Killorglin's Karen is our 50th Rose

Mary Ellen Donovan, representing Garvey's Supermarket with her family at the Kerry Rose selection in the Earl of Desmond Hotel Tralee on Saturday night. Credit: Photo: Frank O'Connor
Mary Ellen Donovan, representing Garvey's Supermarket with her family at the Kerry Rose selection in the Earl of Desmond Hotel Tralee on Saturday night. Credit: Photo: Frank O'Connor
Theresa Doyle, representing Killeen House, Killarney, with her parents Mary and Seamus and sister Elizabeth at the Kerry Rose selection in the Earl of Desmond Hotel Tralee on Saturday night. Credit: Photo: Frank O'Connor
Mairead Fitzmaurice, representing TLI with her family at the Kerry Rose selection in the Earl of Desmond Hotel on Saturday night, pictured with her family. Credit: Photo: Frank O'Connor
Gemma Healy, representing Carrig Donn with Alan Aisling and Cian Healy at the Kerry Rose selection in the Earl of Desmond Hotel Tralee on Saturday night, pictured with her family. Credit: Photo: Frank O'Connor
Marie Looby , representing Radio Kerry with her friends Sanya Doran and Karen Ryan at the Kerry Rose selection in the Earl of Desmond Hotel on Saturday night. Credit: Photo: Frank O'Connor
Deirdre O'Connor, representing Fitzgibbon Interiors pictured with friends Emma Fitzgibbon and Ciara O'Connor at the Kerry Rose selection in the Earl of Desmond Hotel, Tralee on Saturday night. Credit: Photo: Frank O'Connor

LORRAINE WALSH lwalsh@kerryman.ie

CLASSICALLY trained singer and musician Karen McGillycuddy from Killorglin was crowned Kerry Rose 2009 at the selection in The Earl Of Desmond Hotel on Saturday night.

Karen, who was sponsored by West Holiday Park in Killorglin, was one of 27 exceptionally talented young Kerry women who entered the competition this year, all sponsored by local businesses throughout the county. Each Rose entrant took part in individual and group interviews with judges Karl Wallace (Siamsa Tíre), Elizabeth Mannix (Earl of Desmond) and Nora O'Regan (1987 Kerry Rose), who were also present at Selection to watch their on-stage interviews with Dáithí Ó Sé.

"I could not believe it when my name was called out. I don't know how they picked me from all the talented girls there, I am delighted and so thrilled to be the Kerry Rose, I can't believe it. I have to keep on listening to the radio just to make sure it is true," said Karen.

Karen is a primary school teacher at St Enda's National School in Gorey, Co Wexford. She is passionate about teaching and firmly committed to a career in this field, with plans to study for a MEd in Special Needs. The 24-yearold is an active member of the Handicapped Children's Pilgrimage Trust and also raises money for cancer charities.

Karen will support the Kerry Branch of Downs Syndrome Ireland throughout her year as Kerry Rose. She is a member of Killorglin Rowing Club, enjoys performing with Killorglin Pantomime and Drama Group, Gorey Musicial Society and also swimming, Gaelic football, basketball and scuba diving. She has recently begun to study the harp and guitar and is a member of Killorglin Parish Choir.

"It is an extra special honour to be crowned the 50th Kerry Rose, and like all little Kerry girls who wanted to be the Rose it is a dream come true. At the moment I am getting the run down of my official duties and I am open to all offers on clothes for the various events," joked Karen.

Karen will now be busy preparing for the Rose of Tralee International Festival (August 2126), which celebrates 50 years in 2009.

To help her on her way she has received some fantastic prizes, including €1,000 from the Kerry Rose Centre and KellOil, Newbridge Silverware jewellery, her TV Selection night dress from Caroline Atelier, a luxury weekend at Muckross Park Hotel and Cloisters Spa, photo and make-up shoot from Elaine Kennedy, daywear from Mexx and Ruby, beauty vouchers from Leanne's Nail and Beauty and Changes Hair Salon, and a hat from Annburys. Each Rose entrant also received a gift from Razzle Dazzle. The winning bouquet was provided by Eleanor's Florist.

"I would like to thank The West Holiday Park for sponsoring me, all of the co ordinators, the prize sponsors, judges, The Earl Of Desmond and of course my family and friends for all of their support," concluded Karen.

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