Monday 23 October 2017

Hong Kong to be represented in Rose of Tralee Festival for the first time

Rose of Tralee host Dáithí Ó Sé Picture: Frank McGrath
Rose of Tralee host Dáithí Ó Sé Picture: Frank McGrath

Kathleen O'Sullivan

Every year, those with Irish blood in them flock to Tralee from various parts of the globe to celebrate their non-forgotten roots. This year is no exception, with an extra addition amongst the usual bunch.

For the first time ever, a Hong Kong Rose will represent the region in Tralee at the 58th annual Rose of Tralee Festival in August.

Clarissa Langley Coleman was born in Hong Kong, raised in the US, Japan and Hong Kong, and has an Irish link of a grandmother in Co. Mayo. She was selected as the Hong Kong Rose following the work of a Tralee native to ensure the inclusion of a Rose from there in this year’s competition.

Marcus O’Connor, who is a son of one of the festivals original founders Florence O’Connor, organised the event that saw the Rose of Tralee being brought back to Asia.

Marcus, who is 21 and currently living in Hong Kong, said there is a great love for the festival in Asia and he is delighted to bring about its return and that he had full support of everyone in Ireland.

Speaking to Kerry’s Eye, Marcus said: "Seeing the affection and support that the Irish community has had for the Rose of Tralee competition in Hong Kong has made me proud of my late fathers enduring legacy.

"Much like the Irish themselves, it has now spread far and wide across the globe taking with it the spirit of what’s truly wonderful and unique about Kerry and Ireland.

"I wonder if on that fateful night in Harty’s Bar if dad ever imagined his son looking on proudly as Roses hoping to represent Hong Kong lit up the room."

Clarissa Langley Coleman will be singing Danny Boy in Chinese as part of her appearance in the competition.

The Rose of Tralee International Festival will be held in Tralee from the 16th-22nd August.

Events will include street parades, markets, fashion shows and performances by Nathan Carter and various showbands.

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