Portarlington mother, Margaret Walsh is brimming with pride at the success of her daughter at the Rose of Tralee.
Margaret's daughter and Abu Dhabi Rose, Dearbhladh Walsh did her town and family proud last week in the kingdom.
Dearbhladh was one of the final Roses interviewed on the first night of the famous contest by host Dáithí Ó Sé and she put in a great perfmance.
The teacher, who is on a career break from Port's Presentation Convent Primary School, got a great welcome from the audience in the Dome.
Dearbhladh, aged 24, told Dáithí her big support included father Billy and mother Margaret, who is well known to many in Port as the recently retired principal of the Presentation Convent .
Also there were her brothers, Ronan and Paul, “lovely boyfriend” Eric, granny Kathleen Quinn, aunts uncles, extended relatives and a big gang of “unbelievable friends.”
Even though she wore a classic blue dress on the night, Dearbhladh made her home Offaly allegiences clear early on.
“I'd say about a third of Portarlington is in Offaly but that is the part I claim anyway. Thankfully the River Barrow divides us (from Laois) and I'm an Offaly woman out and out.
“I live inside the border and my brothers would kill me if I ever said otherwise,” she said.
Dearbhladh said she spent three years teaching in Port but always felt she wanted to travel, an urge that brought her to the Gulf.
“ It was always on the back my mind (to travel). So I said to myself I've done the three years teaching, why not take a career break and step outside my comfort zone,” she said.
The Rose praised the advantages of Abu Dhabi such as the weather, low tax, lifestyle and Irish community.
Dáithí persuaded Dearbhladh to tell the story of an incident in college involving a dog and false teeth. Dearbhladh reckoned Kate Hyland, the Laois Rose and her good friend and teaching colleague, may have “ratted her out” on the story.
Dearbhladh stole the show with a sweet performance of the famous Irish song, The Parting Glass.
She also played the harp. During the performance the camera cut to a shot of her near mother Margaret who was near tears.
Dearbhladh's mum said she had a great time
“It was a great family occasion too. It is very intensive and all go for the Roses. It is not easy on them.
“I was very proud of her. She did very well but the Chicago Rose did deserve it. She really was a beautiful person very articulate. But Dearbhaldh was delighted with the experience and her singing was lovely.
“We were immensely proud of her. She was very articulate and it is no harm to see Irish women portray themselves like that,” she said.
Just retired, Margaret is off to Abu Dhabi in October.
As for Dearbhladh she was on her way back to Gulf just two days after the contest. She said there were many highlights but she really enjoyed being on stage and also got a great kick out of the parades.
She also enjoyed being the centre of everthing.
“You are never going to get that type of attention from people again,” she said.
She said it was very important for here to mention her home town and county.
“I know I live in Abu Dhabi but I was born and reared in Offaly. I couldn’t let that side down,” she said.
While she will likely miss her adopted home, she intends returing to her teaching job in Portarlington.
“Thanks to everybody for all the support in particular the people of Portarlington and all my family and friends,” she said.