London rose is pick of the bunch
Stunned Charmaine speechless after her triumph
London's Charmaine Kenny was last night crowned the 51st Rose of Tralee.
The 26-year-old aspiring entrepreneur was the first London Rose to win the competition since 1975.
A stunned Charmaine was left speechless when her name was called out..
Born in Co Kildare, she was a surprise winner and beat off stiff competition to claim the tiara. The former management consultant will now embark on a year as an international ambassador for the Rose of Tralee Festival.
After being crowned, she was quickly whisked off on a midnight parade around the Co Kerry town.
Earlier, fourteen Roses were put through their paces by host Ray D'Arcy in front of 1,800 people in the Dome and an estimated one million watching at home.
But, true to form, none of them actually seemed as if they wanted to win and, instead, maintained that every one of them were marvellous and just delighted just to take part.
But there was an unmistakable determination to the few who had their game faces and were going to smile like they never had before.
And all the Roses displayed their various talents in pursuit of the tiara.
Boston and New England Rose Meaghan Murphy, who drew applause when she called Ted Kennedy a "great man", disco-danced to the Bee Gee's 'Stayin Alive', and proved that it can be done just as easily in a flowing grey guna as in skin-tight white jeans -- but without a wedgie, it's not really the same.
Her moves also afforded Ray D'Arcy the opportunity to step up and show that the average Kildare man has more routines than the macarena and the birdie dance with which to woo the ladies on a night out in Naas, although he's still a far way off 1970s 'Studio 54' standards.
Somewhere, we suspect, Britney (the real one, not the southern Californian Rose) and Justin Timberlake were watching the dance-off and falling about the place laughing.
If Kerry's other great ginger hope -- apart from the Gooch -- was perturbed about being briefly knocked out of the favourite's spot for a short time yesterday by German Rose Jessica Kreuz, she didn't betray a bit of it.
Blinding smile fixed firmly in place, Karen McGillicuddy, the Rose from the Kingdom, looked for the back wall and belted out 'Somewhere' from 'West Side Story'.
Kilkenny Rose Stephanie O'Dwyer showed off her teaching skills with a water-based vacuum experiment. She said her taking part in the Rose of Tralee was always a dream of her mother, who died just as Stephanie became Kilkenny Rose.
"It's OK, she's got the best seat in the house tonight," she said. Darwin Rose Anne McNamee sang a song she wrote for her grandmother, Moira Doyle, called 'Grandma's Garden'. Ms McNamee has already recorded her own CD and sang before an audience of 20,000 at the Darwin Cup two weeks before coming to Ireland, but was a little apprehensive about performing in front of a television audience likely to top one million.
"One thing my Grandma used to say to me as we lay in her back garden and looked up at the clouds, she said 'every cloud has a silver lining', and that has always stayed with me," she said.
Her song says the clouds can allow you to to "float away from your troubles" and "see as far as your dreams".
But they're mostly just grey and wet here in Ireland, a point illustrated by winner Charmaine Kenny. A few years ago, Ms Kenny was looking to fund her travelling exploits and came across an advert for three months' work in Japan.
"I clicked on it and it was weather presenting. and I thought, 'good grief'," she said. She ended up presenting Irish weather forecasts in Japan, to be broadcast to mobile phones in Ireland and the UK.
And she had to indulge in some Japanese tackiness to spice up a way of telling people that it's going to be lashing tomorrow.
The Dome was shown brief snippets from her time there, including presenting the weather as a Charlie's Angel-style heroine and another done while swimming in an animated fish tank.
If Ger Fleming was to don a wetsuit and snorkle and do something similar while presenting the RTE weather, viewing figures could even top those for the first night of the Rose, which came in at 748,000, or a 53pc share, an improvement of 11 pc on last year.
C'mon Ger. Your national broadcaster is fairly skint these days and needs you.