Tara Talbot justified the faith shown in her by the bookmakers – the Queensland girl is the 53rd Rose of Tralee.
Over half a million television viewers watched the live spectacle as Dublin born Tara stole the show in Kerry.
The 27-year-old, born to an Irish father and a Filipino mother, could barely contain her excitement as she was fitted with her crown.
“I’m shocked, very overwhelmed and extremely proud to be representing 63 wonderful people that I’ve met and the Queensland Irish community firstly,” the secondary school teacher said.
“I’m in shock to be honest. When I looked around the room today I thought anyone of us could have won.
“It’s been the best week of my life, crazy, frantic, the best experience I’ve ever had. It’s been amazing to meet the extended Irish community.”
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Tara, the bookies favorite all week, is the second representative from Queensland to bring the crown back to Australia.
Talbot, a member of the Queensland Irish Association, will spend the next year as the new ambassador for the Rose of Tralee festival.
The new Rose of Tralee receives her tiara, a $40,000 round-the-world trip, a range of household wear and jewelry from Newbridge Silverware and the use of a brand new Renault Megane.
Singer Imelda May was the star turn on the final night of the Rose of Tralee show when she revealed that she had begged her parents to take her to the festival as a 10-year-old.
Asked to explain what the Rose of Tralee is all about by her English band members, she said: “The festival is a mixture of Miss World, the Eurovision and Father Ted.”
May added: “When they asked me to sing I said I’d love to do it, I’m a huge fan of the Rose of Tralee. I remember loving it as a kid and watching it on telly and loving the glam. A lot of kids get dressed up to watch it and it’s good for the whole family.
“All my band are English and I was trying to explain to them what it was like. They said ‘is it like Miss World?’ and I said it was nicer and they have no bikinis but they seemed to be disappointed at that!”
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