Sunday 19 November 2017

VIDEO: Proud brother's reaction to new Rose of Tralee's big win

Eoghan McNeill

It's the epitome of 'brotherly love' captured on camera.

For barman Kevin Walsh, seeing his sister crowned the new Rose of Tralee was certainly a moment to be proud of.

Kevin  – a barman in Californian pub Sonny McLean’s – can be seen head-bowed, hands joined almost in prayer awaiting Daithi O’Sé’s announcement.

Upon hearing his sister’s name called, he jumps out of his chair, repeating 'Oh my God', adding almost incredulously with his arms outstretched; "My sister is the Rose of Tralee!".

The video was uploaded to Facebook last night.

Walsh and his Rose sister Maria (27) are Boston natives whose family moved to Shrule, Co. Mayo 20 years ago.

Having completed a degree in Journalism and Visual Media at Griffith College, Maria moved to New York and then Philadelphia – the city she represented in the Rose of Tralee.

“My father might be wondering what's wrong with me when he hears I went somewhat viral,” Kevin joked.

“My reaction was one of excitement and just plain awe of my beautiful sister,” he said.

Kevin now lives in Los Angeles where he works for a production company called Film Orange.

Even though he was “glad” he was able to watch Maria’s win on TV, Kevin admitted he missed being in Tralee with his family. 

“I saw a photo of Maria with my brother and sister embracing and I felt a little sad but I'll see them all soon,” he said.

Although Kevin couldn’t be there on the night, Maria was supported by aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbours. Kevin said their presence was “a testament to how great she is.”

Far from Kerry, Kevin celebrated Maria’s win in LA with friends:

“My girlfriend and a few of our friends went for a nice meal and some cocktails and I can say I definitely drank one or two for my famous sister. I just wish she was here so she could drive me home,” he laughs.

Kevin says he’s “blabbing to anyone who’ll listen” about his sister’s success, despite the fact that most Americans are unfamiliar with the Rose of Tralee.

“You can't walk up to anyone in LA and say your sister is the Rose of Tralee and expect jubilation. You have to explain the contest in American terms,” he says.

“They just end up asking: ‘It's like the Miss America, but there's no bikini part?’”

Kevin however, says the Rose of Tralee is more than just Miss America sans swimwear:

“It’s not just beauty; it embodies all that is Irish. Our Maria is that – hardworking, generous and kind,” he says.

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