Irish Kirsten Mate Maher has been crowned the 2018 Rose of Tralee.
The 21-year-old student and part-time model took home the winner's sash on Tuesday night. She is of African Irish ancestry,
The Waterford native proved to be a popular winner and had been one of the favorites in the lead-up to the final. She had also voiced some frustration at the media coverage of her ethnicity before the live finals stating that it was "only a teeny part of me. There are thousands of other things about me."
Maher's father was an army officer from Zambia who met her mother, from Waterford, while he was training in the Curragh in Kildare. He returned to Zambia before she was born and did not see her until she was almost two
Maher is a keen musician, singing with the Island of Ireland Peace Choir, and s performed "Feeling Good" after her live interview.
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Congratuations to this year's #RoseofTralee, Waterford Rose Kirsten Mate Maher! pic.twitter.com/bmjZWT3qTl— RTÉ (@rte) August 21, 2018
The 2018 Rose of Tralee is the Waterford Rose Kirsten Mate Maher 😊🌹Posted by Rose of Tralee International Festival on Dé Máirt 21 Lúnasa 2018
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The #WaterfordRose is gobsmacked bless her!
Well deserved 2018 #RoseOfTralee pic.twitter.com/5YN5S1EISD— Aine (@SocialOnya) August 21, 2018
Go on Waterford! Fabulous, modern & natural #RoseOfTralee— Sarah Bermingham (@SarahKEB) August 21, 2018