The Antrim Rose, Jean Daly and the Derry Rose, Gemma Blair, will roll out the red carpet for the 32 International Roses when they visit their respective home counties on Tuesday 13th August.
Steve Cronly, the Rose of Tralee Tour Manager, said: “It will be the first time in nearly a decade that the Rose Tour will head to Northern Ireland. The Roses will enjoy a tour of the Titanic Experience in Belfast and the craic of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Derry, the 2013 UK City of Culture.
"We are particularly grateful to the Northern Ireland Tourist Board who have made it possible for us to visit Belfast and Derry. In all, seven counties – Dublin, Kildare, Antrim, Derry, Sligo, Galway and Limerick - will host the Roses as they prepare for the week-long Festivities in Tralee.”
The Roses will enjoy lunch at the Belfast Hilton Hotel on Tuesday afternoon, followed by a tour of the Titanic Experience.
Later that evening, the Derry Rose, Gemma Blair will welcome the Roses to County Derry and a night of light entertainment in the magnificent Roe Park Resort Hotel, Limavady.
Wednesday will see the Roses continue their journey to Derry City for an open-top bus tour of the City of Culture which is host to the 2013 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.
Tours of the Tower Museum, the Walled City and a visit to Richmond Shopping Centre will precede an Irish music extravaganza from Comhaltas Ceolteoirí Éireann in Ebrington Square.
The Roses will overnight at the City Hotel Derry, where the General Manager, Ciarán O’Neill, said: “We are delighted to welcome the 32 Roses from all over the world to the Hotel and we are even more delighted to be able to host them during their visit to Derry during our City of Culture year. We have been involved in selecting the Derry Rose for a number of years and also have had the privilege to welcome three of the International Roses of Tralee.”
Another Derry Hotel, The Beech Hill Country House Hotel, will treat the Roses and their Chaperones to a delightful lunch on Wednesday afternoon.
The Rose Tour Manager, Steve Cronly, said: “The Rose Tour of Ireland offers the perfect opportunity to showcase the Rose of Tralee as more than a TV show and five-day Festival. It also is a very important event on the Irish tourism calendar as the media coverage that the Rose Tour commands is the perfect picture postcard to send to the world. There is no other Festival in Ireland that offers such an insight to so many parts of Ireland en route to the main hub of the entertainment in Tralee.”
Earlier this year the Rose of Tralee, Nicola McEvoy, met the First and Deputy First Ministers at Stormont during her own tour of Northern Ireland to promote the Rose Centres in Ulster.
The 2013 Rose Gathering and Rose of Tralee International Festival will run from 14 to 20 August with 90 hours of free and affordable entertainment and the crowning of the 2013 Rose of Tralee on Tuesday 20th August.
Full details of the Rose Tour, Rose Gathering and Rose of Tralee International Festival are available from www.roseoftralee.ie, Facebook /RoseoftraleeFestival and on Twitter @roseoftralee_