New Rose to buck trend and leave Down Under for Ireland
SHE'S got very big shoes to fill, but the new Rose of Tralee is hoping they won't be high heels.
The first thing Tara Talbot plans to do to celebrate her win is to kick off her stilettos and give her feet a break.
But she won't have the chance to do that just yet.
Having survived on just two hours' sleep, the new Rose was up early yesterday to slip on more fancy footwear ahead of a packed schedule on the first day of her new job.
While there has been a 30pc jump in the number of Irish travelling to her home in Queensland, the new Rose will buck the trend and relocate here.
She said she would miss her parents Carmencita and Ron, but she was looking forward to spending time with her granddad Jack Talbot (92) in Dublin.
But he won't be the only Dublin man in her life.
The secondary school teacher is also looking forward to having her boyfriend Fionnan Henry by her side and to being able to devote time to human rights, a subject she said she's passionate about.
"It's so rewarding and that's what led me to change my path from teaching to a career in communications where I could convey that passion," she said.
"I'd also love to travel to the the Philippines. I don't know if that's possible but I'm looking forward to working with any charity that is chosen."
News of Tara's achievement has already reached the Philippines via her mother, who was immediately on the phone to relatives yesterday.
"I was telling my sister and she was very happy. I had explained to her what the Rose of Tralee was about," Mrs Talbot told the Irish Independent.
Meanwhile, the country's leading bookmaker has denied there was anything untoward about betting patterns in this year's contest.
Paddy Power had to shell out €50,000 to punters who backed the Queensland Rose. Tara was odds-on favourite since Monday, the day before the winner was announced.
Ladbrokes reported its busiest Rose
of Tralee ever and its best "novelty market", although it declined to reveal how much it had to pay out.
Paddy Power was accepting bets online right up until the envelope was opened in The Dome on Tuesday night and saw a surge of betting for a number of contenders, based entirely on how they had performed on stage.
Spokesperson Sharon McHugh said if she had to call it late on Tuesday night it would have been between the Queensland Rose, Wexford's Mary Kehoe and Dublin Rose Siobheal Nic Eochaigh, whose hip-hop dance routine made viewers sit up and take notice.
"Dublin was probably the one most people were talking about as she came in from 20/1 to 3/1 to 9/4 after her appearance on stage," she said.
"And in the space of half an hour the Wexford Rose went from 14/1 in as short as 5/2."