Tara Roche will represent Kilkenny at the prestigious Rose of Tralee festival this year. The Callan girl was selected last weekend at what was described as one of the best-attended selection events held in the country so far.
Tara is a well-known animal lover and the veterinary nurse who played an active role in nursing abandoned and mistreated animals during the recent spell of animal cruelty we saw in Kilkenny. It is a true testament to her kind nature, as the people of Callan can confirm.
Lyn Moloney, joint coordinator of the Kilkenny Rose competition said "It was a huge surprise to Tara but she handled it like a pro, she was very composed in her acceptance, it was lovely to see her and her family so happy and emotional"
Over 500 people attended the event, Rose of Tralee representative Anthony O'Gara commented: " it's the largest crowd we've seen outside of Dublin." Speaking to the Kilkenny People, Lyn Moloney said: "we are thrilled with the attendance and support on the night."
Selection day began at 8:30 am for Kilkenny Rose hopefuls with individual interviews with the three judges John Walsh, Charlene Foley, the 2005 London Rose and Marianne Acreman.
The hopefuls were then split up into groups where they were interviewed again by the judges on a number of topics.
After all the interviews, the girls began preparation for the big night, hair was provided from Caroline Conroy and Jade Scanlon of Edge Hair Salon Callan, makeup was provided by Tara Power and her assistant Evelyn from Callan.
At 6 pm the Rose hopefuls were reunited with their Rosebuds, the girls were full of giggles and excitement ahead of the show and plenty of selfies were taken as they were dolled up in their gowns
During the event, the crowd was treated to party pieces from some of the rose hopefuls, this included singing and other acts, with one rose
Throughout the interval, the audience was treated to songs from Frank and Mark Kelly and an exceptional speech from Sarah Curran, the 2016 Kilkenny Rose, who spoke about her year as a Rose and the duties and honour it entails.
There was a raffle on the night, and money raised was split between two charities, 'Saving Dylan' and 'Children of Chernobyl' co- coordinator Lyn Moloney said "the crowd was phenomenally generous, we can't thank them enough for their donations which will help both charities hugely"
All the rose hopefuls were treated to an after party at Kytlers Inn which ran late into the night and the Rosebuds were treated to party bags and their own party at the Ormonde hotel where they had a bouncy castle and treats from Mac Donagh Junction and The Ormonde Hotel.
Lyn Moloney and Steve
Commenting on the success of the competition Lyn said "this was my first year being a part of the competition, I can't get over how much of a success it was. This year saw the largest amount of Rose Hopefuls in Kilkenny, we had a great time with the girls over the past few weeks during all the events and the girls themselves even made life-long friendships throughout the competition."
Speaking about Tara's new role as Kilkenny Rose, Lyn Moloney said:
"It's a busy road ahead but Steve and I will be there to help her along the way to Tralee, we are hoping to host a fundraiser for Tara within the next few weeks in Callan and hope that the shops of Kilkenny will help out in preparing Tara for the competition with outfits and beauty."
Tara will make the trip down to Tralee in August for a week-long festival of events with Roses from all over the country.