Laois Rose Kate Hyland is on the home straight for the Rose of Tralee festival, and is preparing to represent her county with pride.
Kate Hyland joins a nationwide Rose of Tralee tour next Tuesday August 16 starting a week of festivities.
The final touches are being added to dresses created by Laois fashion designer Heidi Higgins, as well as a “Laois blue” silk and lace gown for her Rose Dome interview, by dressmaker Frances Cuddy from Camross, and her bespoke hairpieces by milliner Pamela Curtin.
“I feel very privileged to be showcasing Laois designers. The support from everyone has been absolutely amazing. I am getting so many well wishes, and ‘good luck’ cards coming in the letterbox. Everyone is behind me,” she said, also thanking the many local boutiques, salons and businesses who are sponsoring her, particularly her main sponsor Sheerans of Coolrain.
Like every good primary teacher, she is preparing in advance for her preliminary stage interview on Wednesday August 17.
“I am constantly talking to myself in the car, people probably think I’m mad but I do it when I am asked to make a speech,” she said.
With 65 Roses in Tralee this year hoping to make it to the final televised Dome interviews, the Portlaoise hockey captain believes it is all to play for.
“It’s hard to tell what they are looking for so who knows. Whatever happens I will just be who I am. I am very sociable and I like meeting new people and having the craic. You have to be who you are, if you were false and lucky enough to win, it would be a very long year,” she said.
An accomplished musician with Camross Comhaltas, she will play a slow and fast tune on the flute for her stage talent, and last week she met host Daithí O Sé in RTE to break the ice and rehearse her piece.
It is a busy few months since she was crowned Laois Rose in April, with the Killarney Races, the Donkey Derby in Ballacolla, and Durrow Scarecrow Festival among her recent official appearances.
She will have lots of support in Tralee, with parents Canice and Olga, siblings Shane, Ciaran and Ruth, boyfriend Tom Delaney, aunts and uncles including an aunt who has flown in from Colorado, her fellow comhaltas musicians, friends and “a crowd from Ballacolla”.
Colleagues from Portarlington Presentation Primary will also be there to support not just Kate, but her colleague, Abu Dhabi Rose Dearbhladh Walsh, and Coláiste Iosagáin teacher Conor Mitchell, a Rose escort.
Kate is prepared for the “pure madness” of Rose week.
“I hear the street parade and the Rose Ball are amazing, it is an enormous festival this year. There is pure excitement,” she said.
Final interviews are live on RTE on August 22 and 23.