'I was married to the sash before...now is my time to find love,' says Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh
Published 15/07/2015 | 09:03
Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh hasn't found love during her reign, saying she was "married to her crown and sash".
The Mayo native is nearing the end of her tenure as her replacement will be chosen on August 18.
When asked if there is anyone new in her life, she said: "This year I've been married to two things - my crown and my sash, and that's enough woman in my life for this year."
She previously said she's hoping romance is on the cards for her once she hands over the crown.
"Fingers crossed, there will be more (loves) . . . I really genuinely don't (get asked out)," she said.
"I think people just say, 'Ah well she's really busy.' Hopefully, maybe in September when I hand back the crown."
Maria is the first openly gay Rose of Tralee and said she didn't mind not being able to express her opinion during the marriage equality referendum.
"The festival is apolitical and as ambassador I have to respect that," she said.
"I remained apolitical throughout the entire year which I didn't mind but I took my grey areas when and if I could. I was in Australia for the month of May so I missed the buzz here but it was brilliant.
"Of course I want to get married in the country I was raised in," she added.
Despite having a hectic year travelling all across the globe, Maria says she will miss being the Rose.
"It's going to be sad. I will miss it because since last August this has been all day every day - it's been part of mine and my family's life," she told the Anton Savage Show on Today FM.
"You're constantly meeting people so it's going to be bittersweet but I'm excited to see how the 2015 Rose creates and shapes the year for her. You do so much more than stand on stage, people presume it's just those two nights on TV but it's so much more than that," she added.
Maria has been juggling her responsibilities here with work in Philadelphia but has taken the summer off to spend time in Ireland.
"Work have been great, up until the start of June I was working as much as I could and flying over and back," she said. "But I took these three months off so that I could really immerse myself in everything that's going on here and really just have the craic for the last few weeks."