Sunday 16 December 2018

No Waterford Rose or Carlow Rose until 2020 in major festival shake-up

Kirsten Mate Maher with Orlaith (8), right, and Muirinn O’Shea (6)
Kirsten Mate Maher with Orlaith (8), right, and Muirinn O’Shea (6)
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

The Rose of Tralee selection process is set to get a major shake-up in 2019, which will see Co Waterford - which had the winning Rose this year - and Carlow without Roses until 2020.

Organisers have decided to axe the unpopular method of cutting down the Roses to 32 from the 66 regional qualifiers in Tralee the weekend before the live broadcast.

Instead, some 'Rose centres' will only enter the competition every second year - meaning there will always only be 32 Roses selected to head to Tralee and all will be interviewed by Daithi O Se in the Dome.

For the past three years, Roses were informed just days before the live shows if they would make the final cut. In the new format, Dublin, Cork and hometown Rose Kerry will always have a representative in the contest.

Warned

Next year, Irish Rose centres taking part will include Antrim, Donegal, Down, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Meath, Wexford, Galway, Mayo, Clare and Limerick.

However, organisers have warned that this is not set in stone just yet, as there may be circumstances that lead to a centre not entering a Rose. As for Roses from overseas, organisers explained that core centres like London, New York and Texas, as well as Australian centres, will typically always have a Rose or at the very least have an entrant two out of every three years.

Rose of Tralee International Festival executive chair Anthony O'Gara said the decision had been made as the old selection process "did not sit well" with organisers of the festival.

"Moving from the Regional Festival staged from 2004 to 2015 to bringing all our Roses directly to the Rose of Tralee International Festival for the past three years has been generally very positively received," he said.

"There is one challenging aspect to the new format that does not sit well with any of us and that we want to address: the selection of 32 Roses from 66 for the TV selection.

Positive

"We appreciate that the change to the format is significant, but on balance we believe it will be a positive development that will enhance our festival and protect its long-term future."

Next year marks the 60th year of the festival and organisers said they want to bring the Irish community together.

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