as the countdown to the competition began.
For many of the Roses living abroad a trip to Ireland is a chance to catch up with seldom seen family members. However, for one Rose, the trip home means more to her than most.
Sydney Rose Caroline Harney is the niece of legendary Roscommon footballer and former Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Dermot Earley, who passed away June last year after being ill for several months.
Ms Harney's mum Denise is the well-known GAA player's sister.
"When he passed away it was very difficult for the family and she really longed for home," Ms Harney said. "So it's a really big deal for us all to get together. My mum, my dad and my sister just arrived."
Meanwhile, local entrant Kerry Rose Sile Ni Dheargain kept her part in the competition a secret.
"There was no real reason to tell anyone, I mean it is such a big competition and I didn't want a fuss. I didn't know what to expect or how it was going to turn out."
She eventually told her mother she was almost through to compete when a newspaper ran a story on her participation.
She said now the secret is out, the support is huge.
"There are banners everywhere and people forever congratulating me. It's absolutely fabulous."
Washington DC Rose Dorothy Henggeler studied communications at Virginia Tech in the US where, in 2007, 32 students were murdered in a school massacre.
She was studying abroad in Florence at the time as part of her degree but travelled home that week to be with her schoolmates.
"It's one of those events that change your perspective on life. We live for the 32; there were 32 victims in the shooting. And that's something I'll take with me forever," she said.
Daithi O Se is on his second year presenting the competition and said this year's Roses were "great craic".
The Rose of Tralee International Festival takes place from August 19 to 23.