Laois milliner Pamela Curtin checking a headpiece on the 2015 Laois Rose Teresa Brennan Picture Michael Scully
One of the most loyal sponsors of the Laois Rose is a Kerry woman who has made Laois her home.
Talented milliner Pamela Curtin from Portlaoise handmakes intricate beautiful hats and headpieces to compliment every special dress worn by each Laois Rose for the past six years.
She is happy to do her bit to help the Laois Roses look their best.
“I am proud to help each Laois Rose put their best food forward,” sbe said.
“I think the girls need all the support they can get. It is hard enough to get everything all prepared for Tralee. Every one of the Laois Roses have been just lovely, they just let me do my thing. They are so happy that it's another thing they don't have to worry about,” she said.
Some years it might involve three or four pieces but Pamela has created up to nine for Roses who had a lot of outfit changes. She doesn't mind giving her time for free.
“They are advertising my pieces and doing it very well,” she said.
After each Laois Rose is selected, Pamela arranges an initial consultation with them.
The new Laois Rose brings along her new dresses for the milliner to create bespoke matching headpieces.
“The headpieces just finish the outfits off. I design them to suit the person as well so for Grainne who is tall I could go larger on the pieces,” she said.
Each piece is hand glued and moulded and can take from three days to a week to create.
Pamela also creates the headwear for the New York Rose for the past eight years. She also now has the Abu Dhabi Rose and the Florida Rose as customers.
“The Laois Rose is always my number one priority, she gets my full attention,” said the milliner.
She grew up in Tralee.
“I go to the Rose of Tralee every year. I grew up not far from the Dome and I would always go and look at the parade. I left Tralee aged 21 and I am living in Laois for 28 years now,” she said.
The milliner is busy all year round but most especially for horsey events like the Dublin Horse show and Punchestown.
Her customers include influencer and stylist Lisa McGowan of Lisa's Lust List.
“A headpiece just finishes off an outfit. I look at each outfit and I can tell what kind of hat will suit it.
“If it is a very detailed outfit then a simple design works best, it's all about balance,” she said.
With lots of experience at the Rose of Tralee, she is happy to give advice to the girls taking to the stage in Castle Durrow on Good Friday, and for the lucky young woman chosen as the new Laois Rose.
“Just enjoy it. It will be gone by so fast,” Pamela said.