Monday 22 October 2018

'I can brew tea, I can tweet, I make my own bed/But this isn't a talent everyone said' - we'll be missing the Rose of Tralee poems tonight

Liverpool Rose 2013, Lisa O'Halloran
Liverpool Rose 2013, Lisa O'Halloran
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

The Rose of Tralee 'party pieces' are not part of the judging process but they're arguably the most entertaining aspect of the televised RTE event.

Traditionally those Roses who lacked a tune or had two left feet or the inability to whistle could fall back on an aul poem.

Not anymore.  Poetry was banned last year as organisers felt the poems celebrating Irish heritage and the festival itself were slowing down the show.

The decision came after 14 Roses opted to recite poems in 2015 which the organisers felt "slowed down the momentum of the show".

So, as the Roses take to the stage in the festival Dome tonight and tomorrow night they'll be forced to dive deeper into their reservoir of talents and perhaps dance a jig or blow raspberries with their armpits.

Here are five poems from festivals past you won't see the likes of again...

Lisa O'Halloran, Liverpool Rose, 2013 read her poem 'What's My Talent?' which managed to flit tonally from comedic to tragic in the space of a sentence and back again. 

"I can't sing, I can't dance, I can't Gangham Style

So I've been wracking my brains now for quite a while

What to do, what can I do on this stage?

What extraordinary feats will impress Daithi O Se?"


She continued:

"I can brew tea, I can tweet, I can make my own bed

But this isn't a talent everyone said.

All I've got is some thoughts floating around my head

Not a talent as such, more ideology

Which is typical of me with a background in psychology."

And then the tone gets a bit mad...

"If my life was a movie I'd pick a film by Disney

Where baddies get their comeuppance eventually,

Depression would lit, the recession resolve,

And Rory McIlroy would remain consistent at golf.

"Oreos would be healthy for me

We'd get Torres back on a transfer that's free

And war could be solved with simple debate

And people would stop with racism and hate

And suffering and poverty would subside

And starving kids in Africa would live and not die."

Dark, dark stuff indeed.  Check out the full poem here:


Melbourne Rose 2013 Christine McGrattan recited her self-penned poem 'Choices'.  Christine's granny passed away two years previously and her poem is for people living away from home who face the decision whether or not "to come home when things happen".  It's addressed to her proud mum who is sitting in the audience and, with some emotive background music to accompany her, it's a bit of a tearjerker...

"It's at times like these that it's hard to be away

Am I meant to go home or am I meant to stay?

I feel I should be there, I should really help you through this

But then when I leave again that might only make things worse

It's at times like these the distance I can see

The million miles I have travelled, they now become real

"It's now not as easy as jumping in the car

To be there for you now I need to travel far.

It's at times like these that I feel pretty selfish

I left you behind because a life abroad was my wish

I travelled to Australia to follow my dreams

And because of my choices I can't be there for you it seems.

It's at times like these that I've shed some tears

Because I can't be there for you like you've been there for me throughout the yreas

But never doubt it mum, for you I'm always here

I'll be waiting by the phone when I can't be there to dry your tears."


Donegal Rose Maria McCole recited her own poem, 'My Donegal, The Pretty Face of this Land' in 2011.  She was accompanied by another haunting backing flute which was perhaps slightly at odds with the lightweight tone.

"As a proud wee lass growing up on this isle

I think of my hometown and I can't help but smile

With talk of recession from one and from all

There'll be none of that craic up in our Donegal

With sandy white beaches and wildlife galore

There's nowhere more perfect on this Irish shore.

Where else would you get it?  Can anyone say?

Down River Swilly on a hot summer's day.

To Glenties, Bundoran and my own Letterkenny,

Sure to look at such beauty, it won't cost you a penny.

With mountains and cliffs and speech of our own

I'm telling you hey we're a world of our own.

Our mammies love Daniel, our grannies do to

But us girls can't forget Bernard McHugh

Our lovely wee escort full of red hair and craic

Sure he made us so proud when he met Cilla Black."

And on it goes...


The 2013 Darwin Rose Bridget Haines read The Very Cranky Bear and tucked Daithi up in bed.  She sent everyone to sleep including Daithi who said he was about to "doze off". You and us both Daithi.


Another Darwin Rose wrote a poem about leaving Cork for Australia and it went thus...

"As I'm standing in Cork airport with a very heavy heart

Knowing I should be excited and overjoyed for this adventure to start.

I made the dash to the elevator as I watched my dad slump through the doors

I then hand over my boarding pass and head for Australian shores

We landed in Perth where it opened its arms

And we soon realised our lives were not going to be so hard

So we continued our journey and found ourselves in Cairns

Where travelled the east coast and fell in love wiht Autralian charms."

There's more:

Read more: ‘When the Roses were all in bed sure we hit the town then!’ - the familiar faces who were escorts at the Rose of Tralee

'Since when is being lovely a bad quality to have?' - Rachael O'Brien writes in defence of the Rose of Tralee 4 ways to bring The Rose of Tralee out of 1967 and into 2017 Fun and games for Roses as competition steps up a gear

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