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Sunday 18 March 2018

A picture of beauty - watering the Roses

Grainne Cunningham

EVERYONE knows that for roses to do well, you have to get them into water as fast as possible.

And this bunch of entrants to the annual Rose of Tralee festival don't look like they'll be wilting any time soon.

The perfectly coiffed girls spared no thought for their frocks or hair-dos as they raced fully-clothed into the bracing sea off the Kerry coast and frolicked in the waves.

The half-dozen Roses were in the coastal town of Fenit in advance of this year's festival, which runs from Friday, August 20, to Tuesday, August 24.

And they lost no time in challenging any prejudices that the 'lovely girls competition' is a staid or old-fashioned affair.

Eyebrows were raised as the entrants flung themselves into the waves, screaming, laughing and generally having a ball.

Creating a splash for photographer Domnick Walsh were Belfast Rose Frances Rafferty, Cork Rose Laura Mitchell, 2009 Rose of Tralee Charmaine Kenny, Kerry Rose Veronica Hunt, Tipperary Rose Lynda Kelly and Dublin Rose Niamh Sherlock.

The Rose of Tralee Festival, which is celebrating its 51st year, promises to be the ideal destination for all those recessionistas who decided to take a 'staycation' this year because there is a massive line-up of free entertainment over the five days.

Managing director of the festival Anthony O'Gara said this year's attractions included a carnival, concerts, parades, fireworks, a circus, a fashion show and much more.

And, of course, hundreds of thousands are expected to tune in again this year for the two-night international Rose selection, which will be screened by RTE on the Monday and Tuesday.

For the first time, the man guiding the Roses through their party piece will be a Kerryman -- TG4's weather man Daithi O Se.

The Dingle native, who was on last year's judging panel, will interview 32 hopefuls live on television over the two nights. Last year, a peak of 885,000 viewers tuned in to see London Rose, Charmaine Kenny, win the event.

Mr O'Gara said: "If you are entering the knobbly knees or glamorous granny competitions, looking above to the magnificent aerial display and parachute jump or simply perusing the 50 years of fashion exhibition at the County Museum, we wish you every enjoyment at this year's festival."

Irish Independent

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