Twenty Rose hopefuls had their first official experience of being the Rose of Tralee, last Saturday when they toured the county visiting the competition’s many sponsors and visiting Mountmellick Hospital.
The tour began in the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel where the 20 Roses received their sash’s and met a mini-Rose, who no doubt will be donning the sash in years to come.
Leinster Express photographer, Alf Harvey, was on hand to take profile shots of the girls, which will appear in the paper in the coming week.
The girls were in the safe and capable hands of Laois Civil Defence members, Liam Preston and Liam Lynch who kindly gave up their day to chaperon the Roses around the county.
First stop was to Bankz Hair & Beauty to meet Barbara Aldritt and her talented staff, where they met their own little Rose Bud, Kodi Kavanagh. Bankz are sponsoring the hair again for Laois this year.
The tour then went to the Portlaoise Maldron Hotel for a beautiful lunch and time for the girls to sit back and relax for a while as Linda Gorman and the staff catered for all their needs.
“After lunch we headed to Mountmellick Hospital to meet Mary O’Connor, her dedicated staff and all the residents. We got a full tour of the hospital and got to meet everyone the Roses were made feel so welcome by everyone. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves,” Laois Rose co-ordinator, Sharon Preston explains.
By 3:30pm the girls were back on the bus and straight over to Portarlington Pharmacy Chemist.
Sharon continues: “We could hear the ‘Rose Of Tralee’ playing over the speakers as we pulled up, we were greeted by Aisling O’Connor all the staff and costumers, as all the girls walked the red carpet with red rose and champagne. We had a great time mingling and left with beautiful gift bags.”
Last stop was Brackens Mens wear in Portarlington for photos and a chat.
Sharon adds: “I would like to thank all the sponsors for the care and attention they gave to the Roses and all 20 sponsors who have put through Roses without your help we wouldn’t have a festival here.”
The 2012 Laois Rose will be crowned on Sunday, March 18.