Music filled the streets of Tralee town yesterday as locals danced to clowns playing the bagpipes, young girls took photos with the 2022 roses and businesses breathed a sigh of relief as their most profitable time of the year returned.
It has been three years since the Rose of Tralee Festival last took place. A tradition since 1959, the festival is the city’s most important week, as it pumps between 10 and 15 million euros directly into the economy every year.
Every year every pub in town sponsors Roses and yesterday every woman and their families had a few drinks in their new pub and took photos with some of the festival goers.
The Fiddler Pub and Restaurant welcomed Monaghan Rose Rachel Woods and Perth Rose Olivia Duffy and their friends and families ahead of their first big night of television today.
Ms Duffy is from Meath but has lived in Perth for the past three years where she works as a radiation oncologist.
Due to the pandemic, this trip home to Ireland was the first time she has seen her family since moving Down Under.
When I come home I feel like I’m in a bubble, there are no words for that
“The world has changed and everyone has had to be quiet for a while, so this is my first time home since I moved away, and it’s very special to be home,” she said Irish Independent.
“I have a big community and a lot of good friends in Perth but when I come home I just feel like I’m in a bubble, there are no words for that.
“I will return to Perth but Ireland will always be my home. Perth is great but I’ve learned to live in the moment, especially after the last few years.”
Her proud mother, Mary Duffy, said it was surreal that not only was she home, but that her family could share such a special experience.
“Oh my god, after three and a half years [I missed her so much],” She said.
“We were going to Perth but Covid locked us in and then the borders didn’t open and now here she is. We’ve always thought of the Rose of Tralee as family and my mum idolized her and we’ve always said ‘sure, maybe one day Olivia could step foot on the Rose of Tralee’, I think she’s a wonderful ambassador.”
The Fiddler’s Brogan Rodgers said she was delighted to welcome the two Roses and their families to the pub as the hospitality industry in general has struggled massively during the pandemic.
We really missed the last two years, you can see a big difference in the atmosphere in the city
“It’s fantastic, we’ve been waiting for this all summer, it’s great,” she said.
“We’ve really missed the last two years, you see a big difference with the atmosphere in the city and everything, it’s great for everyone in the city and it’s great to be busy.
“We also have a lot of international tourists, these big buses come in and everyone gets food, it’s great.”
The traditional Irish pub was packed with people from Monaghan showing up to support their rose, Rachel Woods.
Tralee won’t know what hit it
With a big smile on her face, she said it was amazing to feel so supported, adding: “Last night was definitely one of the highlights. I was walking down Dominick Street thinking only my parents were here but my whole family was here and they were going crazy, I was trying to hold back the tears.
“Half this pub is all of them, I think there are about 40 of them. Tralee won’t know what hit it.”
The 20-year-old is one of the youngest Roses this year and is her first time away from home, but she said she wasn’t homesick because all the other Roses took her with them.
Louth Rose Emma Barry, who represents Ireland’s smallest county, has fittingly teamed up with An Teach Beag for their ‘pub partnership’ and she happily showed off her dance moves with The Absurdist Pipe Band yesterday.
The band were dressed as kilt-wearing clowns and will spend the next few days at the festival hopping around various Tralee pubs.
Frontman Kieran Gallagher said they have been performing at the festival since 2015.
“Festivals book us all over the world but the Rose of Tralee is huge, it’s one of the biggest we go to,” he said.
“We walk around the street a lot, interacting and engaging, we do all kinds of nonsense and go through different pubs and end up finding one that becomes the locale, so we call it the office and we just have to keep going back there, to check the toner in the printer.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/tralee-returns-to-party-mode-for-the-roses-as-pubs-raise-a-toast-to-their-candidates-41927307.html Tralee returns to party mode for the Roses as pubs toast their candidates