A shining example of how the Rose of Tralee International Festival connects the global Irish community can be seen through the life-story of the 2013 Washington DC Rose, Lauren DeBueriis.
The 26-year-old PR & Advertising graduate can trace her Irish roots to Co. Westmeath, but her story is not your typical tale of heritage as she was adopted by an Italian family.
“My birth mother and father were Irish-American. When I was 22, I started to look for her (my birth-mother) and I found her rather quickly. Since we met, together with my biological grandfather we have all started to research our Irish history. I always knew about my Irish roots but we never knew the actual connection. Over the past few years we’ve come together through our search for our Irish connection and it’s really brought us together as a pseudo-family,” said Lauren.
She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Relations and Advertising, with Minor Degrees in both Irish Studies and Marketing, from DePaul University in Chicago. Lauren also studied abroad during her time at DePaul, taking courses at the Institute for Public Administration in Dublin. She currently work as a research assistant for the attaché for Agriculture and the attaché for Justice and Home Affairs at the Embassy of Ireland.
Lauren’s main duties include liaising with the US Government on Irish agricultural interests, assisting Irish companies with import/export regulations, researching upcoming US legislation, and promoting Irish government agency initiatives.
“Aside from work, I dance with a local Irish dance school and can be found on any given evening practicing on the ground floor of my apartment building, to the immense enjoyment of my neighbours. I’m also involved in several organizations within the Washington, D.C. area including The American Ireland Fund DC Young Leaders and the Daughters of the American Revolution,” said Lauren.
She said that she is proud to be in the Diaspora and that she has considered herself as being in the Diaspora even while not really knowing the exact connection for a long time.
Lauren said the Rose of Tralee Regional Festival experience was memorable and the best moment of the entire trip was meeting the Rose Buds.
“My little Grainne who sat next to me on the Vintage Car tour and who danced the afternoon away with me touched my heart forever and this little girl will be in my heart forever and I can’t ever replace that.”
Throughout the Bank Holiday weekend, 61 Roses took part in three selection nights hosted by Dáithí Ó Sé at the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel and Lauren was one of the lucky 23 Roses who will go forward to the televised stages of the Rose of Tralee International Festival in August.