The Rose Of Tralee is aiming to roll out this initiative in other small communities, in the hope of getting more rural towns involved in county finals, and the main event.
Blessington was home to a world first on Sunday night as Caoimhe Flynn became the very first Community Rose to win at an event officially endorsed by the Rose of Tralee International Festival.
Organised as a joint enterprise by the Blessington and District Forum, Wicklow Rose team and the Rose of Tralee team, with sponsorship from Hudson Brothers, it was hosted by the Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort, in a ballroom the resort sponsored to allow 12 Blessington Roses to bid to represent their community at the Wicklow Rose competition on June 5.
Steve Cromley, Director of Operations at the Rose Of Tralee, said that the idea came during Covid lockdowns when they thought about ways to reach more rural communities. His vision is a whole series of community competitions, with winners going on to the county final and then to Tralee.
Age 22, Caoimhe grew up in Blessington, but has since moved to Glen of Imaal, and more importantly, left Wicklow - and her horse Johnny Bronco - to study Biomedical Science in Galway.
She said that this has left her feeling disconnected from the community, and that this is why she signed up to become a Rose.
"I was already going for the Wicklow Rose, so when I saw this was coming up I wanted to be part of it," she said. "I want to be more involved in my community as I feel like I lost that being in school. It's great to be coming back now that I'm finished, and especially to spend more time with Johnny Bronco.
"I bought him out of pity really as he was skin and bones. We found him on Done Deal and he had never showjumped before. Now we compete all over together."
Whilst she missed Johnny Bronco while in Galway, she also found another passion: sea swimming. And a vocation.
She added: "I want to go down the route of neurology. I have Epilepsy myself. It's very mild, but from studying neurology during my course it's helped me understand more about it and I'm really interested in learning more about how brains work."
She might know her way around a laboratory, but the bright lights of the Tulfarris stage were a different matter.
"It was daunting being up on stage being interviewed, but it was also exciting," she explained.
Compere for the evening was Frank Hanlon from the Blessington and District Forum. A disarming gentleman, with a filing cabinet for an inside pocket, that kept producing all the right notes to put the Roses at ease and introduce them to the crowds gathered.
Liza Marie, with Philllipine heritage, told him "I want to be right hands on", as she spoke of her dream to become a forensic investigator on crime scenes. Aged 19, she's already studying Analyical Chemistry.
Emily Charles shared her passion for building, explaining what her subject, Architectural Technology, is: "Architects design the building," she said. "I make them stand up so they won't fall down."
Among the youngest on stage was Holly Mae Flanagan, a Dental Nursing student at Trinity, who told Frank she has "a triangle I like to play now and again". Not everyone has to be musical Frank! She also has three dogs and five cats.
The eldest was 24-year-old Anita Barrett, who has earned a Bio Pharmaceutical Degree and is now a trainee Emergency Medical Technician, volunteering for the Order of Malta, whilst also competing as a ballroom dancer and playing the organ at her local church.
Anita was among the Roses to perform on the night, belting out that popular toe-tapper 'West Virginia'.
Ollie Hennessy, who also plays keyboard in Tralee, provided the backing track for her and for Lily Mae as she sang 'Hallelujah', and for Hannah Swan as she showed off her Irish Dancing. Singer-songwriter 18-year-old Rachel Coyne also sang, closing the show with her rendition of The Dubliners 'Grace'.
Then judges Abbie McKenna, the 2017 Wicklow Rose, Peter Cooney, the 2007 Rose Escort, and Nicola O'Connor a Fashion Designer, retired to deliberate returning to crown Caoimhe Flynn the first Blessington Rose. Dad, mum, grand parents and more clambered on to the stage to congratulate her, while Escort Oisin showed what a scandal it was that he didn't also win on the evening, heading off to queue at the packed bar to get his Rose a well-earned drink.
Caoimhe will now join the other Wicklow Roses on a brief county tour before the main event to decide Wicklow's Tralee representative at the Arklow Bay Hotel on June 5.