Tuesday 20 February 2018

Former Rose of Tralee president Margaret Dwyer has passed away

Margaret Dwyer with Anthony O'Gara
Margaret Dwyer with Anthony O'Gara

Ryan Nugent

A woman "synonymous" with the Rose of Tralee, Margaret Dwyer, has died aged 96.

Ms Dwyer, an original volunteer of the festival, passed away on Monday afternoon.

It is believed that Ms Dwyer is the last remaining member of the group who were originally involved in the set-up of the Rose of Tralee in 1959 and she continued her involvement with the festival up until 2003.

Born in the US, Ms Dwyer set-up home in Tralee and was heavily involved in community groups around the area, particularly in tourism up until the late 2000s.

Presenter of the Rose of Tralee, Daithí O'Se told independent.ie that "pioneers like Margaret are few and far between these days".

"It's very sad, she put in a lot of work and if it wasn't for the likes of her and other people that were involved at the start, the Rose of Tralee wouldn't be where it is today," Mr O'Sé said.

"It's stood the test of time and moved with it as well," he added.

Ms Dwyer became the first female president of the festival in 1970 and chairperson, Anthony O'Gara said she will be sadly missed.

"The contribution of Margaret to the development, growth and long term success of the Rose of Tralee International Festival from 1959 to 2003 and indeed the town of Tralee, through her role in the local business sector, has been immense," he said.

Ms Dwyer was awarded the freedom of Tralee in 2000, by then mayor Norma Foley, who said "she was a phenomenal woman in every way" and contributed hugely to everything positive in Tralee.

"She was very pro-active and was very much a forward thinker," Ms Foley said.

"She was positive, upbeat, generous and a very talented woman as well. She was a great artist and many of her paintings would be on the walls of friends and family around the area," she added.

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