Background: Recently crowned the New York Rose of Tralee, Mulholland is a professional singer who grew up in Monroe, New York. She lives in Astoria, Queens.

How do you explain the Rose of Tralee to people who have never heard of it? 

“The Rose of Tralee in an international calling to the young Irish women of the world to step up as leaders in our global Irish community. Unlike a traditional beauty pageant, the festival celebrates the beauty and strength of the Irish mind and spirit, and celebrates the power of the Irish culture.”

How did you first hear about the Rose of Tralee?

“My mother first suggested that I look into participating in the Rose selection after hearing about it in her Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians group, where she serves as a historian. The AOH and Ladies AOH of Orange County later became my gracious sponsors!”

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

“To be a Rose is obviously a great honor, and I feel enormously blessed to stand as a representative of both New York and Irish culture, both of which I am passionate about. But it is more than that. To be a Rose is a promise I have now made; it’s a promise to my family to serve them proudly and reflect the wonderful upbringing with which I was provided, and a promise to the Irish diaspora to carry on the strong traditions of our heritage and, with my fellow Roses, step up as a new generation of Irish leaders.”

Tell us about your Irish heritage.

“While both my parents were born and raised in Rockland County, New York, just south of Orange, where they currently reside, both have traced their heritage back to Ireland with family in Mayo and Tyrone. Joining me for the regional festival next week, this will be my mother's first trip back to Ireland!”

You are a professional singer. Who are your musical influences? 

“I am currently writing and producing my own music, but prior to that I studied jazz and musical theater, and there is a lot of this influence in my own work. I consider myself a writer first, so the artists that keep the lyric a priority and allow the words to connect with and reflect the emotion in the music are always among my favorites.

“Eva Cassidy and Chet Baker are probably my all time favorite musicians, with Sara Bareilles and Michael Buble in the lead in today's generation.”

Describe the Rose of Tralee competition in three words.

“Culture, integrity, unity.”

 Interview by Molly Muldoon

2013 New York Rose Katie Mulholland