Texas Rose from Houston with Abbeyleix and Mexican roots takes a stand for immigrants and ranchers at Rose of Tralee
Laois has found a surprise hero at the Rose in Tralee in the shape of the Texas Rose who has taken a stance against Donald Trump's Wall.
Lydian Lawler Lopez, from Houston, is part Mexican, American and Laois. With a quintessential Laois name, she revealed her links to Abbeyleix to Daithi O Se in the Dome on the second night of live interviews on RTÉ. Lydian's Laois links are on her mother's side, she told the host.
Lydian told Daithi she had recently taken up Gaelic football with the Houston Gaels but said she had told her coach that she "was running for her life" he he advised her to treat the sport like Irish dancing.
Lydian told Daithi she wants to be an immigration lawyer. She said she wants to help people come to the United States. Lydian was asked for her opinion of Donald Trump's wall.
"The Government doesn't realise that the wall would be intruding on people's land in Texas and on people's farms and ranches that have been there for 100 years. So my hope is people in Texas will not have to deal with their land and farms being built on and I will continue to help people come to Houston and the United States," she said.
Her stance against the wall resonate with the writings of famous Laois patriot and namesake, James Fintan Lawlor.
Her stance on the wall drew a response on twitter with one tweet saying Donald Trump had ordered a wall to be built around the Lydian.
The Texas Rose entertained the Dome audience with a sweet Tex-Mex song.
Lydian makes up somewhat for the disappointment of Laois Rose Maeve Dunne and Perth Rose Kerrie Anne Barnes, whose mum is from Mountmellick. Neither made it to the televised show. Read story here
Offaly Rose Jennifer Byrne was crowned Rose of Tralee 2017.
Here is Lydian's written message to the Festival:
Lydia Hi y’all, my name is Lydian Lawler Lopez, the 2017 Texas Rose. I am 27 years old and live, and work in Houston, Texas, which is the fourth largest city in the United States.
I attended the University of Houston and received my Bachelor’s Degree in English and Pre-Law in 2015. I currently work in the Texas Medical Center as an Administrative Coordinator and plan to attend law school in the near future with an emphasis in Immigration Law.
My Irish roots come from my mother’s side of the family, the Lawler’s, who are from Abbeyleix, Co Laois. My father’s side of the family is from Mexico City. Being from a multicultural background has allowed me to connect with diverse communities in the city of Houston as well as the many countries I have visited around the world.
Volunteer work has been an important aspect of my life throughout the years. I have volunteered since I was 14 years old at Texas Children’s Hospital, and immigrant and refugee assistance organizations such as Casa Juan Diego and Interfaith Ministries. Working with these groups has changed my life and I hope to inspire others to give of their time and generosity to their local community volunteer organizations.
One of my biggest passions is Irish Dance; I have been an Irish dancer since the age of five. I volunteer as the McTeggart South Texas performance coordinator and dance coach. I am also taking the TCRG exam this year to become a certified Irish dance teacher. I enjoy staying active in the Houston Irish community and I was excited to join our local GAA team, the Houston Gaels, this year.
I am so honored to have been selected as the 2017 Texas Rose of Tralee and I am extremely excited to meet the rest of the Roses for this once in a lifetime experience.