Laois Rose Teresa Brennan is excitedly preparing for the Rose of Tralee Regional Finals in Portlaoise this weekend.
The Gaelcholáiste teacher from Barrowhouse will first celebrate the end of the school year with her students in Colaiste Pobail Osraí, Kilkenny tomorrow, before booking into the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel on Thursday for a whirlwind weekend of glamour, interviews and fun with 60 other Roses from around the world.
On Friday Teresa will welcome the Roses at the opening ceremony in the Plaza, before leading them in a vintage car parade up Main Street.
She will also bring some back to Barrowhouse to meet her family and neighbours.
The Roses will take part in three selection nights, enjoy an Irish music evening in the Maldron Hotel, a gala dinner in Castle Durrow, and visits to Emo Court and Mountmellick’s Summerfest’s ‘Beat on the Street’.
“I am mostly looking forward to meeting the other Roses. The parade will be a highlight, and making my speech at the opening will be a big moment,” she said.
There should be no stage fright for the petite blonde. who was the 2012 FBD Queen of the Land.
Teresa aged 25 has previously acted in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and runs her own drama summer school. She performs with Kilkenny Musical Society and Macra, and can sing and play several instruments, and is of course a fluent Irish speaker, bound to be a hit with stage interviewer Daithí O Sé .
With her talents and poise, hopes will be high that the Laois Rose will be one of the 23 finalists chosen to go to the International Festival in Tralee this August, to be joined by Roses from Kerry, Cork, Dublin, Sydney, New Zealand, Darwin, Perth, Queensland and South Australia.
“I think I am up to the challenge, I am looking forward to it. If I get through it’s great, if not, that’s the way it has to be. I am just plannnig to be myself,” said Teresa, who is looking forward to a busy year as Laois Rose either way.
Her chosen charity is Vita with whom she travelled to Ethiopia last year to research rural youth issues.
She will be supported by her parents Bernadette and Ignatius, brother James, and boyfriend Tom Dunne from Ballintubbert.
The regional finals have been in Portlaoise since 2008, a major tourism coup for the county, thanks to the efforts of Laois County Council and support of local businesses.
Teresa has no shortage of support from local businesses, says co-ordinator Anne Marie Bowe.
“There is such kind sponsorship from shops, they are so willing every year to get on board,” said Anne Marie, who was Laois Rose herself ten years ago.
Among the sponsors are Pamela Curtin, milliner who created headpieces to match each of Teresa’s dresses, supplied by boutiques such as Lily and Rose, Carrig Donn, TK Maxx, Born and a gown for Friday night sponsored by the Bridal Hall in Ballybrittas.
See full schedule of the finals on previous pages.