Va va voom as French scholar Aobhin represents Les Cats at Rose of Tralee regional finals

AOIBHÍN Murphy could become the first Kilkenny Rose to be crowned the Rose of Tralee since Orla O’Shea took the coveted crown in 2004.

AOIBHÍN Murphy could become the first Kilkenny Rose to be crowned the Rose of Tralee since Orla O’Shea took the coveted crown in 2004.

But the student of French and Classics at Trinity College Dublin is taking things one step at a time as she prepares to take part in the Regional Finals of the Rose of Tralee from June 1st to 3rd in Portlaoise.

“The experience has been amazing so far and I really can’t wait to meet the other 52 other Roses from all over the world, especially the Fionnuala Nic Giolla Bháin, the Donegal Rose, who will be my room-mate for the weekend,” said Aoibhín, who will take to the stage at the start of the second selection night on Saturday 2nd June.

The Regional Finals of the Rose of Tralee will bring together Roses from the USA, Ireland, Britain, Europe, Canada and United Arab Emirates and the selection nights on June 1, 2 & 3 in the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel, will be hosted by Dáithí Ó Sé. It will be Dáithí’s last public engagement before fulfilling his wedding engagement to 2008 New Jersey Rose, Rita Talty in July.

Everyone who visits Portlaoise this June Bank Holiday will experience a carnival atmosphere complete with funfair, musical entertainment for all the family and to top it all off, the Gordon Bennett Irish Classic Car Run which is open to all vintage veteran and classic cars, motorcycles and commercials registered prior to 1980.

The Roses and their families will also visit some well known Laois landmarks such as Castle Durrow, Emo House & Gardens, Killenard Golf Club and a range of entertainment events in the local hostelries.

Tickets to the selection nights of the Rose of Tralee Regional Finals at the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel are available from www.roseoftralee.ie.

The weekend-long festival in Portlaoise is being jointly hosted by Laois Tourism, Laois County Council, the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel, the Maldron Hotel Portlaoise, Castle Durrow with the support of the entire local business community for their hospitality.

The Regional Finals were introduced in 2004 to offer more people an opportunity to participate in the Rose of Tralee International Festival. This has been a resounding success as the number of Rose Centres has grown to well over 60 and the event is a well-established and prestigious part of the process to finding the next Rose of Tralee.

The 2012 Rose of Tralee International Festival will take place from Friday 17th to Tuesday 21st August.