After a two year, Covid enforced, hiatus the Rose of Tralee is back.
The festival returns from Friday, August 19 to Tuesday, August 23 and the across the world Rose centre’s are selecting their representatives.
In Kerry there are 23 candidates vying for the honour of representing the Kingdom and succeeding reigning Kerry Rose Sally Ann Leahy, who has worn the crown since 2019.
The Kerry Rose selection, hosted by Dáithí Ó’Sé, takes place at the Siamsa Tíre theatre in Tralee on Saturday, June 4.
So, without further ado, here are the 23 contenders seeking to become the 2022 Kerry Rose:
Aislinn Burke lives on the outskirts of the beautiful Killarney town in the countryside. She is 19 years old and is a second-year nursing student in MTU Tralee. She has a passion for the Irish language as she has been speaking it since she was four years of age and in her free time, she enjoys playing the piano. Her Mother and Father first met at the Rose of Tralee in 1990 and so she was always told that it was written in the stars that she should one day be a Kerry Rose, which is why this festival holds a special place in her heart.
At 29, Amanda is a hotel manager from Kells and works in Kinsale. A passionate mental health advocate, Amanda regularly volunteers for suicide prevention charity, Pieta House. It’s very close to her heart as she has lost too many great friends along the way. Her friends say she is a kind soul & would help anyone in need, at any time. She is the youngest of four and was raised on a busy farm. As a true Kerry cailín, she loves to go home a lot to work on the farm with her family! Car obsessed Amanda can often be spotted frequenting her local town of Kinsale in her pride and joy; Her blue BMW.
Amy was born and bred in Currow and is a very proud Currow woman. She is involved in lots of aspects of the village. Amy plays football and basketball with the local club and also coaches an underage basketball team. She is a senior member of the local youth club. Amy has done a lot of fundraising for cancer as unfortunately it's a cause close to her heart. Amy would be delighted to represent Kerry in the Rose of Tralee as funnily enough the Festival is the same age as her mom would be. They share the same birthday (along with Michael Jackson, lol!) -something she was always very proud of.
Ashling is from Waterville. Her childhood dream came through in 2015, when she joined An Garda Síochana and is currently stationed in Roxboro Road, Limerick. Ashling has just completed her final year of a Bachelor of Laws. Ashling is actively involved with Macra na Feirme and particularly enjoys the social and sporting events associated with the charity. Ashling likes running and hill walking and has trekked to Everest Base camp.
Ashling loves to travel and has been to Australia, New Zealand, a number of countries in Asia and some European and American cities. Ashling is currently planning her first trip to Africa.
Bernadette works as a Special Needs Assistant in Tralee. She has had a varied career to date having a Diploma in Dental Nursing & Beauty Therapy. She is part of the GAA Health & Wellbeing initiative and as a member ,she volunteers for “The Little Stars Programme” which facilitates inclusion of children with additional needs in GAA. She is passionate about raising awareness for mental health and is currently fundraising for Pieta house. She wants to honour her mom’s memory by entering the Kerry Rose as her mother was a contestant in the eighties, and it was her dream for one of her girls to follow in her footsteps.
Breda is from Milltown, a village in Mid Kerry. She holds a BA in Psychology, along with a First Class Honours Masters in Work and Organisational Psychology from UL. Breda is a Human Resources Manager for both the Aghadoe Heights Hotel and the Anner Hotel. She is the youngest of a small family but grew up in a very busy household helping to care for her grandparents. She is passionate about music and is often heard singing in her local choir. She has won the Permanent TSB High Achievers Award for Voice. Breda loves to travel; she represented her parish at World Youth Day in Krakow and has completed a skydive in New Zealand!
Clodagh was born in the beautiful town of Killarney 26 years ago. Her mother hails from the lovely Maharees in the Dingle peninsula and her father is from Co. Carlow. Her passion for Art was evident from a young age, and so she followed her heart and spent four happy years studying a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fine Art and Design in Co. Cork. An opportunity arose to return to the Kingdom, where she opened a cafe with her father during lockdown. Her passions include rowing and her adorable, adopted donkeys, Sam and Tom and her lovely, adopted cat Nala.
