Rose of Tralee: ‘Why shouldn’t married and transgender women be allowed to participate?’ – Participants welcome a more inclusive pageant

The Rose of Tralee Festival is back after a two-year hiatus and yesterday there was a warm endorsement from the 33 participants for new rules reflecting the modern times.

Married women can now participate, the maximum age for participants has been raised to 29, and transgender women can also participate.

Galway Rose Clare Ann Irwin said it was “absolutely fantastic” that the criteria for entry had been expanded.

“It wouldn’t have affected me directly because I’m not married, I’m not trans and I’m only 26 years old, but I think it’s absolutely amazing,” she said.

“Why shouldn’t they be allowed to party and be part of an inclusive and incredible festival?

“Ultimately it celebrates women and I think the changes to the criteria are really a sign of the times and how progressive we have become as a nation.

“In my opinion, married women and women in their 20s tend to have more life experiences.

“It’s amazing that diverse women from all walks of life are brought together.”

Jenny Byrne, 25, this year’s Cork Rose, said she wholeheartedly approves of the move to raise the maximum entry age to 29.

“I think it’s really good that women who are a bit older are allowed to participate because I’m 25 years old and over the past few years I probably would have felt some pressure to get in before my time was up.

“At least we have a little more time with the widening of the age range. I would still consider women in their 30s as young women.

“Anything that takes the festival forward and brings it closer to the 21st century and mainstream acceptance is brilliant.

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“We’re constantly seeing the festival and society in general changing and evolving, so I think it’s great that we’re moving with the times.”

Rachel Duffy, 23, representing Westmeath, is delighted that something as traditional as the Rose of Tralee is moving with the times.

“I think the Rose of Tralee is something that’s so traditional within the framework of Irish culture and life and Ireland has come a long way in many ways over the last 30 or 40 years in terms of inclusion and diversity,” said you.

“And I think now to see how the Rose of Tralee gives people space to just be themselves and be proud of who they are, no matter how they identify or whether they’re single or married or have a child , I think brilliant .

“It’s great to see how it goes with the times. There is always room for improvement and to see the Rose of Tralee making those improvements is amazing.”

All three women said they decided to enter their local Rose competitions to make new friends because of a craving for socializing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I thought entering the Cork Rose competition would be a great way to make new friends and meet some people in my home county that I’ve been away from and then returned to,” said Ms Byrne.

“And I think even after Covid we were lonely and stuck at home. I ended up meeting some really nice girls who I’ve stayed in touch with. It was a great way to meet new people.”

Ms Irwin said she entered the Galway Rose competition because many of her friends had emigrated and she wanted to meet new people, but she also wanted to share her story of working in a male-dominated profession.

She is the first embalmer and undertaker to work in her family’s funeral home since it was founded in 1834.

After working as a teacher for three years, she decided that her true calling was in the funeral industry, but she was discouraged from pursuing this profession at a young age because of her gender.

“I’m so much happier in the funeral business. I could have continued teaching – it’s a nice job and I loved it, but I knew deep down that it wasn’t my true purpose.” Rose of Tralee: ‘Why shouldn’t married and transgender women be allowed to participate?’ – Participants welcome a more inclusive pageant

Fry Electronics Team

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