Kilkenny Rose, Helena Hughes
The road to Tralee for Kilkenny Rose, Helena Hughes and International Rose of Tralee Escorts Alan Grincell and Paul Kelly kicked off on Saturday with a fantastic farewell party hosted by MacDonagh Junction.
The day began with Helena and the guys arriving there to be kitted out by Carrig Donn, Jack and Jones Diesel and Lifestyle Sports.
The Kilkenny trio toured the centre under the watchful eye of Donna Byrne and were greeted by this year’s little Rosebuds and the general public where they had the opportunity to throw some fun questions at Helena, Alan and Paul.
From there the group went to KBowl for some fun bowling with Manager Shane Murphy who is a loyal supporter of the Kilkenny Rose Centre.
“We then went to Brogan’s bar to take in the hurling and some light refreshments before sitting down to a gorgeous meal compliments of the award-winning restaurant, Aroi.
“It was a fantastic send-off for our three representatives in the Rose of Tralee International Festival. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors involved and wish Helena, Alan and Paul the very best. Kilkenny will be well represented in The Dome,” said festival organiser, Lyn Moloney.
Helena Hughes is a big fan of the Rose of Tralee competition and believes that it is an ‘excellent platform for young women’.
The 25-year-old grew up in Kilkenny City before moving to Kells. She now lives in Dublin where she works in the make up department for Brown Thomas.
The affable young woman grew up in the postcard pretty area of Talbotsinch before moving to the historic village of Kells as a teenager.
“It was brilliant - I had the best of both worlds.” she said.
Helena is the daughter of Helen Hughes, a well known piano player in the city and she is no stranger to the stage having helped out veteran broadcaster, Aonghus McAnally at the Kilkenny People of the Year awards.
The 25-year-old has obviously found her niche and is now studying a Masters in Fashion Buying and Management on a part time basis.
She completed her internship with Penneys Head Office in Dublin and she has also worked alongside the Irish designer, Liz Quinn.
Helena now works in a cosmetics buying position in Brown Thomas and enjoys her role there.
“It is a very positive place to work and there is a very supportive team there,” she added.
Helena has always harboured hopes of being a Rose.
“This year I just decided to go for it and it has been a really good experience. I think the Rose of Tralee is an excellent platform for young women and it is a celebration of real people.
“It highlights how being inspirational can be within reach and you get to see different and positive qualities in all of the Roses. It is uniquely Irish and I suppose it is really a personality competition. I am massively looking forward to representing Kilkenny and I am very excited and I am going to make the very most of it.
“I am very happy to be an ambassador for Kilkenny and I am very proud to be from here. I just love the friendliness of Kilkenny. It is a very creative and special city and I really hope the Abbey Site is developed well and that a third level institution comes to Kilkenny. Not everyone gets the opportunity to come back,” she added.
She cites her grandmother Hannah Mulhall as being one of her biggest influences and greatest friends.
“I am her biggest fan,” she said.