Recently crowned the New York Rose of Tralee. She works as an Irish music teacher in Catholic schools across New York and New Jersey. 

What is your Irish background?

“My father Frank immigrated to New York in 1981 from Pomeroy, Co. Tyrone. He is the only member of his family in the United States -- all of his eight brothers and sisters stayed in Ireland. I am extremely grateful to my dad for coming to New York when there was no work in Ireland and making a very good life for himself and my family.

“My mother is from the Bronx and her parents are from north Kerry. I am also forever grateful to my grandparents who came to New York in the 1960s for telling me stories of old Ireland, and passing down their love for Irish music.”

What does it mean to you to be the New York Rose of Tralee?

“It gives me a chance to represent all of the thousands of Irish Americans here in New York. I will try to portray how we try, so hard, to keep our Irish heritage alive through music, song, dance and stories all the way over here in New York.”

What is the next stage of the competition?

“The next stage brings me to Portlaoise the first weekend in June for the Rose of Tralee semifinals. There will be a total of 56 girls from all over Ireland, America and England traveling. Out of the 56 girls, 32 will make it to Tralee this August.”

You went to university in Ireland?

“I attended the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, where I obtained my BA in Irish music and dance. I knew from the time that I was small that I wanted to go to college in Ireland.  Little did I know then that I would be able to get my degree in what I loved doing, playing Irish music.

“My four years in Ireland were the best four years of my life so far. I met people from all over Europe. I played for the president of Ireland last St. Patrick’s Day, performed with the Chieftains and Paul Brady, and best of all taught music to children all over Limerick, Cork and Kerry. Ireland is where I found my love for teaching music to children, and I have been lucky enough to continue doing so here in America.”

What is your favorite thing to do when you visit Ireland?

“My favorite thing to do is visit my family. My Granny Loughran lives in Pomeroy as well as many of my aunts, uncles and cousins. I also have a very large amount of family down in Kerry, as well as a 96-year-old Aunt in Glin, Co. Limerick.

“I also love to play in sessions with the many friends I made through music in Ireland. Playing Irish music is my favorite thing to do both in Ireland and America. I am very thankful to my parents for giving me the gift of music. It has brought so much enjoyment and opportunity to my life.”