Roses include an Irish musician from Armagh, an Irish dancer from Germany, an All-Ireland horse rider from Dubai, a Gaelic football player from Georgia, an Irish actress from Sydney and a New Jersey contestant who’s involved with an Israeli-Palestinian peace group that models their approach on the Northern Ireland Peace Process.
Not just a beauty contest
With such impressive contestants, the Rose of Tralee is clearly not a beauty contest, and it’s about a whole lot more than competition.
In an Ireland that has changed so much in recent years and in a country whose population has spread to countries all over the world, the Rose of Tralee asks important questions: What does it mean to be Irish? Who are we today? Who were our ancestors yesterday? And who do we want to be in the world of tomorrow?
The annual famous festival is about bringing people “home,” exploring what it means to be Irish in the modern world, and more specifically, redefining the contemporary Irish woman as a strong, intelligent, sincere, confident force to be reckoned with.
The Rose of Tralee is a tribute to Irish heritage, and the Roses who hail from outside Ireland regard the festival as a celebration of their links with the country of their ancestors. Irish people from all over the world come together in Tralee to celebrate the bonds and relationships that link them to each other.
But the festival is not all about serious philosophical questions – it is also very much about fun.
Each of the Roses gets to live the life of a princess for a week. They wear beautiful clothes. A hairstylist and make-up artist are on hand at all times to make them look stunning. Crowds queue to ask for autographs. They have a handsome male chaperon to look after them. And finally, they get to appear on TV.
The importance of being a good escort
One of the most important jobs during the Festival is to find an Irish escort capable of accompanying each Rose on her hectic schedule. Not only will the escort be accompanying at the competition and the Rose Ball, he will also provide a strong shoulder to lean on at the many functions and events that the Roses will attend during the busy week. .