Newly crowned Rose of Tralee, Rachel Duffy, said she hopes to become a role model for young girls, as she lacks a prominent female figure in her life.
the Westmeath Rose Cathy’s mother died when Rachel was 9 years old, and the 23-year-old said she felt her mother “looked down” on her from heaven last night.
“I was so shocked, I felt like my name was the last name I expected to hear,” she said.
“All the girls ran in and grabbed me and I told them not to let me go. I shook. I have never felt like this before in my life.
“I was terrified, but very scared.”
Rachel said she’d tried to talk about her mother’s death in the past, but over the last few years she’s found that being open has helped ease her grief.
“I definitely think that growing up, maybe it’s an Irish thing, I struggled to talk about my mother and maybe I didn’t talk to her as much as I should have,” she said.
“Only in the last few years have I learned to open up and talk about her.
“The more I talk about my mother, the closer I feel to her, and the more you talk about these things, the easier it is to grieve.
“I think as someone who grew up in a single family home without my mother by my side, I felt like I lacked a strong female role model in my life… growing up there was a lot of pressure. , so if I can be a role model for young girls, that’s all I can ask for.
“I hope I can do well in my role, and if I do, I want to show young girls that it’s not something you can have or don’t have. It’s about how you act as a person and how you treat others – and your life experiences, good or bad, make you a better person. “
Ms. Duffy, from Rosemount Village, Co Westmeath, works in the P Egan pub in Moate, but she had hoped to return to college in September and become a teacher of Spanish and English.
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However, she said this ambition may have to be put on hold as she will now represent the Rose of Tralee globally, with a travel prize of €25,000.
“I will have to sit down with my family and decide what is best, because (becoming a teacher) has always been my goal and dream but Rose of Tralee is also a dream,” she said.
“I never thought this would happen, so these are all things I have to consider and I will take my time making a decision on that.”
His father, Eamon Duffy, said: “I am proud and that is beyond belief, everything is beyond belief. Rachel is a wonderful girl, she is the youngest in the family and she is always full of surprises. She actually pulled it out of her pocket.
“She was great. She has had ups and downs along the way. Her mother passed away when she was nine years old, and she’s actually carrying the cape – she’s bringing it to Westmeath, she’s bringing it to the parish, and now to Tralee. We lost a lot, but we gained cohesion.”
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/new-rose-of-tralee-rachel-duffy-i-hope-im-a-role-model-for-young-girls-41935502.html Tralee Rachel Duffy’s new rose: ‘I hope I’m a role model for young girls’