Édaein O’Connell hails from a place called Glenderry, located a mere10-minute drive from Listowel. Born and bred in the north Kerry area, she was schooled at both Dromclough National School and the Presentation Convent Secondary School in Listowel town. At 17, she attended NUIG in Galway city to study Civil Law. After this, she completed a higher diploma in Business Studies at the same institution and a master’s in digital marketing from DIT in Dublin city. She planned on seeking out a career in just social media management, but when fast food chain McDonald’s swiped caramel sundaes from its menu, she happened upon a career in journalism. Writing on everything from fashion to travel to pop culture, she has written for the likes of the Irish Independent, the Sunday Times Style Magazine, Metro UK and more. In her spare time, she is an avid reader and a keen singer, having won two All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil titles back in the day.
Eimear is a 23-year-old Commercial Graduate working in the Marketing and Sustainability departments of Carbery Group in West Cork. Growing up in Castleisland gave Eimear the opportunity to get involved in all types of sport, eventually settling on badminton where she has played for Kerry, UCC, and now Cork. In addition to this, she enjoys set dancing and plays piano and harp, often performing for wedding receptions all around Kerry. Eimear qualified with a First-Class Honours Degree in Commerce International with Hispanic Studies in 2021 and spent her Erasmus year in Bilbao in the Basque Country, immersing herself in he culture and exploring Spain.
26-year-old Emma, from Kenmare works as a facilitator for Enable Ireland’s national virtual service. Emma enjoys meeting people and exploring new places and scenery. Her hobbies include designing hand-made cards and taking photographs. Emma’s photographs were recently displayed in an exhibition which has travelled through the county called “adventure lockdown”. Emma adores animals, and enjoys being out and about on her family farm and taking part in Kerry social farming. Over the years Emma has been involved in fundraising for many different charities which includes the Irish Cancer Society, Dogs for disabled, and Pieta house to name a few.
Heather is a 25-year-old pioneer and special education teacher from Castlemaine. She has a degree in English and Gaeilge, and a Masters in Education. Heather is a professional singer, dancer and musician and has travelled the world competing and touring. She enjoys farming and hopes to complete her green cert soon. Heather has received awards in dancing, singing, music, judo, athletics, and art. At 14 she began volunteering as a Scór mentor and is heavily involved in her community. Heather donated her hair to Children with Hair Loss and has been actively involved with many charities including Women’s aid, and Autism assistance dogs, Ireland. Her passions lie in Irish culture and special education.
Jennifer is a 27-year-old Adult Support and Wellbeing Officer for Ireland’s National Autism Charity, AsIAm. Through her work with AsIAm, Jennifer works to reduce social isolation and underemployment in the adult autistic community. Jennifer has a passion for writing, literature, and prose. She completed her BA and MSc in writing and linguistics at the National University of Ireland, Galway. In September, Jennifer intends to begin a PhD Programme in Literary Practice and research representations of disabled women in literature. Originally from Abbeydorney, Jennifer resides in Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. Jennifer enjoys spending time with her cousins and grandparents and writing in her spare time.
Katie is 28 years old. She is originally from Mallow,County Cork but moved to the Village of Ardfert with her family when she was a little girl. Katie is a genuine people’s person and always had a love for hospitality. A little under 3 years ago, she started working in hotels as a receptionist and she is now a duty manager of The Brandon Hotel in Tralee. She is the proud stepmother to a nine-year-old boy and is due to get married in two years’ time. Katie’s friends would describe her as outgoing, kind, generous and the first person they would call if they were ever in trouble.
Katie is a 24-year-old musician, with a love for animals. Her BA is in Irish Music. She also graduated from Radio Kerry. Katie has just qualified in Animal Care! She plays the fiddle and sings, andhas performed in England with Moxie's Darren Roche, Elle Marie O'Dwyer and Bryan Murphy. Now, she works as a Dog Groomer. She loves playing football with the dogsand she has her owndog named Bella. Katie's dad passed away in 2019. In her free time, she likes watching animal programs, butdislikes too much screen time. An inspirational figure she would love to meet is Sharon Shannon.
Lauren is 21 years of age and is from Killorglin. She is the youngest of 3 children and her extended family would be known as the Chubs. Lauren's great-grandfather was Timothy Chub O’Connor, who was a TD in the Dáil. Lauren has a great love and respect for her family. She has taken part in the Rose Festival before as a rosebud in 2010. Lauren was paired with the Carlow rose and says it was one of the best experiences of her life. Lauren loves volunteering and has volunteered with Hoare’s machinery for the Ukraine. Cystic fibrosis is a charity Lauren holds dearly to her heart, as her aunt passed away from it and Lauren would be a carrier of the gene.
