The Rose of Tralee International Festival and Rose Gathering will get underway next week and the Kerry Rose, Gemma Kavanagh, is excited ahead of her Rose journey.

The team at the Rose of Tralee International Festival, who have extended this year’s event by two extra days to celebrate The Gathering, are working daily to present a top-class entertainment line-up to attract as large an audience as possible.

Kerry Rose Gemma Kavanagh said, "I am counting down the minutes and am eagerly anticipating what is sure to be the trip of a lifetime. I am so looking forward to meeting the other roses, the escorts, the rosebuds and, of course, the people of Tralee and all those who have travelled for the festival."

The televised selections of the competition will be broadcast live on Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTÉ, but Gemma won’t find out what night she will appear on TV until after lunchtime on Sunday Aug 18.

The General Manager of the Rose of Tralee International Festival, Oliver Hurley, said, “The Rose of Tralee continues to connect the global Irish community in a celebration of shared culture. The interest, and indeed affection, that Irish people at home and abroad have for the Rose of Tralee represents the core strength of the Rose of Tralee brand which is an unrivalled marketing and promotional asset for Kerry and Ireland.”

The Rose of Tralee International Festival is Ireland’s annual Gathering since 1959 and it’s estimated that well over five million people have been to the Festival during the past 54 years.

A bonus for Gemma and each of this year’s Roses will be their inclusion on a new Rose Wall of Honour that will be erected in Tralee Town Park.

Commissioned by Tralee Town Council, it features a number of laminated glass and stainless steel walls will be inscribed with the names of the 1700 or so Roses who have taken part in the Rose of Tralee since its inception in 1959.

The names will be embedded in the glass panels which promise to be a major attraction for visitors to Tralee for years to come. The Rose Wall of Honour will be unveiled on Thursday 15th August.

“The Festival is more than a TV programme on RTÉ and while we value the continued dedication of hundreds of thousands of viewers, we are inviting people from home and abroad to come in person to enjoy the Gathering and stay for the Festival,” said Oliver Hurley.

Visitors can expect to enjoy up to 400 hours of entertainment including JLS, The Stunning, Sharon Shannon, The Coronas, Nathan Carter, three parades, two fireworks displays and a spectacular Air Show.

The Festival gets underway on Wednesday 14th August with the start of the Rose Gathering and the 2013 Rose of Tralee will wrap-up the Midnight Madness on Tuesday 20th August.

Tickets for JLS, Stunning Sunday, Spin Sunset, Sharon Shannon, The Coronas, Fashion Show, Rose Ball and Selection nights are available from