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Claire has two very special advisers as joins mum and aunt in making Rose history

NOTTINGHAM'S Claire Regan had two expert advisers on hand as she prepared for the Rose of Tralee.

She is the third member of her family to enter the competition but the 27-year-old professional Irish dancer has an unrivalled family connection with the Rose of Tralee International Festival.

Claire's mum Anne Regan (nee Stanley), originally from Nenagh, Co Tipperary, was selected as the Nottingham Rose in 1977.

In 1990, Anne's younger sister Maria was also selected as the Nottingham Rose and went on to be selected to represent Midlands UK in Tralee that year.

Both Anne and Maria agree the pageant has changed a lot since their day but still have cherished memories of it.


"Being here to support Claire has brought a lot of it back to me again," Maria said.

Claire has one brother and Maria has two sons so as the only girl in the family, the hopes of there being a Rose in the next generation sat solely on her shoulders.

"There was absolutely no pressure," joked Claire, who has grown up knowing all about the Rose of Tralee.

"But being here is even better than I thought it would be."

Entering the Rose of Tralee isn't the only way the professional Irish dancer has followed in the footsteps of her mum and aunt who ran an Irish dancing school.

Claire is also a dance teacher and runs her own fitness business 'Fitjig', aimed at building up fitness in Irish dancers.

She was also part of the Lord of the Dance troupe for eight years and knew Dublin Rose Roisin Lyons from this before they entered the Rose of Tralee.

Abu Dhabi Rose Patrice McGillycuddy also has her own special connection with the festival. Older sister Karen, who is due to get married on New Year's Eve, was the 50th Kerry Rose in 2009.

Meanwhile, Carlow Rose Miriam Smyth was given a lift just hours before her appearance as the final rose last night.

Her older sister Suzanne, an obstetrician in Dublin's Coombe Hospital thought she wouldn't be able to get the time off to cheer her sister on at The Dome.

"She telephoned to say she'd make it. She won't be sitting with the rest of the family but she will be in The Dome," she said.