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Wednesday 21 March 2018

Bridesmaid dresses and self-made gowns on show at Rose exhibition

Some of the winning dresses on display at Kerry County Museum
Some of the winning dresses on display at Kerry County Museum
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Discarded bridesmaids dresses, 1980s puffball gowns, self-made floor-length gowns - there's always a good story behind the dresses worn by the winning Roses.

A range of dresses worn during the past 58 years are on display at the Ashe Memorial Hall in Tralee for the duration of the festival.

Rebecca Kemp curated the exhibition and says most of the Roses have kept their dresses in top-notch condition.

"They really cherish them so they are usually pristine," Ms Kemp said. "They all have history and stories attached."

For example, the dress worn by Kathryn Feeney, 2006 Rose, was originally supposed to be her bridesmaid's gown for her sister's wedding, until the bride eloped to a tropical island.

Lisa Murtagh, 2007 Rose, said the dress she wore meant as much to her as her wedding dress.

A replica of the dress worn by first ever Rose Alice O'Sullivan is on display - it is the only knee-length dress in the collection. All the others - excluding that of Maria Walsh which was a midi dress - are full length.

The dresses also reflect the changing taste and style of Irish women. Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin went for a Celtic Tiger inspired satin fishtail gown.

This year, the official Rose of Tralee hair and make-up artist Kara McDonagh, from Sean Taffe Salon, said they were going less traditional.

"The Rose is usually about chignons and side buns but this year, we are breaking boundaries. We're looking to the Kardashians and Rita Ora for inspiration."

Irish Independent

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