The Leinster Express as local media sponsor of the Laois Rose of Tralee is happy to keep you up to date with the selection night tonight!
A total of 17 girls will take to the stage tonight and we will keep you updated on each girl and of course the chosen Laois Rose at the end of the night.
The celebrations have just kicked off with MC of the night, Ollie Turner from Galway Bay FM.
Laois Rose 2017, Maeve Dunne is here to hand over the sash and title to the next deserving Rose.
Check out all of the ladies' profiles here.
The 17 Laois Rose hopefuls have made an impressive entrance to the Midlands Park Hotel accompanied by Laois Rose Buds.
Fantastic support here for all of the Laois Rose hopefuls here tonight!
The 2018 Kilkenny Rose is here to support all of the Laois Rose ladies. All of the Laois Rose Buds introduced themselves on stage and told Ollie what they are hoping to get from Santa this year!
All of the Laois Rose buds on stage, introducing themselves to kickstart the night!
Laois Rose entrant, Bronwyn Dunne, from Abbeyleix is up first! Bronwyn is talking about how she runs her own beauty therapy business. Business brain Bronwyn is discussing how the beauty industry has changed with social media. Her uncle played trombone in the Garda band, she has always wanted to take part in the Rose of Tralee. Her granny released a CD to all her favourite songs including Lovely Laois! Bronwyn took to the stage to sing 'Make You Feel My Love' by Adele.
Clara Bambrick from Arles is next on stage sponsored by The High Tree pub owned by her granny Bridie and grandad Paddy! Clara is telling the crowd about working in a 24 hour McDonalds while studying hairdressing! Her dad still plays GAA at 40 years old which received a big cheer from the crowd! Clara is proud to be related to a couple of 'star' Laois footballers and there is a keen interest in horse racing in the family too.
Jennifer Connaughton is studying Business and Spanish at GMIT and started off by telling the crowd about her Galway connections. Ollie tried to speak some Spanish to Jennifer inspired by Dora the Explorer. Jennifer taught Ollie a few Spanish words of wisdom. She visited Spain during Easter! She now lives outside Galway city and comes home every week. Dancing and music are a big part of her life. She teachers the juniors in Ratheniska Comhaltas and enjoys working in a petrol station in Stradbally. She has a big gang of supporters here tonight! Jennifer played a tune on tin whistle entertaining the crowd.
Next on stage is Samantha Keenan from Mountmellick. Samantha is a model and spoke about the modelling industry. There are no size restrictions in the agency where Samantha models which she is passionate about. She has always wanted to be a model but thought her height would stop her. She works full time as a commercial model and says it is a brilliant way to build confidence. She wants to work in Paris or Milan some day. Samantha keeps busy kickboxing, hiking and horse riding. She is hoping to travel to Amsterdam for a photoshoot and hopes to be a top model some day. Her mother made a banner on the night to support her.
Next up is hairdresser Leanne Dowling who works in Stradbally. She said the town is very busy for hair cuts and is looking forward to a weekend off for Electric Picnic! Leanne is a mammy to three beautiful girls, two of the girls were Rose Buds tonight while almost one year old Hannah supports from her buggy beside the stage! Leanne loves cooking and listening to music. Leanne taught about going for Laois Rose for a long time and her two daughters wanted to be Rose Buds so they all went for it together!
Aava Hearns from Barrowhouse is on stage next, she is studying in Mary I, Limerick doing an Arts course because she was unsure what she wants to teach and is having a great time. She wants to teach English, Geography and PE. AAva lives outside Limerick in digs, she calls herself a homebird and is big into volleyball. She started in Portlaoise College and has won three All Ireland's in a row. Aava spoke about her trip to Gambia and her family.
Joy Turley is next up. She is wearing a beautiful bridesmaid dress which belongs to her sister! She is heading to the MakeUp Crew college in September to become fully qualified as a makeup artist. Joy is the second model of the night, she often does photoshoots with Portlaoise Camera Club. Joy has a huge crew supporting her tonight at the Midlands Park Hotel. She has always wanted to try the Rose of Tralee and set herself the challenge to do different things this year. She described her 21st birthday which included a spa day and a 'bold night out'!
Up next on stage is Liz O'Rourke who loves tattoos! She has a big crew of supporters here tonight. Liz works in Youth Work Ireland Laois with 10-25 year olds. She has a keen interest in the Arts which she has brought to the Youth Cafe in Portlaoise. She feels she is making a difference with young people in Laois by working in a safe place for young people. Liz has a fiancé, Dylan who is supporting her tonight. He popped the question two years ago but there is no date set for the big day yet! Liz spoke about her tattoos which featured roses and her granny's handwriting. She has 26 in total and is hoping to get an apprenticeship to be a tattoo artist.
Local lady Sharon Byrne from Portlaoise is up next, she is a teacher in a boarding school in Kilkenny and had to stay over in the school one time when her Toyota Yaris broke down! Sharon will be supervising exams during the summer. She has a keen interest in athletics although she said she does more of a 'trot' than a run! Sharon has done a number of fundraisers including trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp which is 5,300 metres which she said was 'amazing'! Sharon had to buy her own ticket to go to Ed Sheehan with her boyfriend! She has a big family who are all here tonight supporting her.
