NEWLY crowned Dublin Rose Arlene O'Neill may have to rely on the charity and goodwill of her fellow Roses to dress her for this year's competition.
The 25-year-old, who will represent Dublin in this year's Rose of Tralee, told the Herald that she has not yet secured sponsorship for her outfits leading up to the competition, but her new friends have offered their support.
"The girls are great, they have all offered lends of their dresses and shoes, which I might have to accept as I have yet to find a place to sponsor me," she said. "I'm hoping that somewhere like Arnotts will back me though, that'd be fantastic."
She has, however, sorted out her gown for the big night, which will be a full-length spectacle, sponsored by Kilkenny boutique Serendipity.
The Lucan girl, who was crowned less than two weeks ago, has also spoke of the overwhelming support she has received from her home town. Arlene has been living in the west Dublin suburb for the past 12 years and she has experienced an amazing reaction from everyone in the town.
"Friends and family have been just incredible to me, but so have neighbours and even total strangers from the town," Arlene said.
"People are coming up to me in the street congratulating me and telling me they'll be organising parties during the competition, and bouquets of flowers are constantly being sent to the house.
"I keep handing the bouquets to my mam, because I keep forgetting they're for me. It still hasn't sunk in."
Arlene has also said that her fellow Dublin Roses have been a great source of support, in particular last year's winner Siobheal Nic Eochaidh.
"The 54 other Dublin Roses have been fantastic, we've been hanging out a lot and going for meals and nights out, but Siobheal has been my number one on speed dial for the last while.
"We're constantly on and off the phone, and not only does she provide me with advice on the good and bad bits I have ahead, she's also been a real friend."
The Trinity student, who is currently in her eighth year of studies and completing her thesis for her PhD in Applied Physics, can thank the college for her win, as it was there that she first decided to get involved. Arlene says she's extremely excited and hopes "to do it for Dublin" for the 6th time in Rose of Tralee history.