Leah was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Ballylongford when she was two. She has two older brothers, a twin brother, and a younger sister. She was raised in a diverse household, her mother is American, and her father is a proud Kerry man. She and two of her four siblings were adopted. She is currently a second-year general nursing student in ATU. Caring for animals was an integral part of her childhood, assisting her father in the medical treatment of animals. This exposure led her to pursue a career in nursing. She has a keen interest in working with special needs patients.
Leanne Haussmann is a local Tralee Garda with an avid interest in supporting her community and volunteering with Adapt Kerry. A keen interest in sport, Leanne coaches u14 Tralee Imperials basketball team and plays for St Annes in Farranfore. An advocate for Asthma Society of Ireland, Leanne walked 100km during Covid raising over €2500. This 26-year-old describes Kerry as the home she chose for herself and has established a wide circle of friends and family in Kerry. The festival is something she is passionate about, and Leanne has attended multiple Rose events, cheering on friends and even swapped the uniform for a ballgown!
Born in New York City, Maud’s family moved back home in 2004 to take over the family dairy farm. Maud is a 25-year-old driving instructor from lovely Listowel. She graduated from Limerick Institute of Technology in 2017 after completing her Automobile Technology course. Maud has always had a huge passion for cars and machinery. She made the transition from taking the subway in Manhattan to driving her Massey to her school graduation. She loves being outdoors hiking, kayaking, and helping out on the farm in her spare time. She is currently in the process of obtaining her truck licence.
Michaela Lacey is from Tralee, Co. Kerry. She is a receptionist/ youth worker in Shankill Family Resource Centre. She attended Kilmoyley National School and Causeway Comprehensive School, and has won a gold medal in community games. Michaela has a certificate in level five Social Studies and Psychology. Her hobbies include sketching, reading (fantasy and true crime novels) and listening to pop and country music. She has volunteered in Rehab Care Blennerville for two years. She has helped out in the running of different programs for example: sign language, exercise, and art, and she has received a NRAC (National Regional Advocacy Certificate).
Niamh is 25 from Cahersiveen, a beautiful town in South Kerry. Niamh has studied in a range of colleges such as CCOC and UCC, studying the beauty industry and English and Geography. She has set goals that will take her out of her comfort zone, one being a skydive for suicide prevention, even though she is afraid of heights. She is passionate about helping others and has volunteered for many charities like the KDYS and Women’s Aid. She was selected for Aldi’s customer service advertisements due to her great customer reviews. Niamh has a strong passion for all animals since she was small and has carried that love throughout life.
A proud treaty woman from a small village in Ballingarry, County Limerick, Roisin is even prouder to live and work in the kingdom of Kerry. Working in Killarney nursing home, she absolutely adores her job and her residents have become practically family to her, especially during the pandemic. Roisin studied nursing in Glasgow Caledonian University (which covid unfortunately interrupted). Roisin is one of six kids-five girls and one boy -so trying to get to the dinner table as a child was a mission in itself! Roisin loves a good sing-song and has played camogie from the young age of five for her local team Grannagh, Ballingarry.
Samantha is a 29-year-old Nurse working in University Hospital Kerry and living in Lixnaw, a village in North Kerry. Samantha loves her job working as a Clinical Placement Co-Ordinator as her main role is supporting student nurses while on clinical placement. She holds a Masters in Nursing and spent semester 2 of the college year working as a part-time lecturer in Munster Technological University Tralee. Samantha previously worked in Great Ormand Street Children’s Hospital in London. She is a member of the Lixnaw Community First Responders and the PRO for Lixnaw GAA. She loves supporting Kerry GAA especially the Kerry Hurlers as her brother, Martin is the Kerry goalkeeper. She absolutely loves fashion and spending time with her family and friends. Samantha adores her little dog Daisy.
Treasa is a 20-year-oldstudent in her second year of horticulture, which she studies at the Botanic Gardens in Dublin. In her college, she is a member of the student Council. Currently she is working on an organic farm in Galway. With her interest in native flora and fauna, she would like to meet Collie Ennis, a prominent figure in Ireland’s herpetology society and fellow insect enthusiast. She loves sci-fi books, horror films and nearly any type of music. When she isn't gardening, in her free time she enjoys baking and listening to podcasts.