Laois Rose Grainne Hogan on stage with Dáithí Ó Sé. Pic @RoseofTralee_
Huge changes have just been announced to the Rose of Tralee format, on the back of the emotional impact on Roses who fail to qualify for the television stage interviews.
The Rose of Tralee International Festival has made a major change to ensure every Rose who goes to Tralee will get the full experience of chatting with Daithí live on RTE.
They have opted to make it a bi-annual event for almost every Rose Centre, so that only every second year, a Rose will go to Tralee to represent them and will be guaranteed to be in the TV final.
The Midlands counties who will feature in the 2019 event includes Laois and Kilkenny.
Offaly and Carlow will have to wait until 2020 to send their next Roses to the Tralee Dome.
In the interim years, those centres will celebrate their supporters, Roses and sponsors with a gala charity ball in aid of a local charity.
In all 32 Roses will take part now each year instead of 66. The only centres guaranteed a place are Dublin, Cork and Kerry. International Rose Centres also have to wait every other year to send a Rose.
Lyn Moloney is Laois Rose Co-Ordinator.
"I welcome this decision, having experienced the festival close at hand in recent years, I feel it is the right one for the girls. It was causing devastation for them, though they did their best to be happy for their sister Roses. Now the experience for all 32 Roses in Tralee will be second to none," she said.
Another big change have been announced for Laois, which is proudly represented by the current Laois Rose Grainne Hogan this year.
The Laois Rose Selection Night is moving from the Heritage Hotel in Portlaoise, to Castle Durrow.
"We have been in Portlaoise since we started Laois Rose in 2003, so it is time for a change. Castle Durrow has a great affinity for the Rose of Tralee, from the time it hosted afternoon teas for the Regional final. We are delighted to give back to Peter and Shelley and we are sure everyone will enjoy this beautiful venue which even has a rose garden and possible a marquee for the event, creating our own Laois Rose Dome," said Steve Cronly, Commercial Manager with the Rose of Tralee.
Farmer Grainne Hogan from Camross was a star on stage this year, milking a cow and gaining nationwide praise for her down to earth hard work ethic. See more here.
"That fact that Grainne made it to the televised final was excellent, she has enhanced the whole event in Laois and helped raise its profile. We already have interest in the 2019 Laois Rose," said Lyn.
Other changes include a higher age limit, with young women aged 18 to 29 now eligible. Sponsorship has risen from €250 to €300 but the organisers are confident that with the guaranteed exposure on national television, sponsors will be eager to get involved.
Executive Chair of the Rose of Tralee International Festival is Anthony O’Gara.
“Moving from the Regional Festival (staged from 2004 to 2015) to bringing all our Roses directly to the Rose of Tralee International Festival for the past three years has been generally very positively received. There is one challenging aspect to the new format that does not sit well with any of us and that we want to address, the selection of 32 Roses from 66 for the TV Selection. Regardless of how sensitively we handle that, it is not in-keeping with our ethos or our tradition. Our focus is to celebrate and respect the passion and emotion, and indeed the time and financial investment that every Rose, her family and Centre invest with us,” he said.
The search for the 2019 Laois Rose will officiall kick off in November, with the Laois final expected to take place in June 2019. Entries can already be submitted on www.roseoftralee.ie/apply. The Rose of Tralee International Festival will celebrate 60 Years from Friday 16 to Tuesday 20 August 2019.