Laois Rose Teresa Maria Brennan is poised and ready to enjoy the weekend of a lifetime, as one of the 32 finalists in the Rose of Tralee International Festival this weekend.
The gaelcholáiste teacher, aged 25, at Colaiste Pobail Osraí, Kilkenny has made the most of her summer break.
She raised green flags in Ballybrittas and in her native Barrowhouse, attended a county council meeting, visited Kolbe special school and Stradbally country market. A flurry of final preparations is now underway, supported by local businesses. Her dresses are from designer Heidi Higgins, boutiques the Bridal Hall and Lily & Rose, with headpieces by milliner Pamela Curtin and hairstyles by the Hair Gallery.
She still had time for a big celebration with family and friends in Flemings Pub of Ballylinan before she departs.
Teresa has expert help from former Laois roses turned co-ordinators Anne Marie Bowe and Bernadette Ni Riain, and Sarah Conlon.
“We were up till midnight last night in my house, matching outfits to bags and shoes and trying everything on. I am having a ball. The time off has been a blessing,” said Teresa, who popped back to school to check exam results with her pupils after the regionals, to be greeted with joy.
“They told me they had been following social media all night, and when I got through there was great excitement,” said Teresa.
It has been three years since a Laois Rose made it through the regional finals in Portlaoise, with Sinead Fennell the last to do so. Out of 60 roses in the regionals, only 23 were chosen to go to Tralee for the live televised final. Teresa, who was 2012 Macra Queen of the Land, is excited rather than nervous.
“There is stiff competition, but to be honest I was really nervous before the regionals, because everybody wants to go to Tralee. Getting through was like winning, just getting to have that experience, whatever happens I am really going to enjoy it. We first go around Ireland on tour, and once we hit Tralee, it’s mayhem, with so much to do, interviews and rehearsals, it’s very intense,” she said.
She will again sing during her interview, but the song choice is under wraps.
“It is not completely decided, RTE have the final say, they might want something different,” she said.
Teresa will be supported by her proud parents Bernadette and Ignatius, brother James, and boyfriend Tom Dunne. Her brother Kevin will watch from afar in San Francisco.
“I am really looking forward to seeing the crowd from Barrowhouse. My uncle will be home from America and he is coming down too. Everyone has been so supportive, I think most of them are going to Tralee, it’s going to be great craic,” she said.
The festival runs from Friday August 15 to August 19.
See pictures of her send off celebration in Ballylinan on page 36 of this week’s Leinster Express.