Laois Rose Maeve Dunne. Photo: Kevin Byrne
The 2017 Laois Rose Maeve Dunne will this weekend place the sash on the shoulders of her successor, after a busy year that was a dream come true for her.
Maeve, 28, an event organiser with Croke Park, cannot believe how fast her year as Laois Rose has flown by.
“It has been such a quick year. To become a Rose was a childhood dream come true. It has been so special to live a dream, it has been an absolutely fantastic year. It has really lived up to my expectations, boosted my confidence and created friendships and I am so thankful,” she said.
Among many duties she performed as Laois Rose, her volunteer trip to the Vesnova children's asylum with a many other Roses for Chernobyl Children Ireland, stands out in her memory.
“The Chernobyl trip is number one, it's something that I would always love to have done, but might never have put my mind to, without being a Rose.
“It was truly rewarding, and it opened my eyes to what is important in life,” she said.
The trip to New York to march in the St Patrick's Day Parade with all lthe Roses was also a huge moment.
“It was great as after the parade, we had time to relax together and have the craic. They are all such outgoing girls, and I can see myself always being friends with them always ,” she said.
She found a special little friend in her Rose Bud from the Tralee festival, Aoibheann from Tralee.
“We have kept in touch since and when I go to Tralee in August I will go and visit her and her family,” she said.
Maeve is proud to be the first Laois Rose from Mountmellick, and to share that honour with her parents Ger and Geraldine whose family business Emmet Stores Gala was her sponsor.
“The town really got behind me, and it gave my parents such a boost, I am glad I got the opportunity to give that to them,” she said.
Her charity was the Grow mental health organisation, which reopened meetings in Mountmellick this year.
“I hope I helped to get their name out there,” said Maeve.
Laois Rose Maeve Dunne pictured with some of the entrants to Laois Rose 2018.
She has already met some of the 17 entrants to the 2018 Laois Rose selection.
“It was lovely to meet them, and to answer their questions. They were the same questions I had myself a year ago, little worries about what to wear and how to answer questions,” she said.
Her advice to them was simple.
“At the end of they day, if you are not yourself, it will show, so just be yourself, you don't need to know answers in advance,” she said.
“Handing over that sash will be a little sad, the end of an amazing year for me, but it is so nice to able to support the new entrants. One of them will make it to Tralee ,” Laois Rose Maeve said.
Laois Rose Selection night takes place in the Midlands Park Hotel this Sunday May 6 at 7pm.
Laois Rose Maeve Dunne in New York for St Patrick's Day. Below: Meeting Victor during her trip to a Chernobyl childrens asylum in Vesnova.