DUBLIN Rose Niamh Sherlock is looking forward to a belated birthday celebration with her long-term boyfriend Brian Doyle this weekend when she arrives in Tralee for the annual festival.
The Wicklow native, who is flying the flag for her late mother, Dubliner Marie, turned 27 yesterday and admits it was disappointing not to have her other half by her side for the big milestone.
But Niamh told the Herald how her 31 fellow Roses more than made up for his absence when they serenaded her with a rendition of Happy Birthday at a Rose dinner hosted by the Carlton Hotel last night.
"It's definitely a very different birthday than usual but I have to say I'm loving it," she explained. "I don't know how I'm going to rival it next year.
"Three of the other girls will be celebrating their birthdays over the next week as well so we're planning to have a joint celebration in Kerry.
"My boyfriend, Brian, will be there for it as well. He's rented a house in Tralee for the whole week so he'll be arriving on Saturday and is very excited about it all.
Niamh has been going out with the Newtown footballer for eight years and says he's been extremely supportive from the beginning.
Niamh's mother Marie, who came from Gardiner Street in the north inner city, passed away eight-and-a-half years ago from a heart attack. Journalism graduate Niamh admits her absence will be sorely felt on the night.
She will have a strong support network to cheer her on, however, with her father, three sisters, two brothers and twelve nieces and nephews all making the journey to the Kingdom.