The North West will be very well represented at this year's Rose of Tralee International Festival.
The countdown is on to the 59th Rose of Tralee contest – with this year’s show featuring four young women from Donegal, including our very own Donegal Rose Niamh Duggan.
Joining Niamh in the Dome are Perth Rose Laura Cannon from Letterkenny, New Zealand Rose Jolene McLaughlin from Quigley’s Point and Yorkshire Rose Alana Gallagher from Ballybofey.
The Donegal women are all enjoying a whirlwind of events in Co. Kerry this week ahead of the live TV final when they are interviewed by host Dáithí Ó Sé this Monday and Tuesday (20th-21st August.)
Let’s meet our Donegal roses!
Donegal Rose: Niamh Ní Dhubhgáin
Niamh Duggan was chosen as the Donegal Rose in April 2018 and has since worn her sash with pride at events all over the county. The 21-year-old from Tory Island has just completed her third year in NUIG, studying Irish, Psychology and Performing Arts.
Niamh is a passionate gaeilgeoir and talented singer. She hopes to pursue a career in teaching to fulfil her love for children and volunteer work.
Niamh said: “Singing, the Irish language and Tory is a big part of me.
“My platform as the Donegal Rose has enabled me to promote all three, along with other things I am passionate about such as positive mental health, self-acceptance and self-belief. As a young person I like to set an example for others to be open, vocal and just to accept themselves for who they are.”
Perth Rose: Laura Cannon
Nurse Laura Cannon had a warm welcome home to Letterkenny this month when she flew back to represent Perth, Western Australia.
As well as enjoying a life by the seaside, the 25-year-old has had numerous learning and development opportunities working in healthcare Down Under.
Laura said: “I am privileged to have been afforded the opportunity to nurse in Oncology and Palliative Care which has opened my eyes as to how precious each life is and how vital it is for us to enjoy each day to the full.
“Since March I have begun working in Coronary Care and Intensive Care, I am enjoying all of the learning and skill development unique to this area of nursing.”
Laura’s dream for the competition is to make everyone proud as the 2018 Perth Rose of Tralee.
New Zealand Rose: Jolene McLaughlin
Jolene (25) emigrated from Inishowen to Wellington three years ago and fell in love with the community. Jolene works as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist with Habit Health and Fitness clubs.
Jolene is an active member of the Wellington GAA club, and says when she is not playing she can often be found helping out with injuries on the sideline.
“I am extremely proud to represent New Zealand, my home away from home. Being part of the Rose of Tralee has been a real character-building and fun experience so far, and I am really looking forward to the festival in Tralee,” Jolene said.
Yorkshire Rose: Alana Gallagher
University student Alana moved from Ballybofey to York in 2016 to pursue her dream of Occupational Therapy. The 20-year-old works part-time in a neurological rehabilitation centre and is a motivated member of the York Éireannach local GAA club.
Alana proudly sits on the Yorkshire Ladies County Board and plays with the Yorkshire Ladies County team, having recently won two all British Titles.
While studying in the UK, Alana has kept a close connection to Irish culture. She enjoys attending the York Irish association’s events and has been looking forward to making friends with more people in the Irish community at the Rose of Tralee Festival.
These Donegal women will have plenty of supporters cheering them on in Tralee and from home when they take to the stage among this year’s 57 Roses.
The Rose of Tralee is broadcast live on RTÉ One at 8.00pm on Monday, August 20 and Tuesday, August 21 with a break for the Nine O’Clock News.