Kirsty Blake Knox: Thorny comments about Roses giving their opinions hark back to bygone era
Novelty acts can be distracting. Fun? Yes - and 99pc of the reason we tune in to the Rose of Tralee year after year. But distracting nonetheless.
Amid all the limbo dancing, onion eating, and aerial acrobats, it's easy to forget that the 2017 Roses discussed issues including global terrorism, domestic violence, overcoming physical illness, coping with bereavement, mental health struggles and the death of baby Charlie Gard.
Donegal Rose Amy Callaghan received praise for speaking eloquently about dealing with anxiety in the run-up to school exams.
There were controversial viewpoints - such as when the Kentucky Rose Martha Mortell spoke about the US military: "I don't think Irish neutrality is the reason why we are free, it's because of America and their military."
We also heard about the Fermanagh Rose's PhD studies which chart the problems of domestic violence. "It's a taboo subject in Ireland," said Stephanie Maguire.
We were presented with a group of women who were willing to express their opinions and discuss issues that 10 or 15 years ago would never have been allocated air time in the Dome.
So it was jarring when the 2016 Rose of Tralee Maggie McEldowney said it was "selfish" for Roses to discuss controversial or political issues. Her comments were made in relation to 2016 Sydney Rose Brianna Parkins' call to repeal the Eighth Amendment last year.
"If every single one of us got up there with their own political [views], it would be a mud-slinging contest and that is not what it's about," she said. "It's about building women up, it's not about bringing each other down or contradicting theories or statistics."
'Mud-slinging' and having an opinion are very different things. But Maggie seems to believe that once you are a 'Rose Sister', you must park personal opinions and adopt a sort of inoffensive and trite sense of wholesome goodness. Her comments seemed at odds with what the festival stands for now.
All the most memorable Roses have been outspoken and unafraid to voice their opinions and beliefs.
Her comments seem to date back to a different era of the festival. One that hobbles rather than enhances it.