Samantha Delaney is up next who also has tattoos. Her tattoo of a lion's head represents bravery for her and her best friend has a matching tattoo with her! Samantha is from Ballyroan and works as a beauty therapist in a Style Bar, she just started working there the two weeks ago! She wants to work for herself some day. She has a daughter, Carly who is one year old. Samantha's great grandfather is 86 years old and the five generations of family got a big round of applause! Samantha is engaged to Urs from Ballyroan. He was named after his dad's friend who he met in the army. They set their wedding date for August 2019! Samantha waxed Ollie Turner's leg on stage to show off her beauty therapy skills!
Saoirse Territt from Luggacurren is up next. She has traveled for over one year, she was in Greece for five months and spent seven months in Asia. She is only in the door! In Greece she managed a nightclub which she said was interesting! She said there is a lot of Irish in Greece and that the nightclubs stayed open till 9am! She has organised a ball for Breast Cancer Awareness in Asia with a huge Irish community.
Farmer Grainne Hogan from Camross is on stage next. She studied in Gurteen agricultural college with 100 boys and three girls! She is proud to work for a Ballacolla dairy farm with 110 cows, where she milks cows, spreads slurry and fertiliser! She is a glamorous farmer and drives huge tractors, she grew up on a farm and keeps a couple of sheep on the side. Grainne has supporters from the Macra here tonight with a huge banner. Every Thursday she goes to the livestock sale in Mountrath with her neighbours. Ollie did a great impression of a livestock stage which impressed the crowd! Her nephew Frankie is very special to her, he has spina bifida and got a new wheelchair last week, he is three years old and a huge inspiration to Grainne. Grainne's primary school teacher was supporting her in the crowd with a big banner. She challenged Ollie to milk a cow on stage!
Half time! What do you think of the Laois Rose hopefuls so far? Let us know on Facebook or tweet us @LaoisNews #LaoisRose2018
Back after the break and Laois Rose 2017, Maeve Dunne has welcomed everyone back on stage. Maeve wonders back to her selection night a year ago.
"From the moment my name was announced on that stage that night, my whole life changed," she said.
Maeve spoke about the memories she has made in Belarus, the bond she has with her Rose bud and Rose sisters. She said the festival has made her think about life in different ways and she thanked all of the people who have helped her over the last 12 months.
Ciara Dunne from Ballybrittas is on stage next. She has applied for her Masters degree online and wants to be a teacher. Ciara speaks fluent Irish and has worked in Portlaoise in the past. She wants to be a primary school teacher to junior infants. Ciara sang a brilliant version of 'Your Song' by Ellie Goulding as Gaeilge and played guitar for the audience.
Mountmellick woman, Aisling O'Sullivan, got a huge cheer from the crowd as she walked on stage. Aisling works in Treacey's in The Heath and says it is 'great fun'. She is a qualified social care worker which she found stressful and has recently taken a break from the work. She said every day was different, the winter was hard and it was stressful at times. She hopes to go back into youth work and currently volunteers with forage in Portarlington. She is heading off to Greece in September with her boyfriend Kieran. Aisling is passionate about recycling and the environment, she wants to raise awareness of the oceans full of plastic. She said the Rose of Tralee is the 'experience of a lifetime'.
Laois Rose hopeful Niamh Clancy is from Durrow. She is studying childcare and special needs and hopes to further her education next year. She is a keen dancer, she loves hip hop but has finished her Irish dancing career. She has travelled to France to dance and her two brothers were supporting her in the crowd on the night.
Nicole Brady is up next. She works in the Midlands Park Hotel. Nicole studies in Carlow and gets a lift to college with her boyfriend in his Ford Fiesta! Nicole had lively family in the crowd from Cavan. She is in the Clodiagh Players Drama group in Clonaslee. She has played a lead role as a nun and went to the All Ireland Drama Festival. She said she has had great experiences with the drama group! She is just back from a trip to Poland where she visited Auschwitz and she is going to Amsterdam soon.
The final Rose hopeful of the night was welcomed with a big round of applause. Naomi Griffith is from Portlaoise and is qualified in childcare. She works in Petmania and someday wants to open her own creche. She looks after rabbits, reptiles, birds and all sorts of animals in Petmania. She said there is huge demand for snakes and rabbits, every day is different in her job. She did Irish dancing and loves dancing around the house. Her brother Daryl is away in America at the moment but the rest of her family was in the crowd! Naomi did a 'blackbird' dance on stage!
Thanks for staying with us tonight, we will be on hand to announce the chosen Laois Rose 2018 shortly!
Grainne Hogan's supporters banner was chosen as 'Best Banner' on the night! Grainne's Macra friends made the poster where she is a dedicated member.
Best dressed woman on the night was Shelly Stokes who was supporting Niamh Clancy from Durrow.
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