Recap on the highlights of Monday's 2018 Rose of Tralee before the big finale in Part Two:

Tralee is packed with squads of Donegal people this week as four young women from all parts of the county take part in the 59th edition of the Rose of Tralee International Festival.

Donegal Rose Niamh Duggan represented the county at the Celebration of the Roses on Friday, bringing her proud Tory Island heritage and love of the Irish language to the stage.

The final 32 Roses were chosen after this event, with three Donegal women making it through to the live TV interviews with host Dáithí Ó Sé.

New Zealand Rose Jolene McLaughlin and Yorkshire Rose Alana Gallagher had their big moments in the Dome on Monday night.

Jolene had a warm and unique greeting for Dáithí, getting up close and personal via a traditional Maori ‘Hongi’.

New Zealand Rose. Image via RTE

Dáithí got more of a North West than Down Under vibe from it all, saying “I feel enlightened. I feel like somebody from Donegal.”

Jolene discussed how she moved from Donegal to Wellington three years ago to work as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist. In her interview, she revealed that she will always enjoy having a taste of home with her own ‘Paddy box’ delivery from Donegal, complete with a Daniel O’Donnell CD!

Jolene was followed by Yorkshire Rose, Alana Gallagher from Ballybofey. The 20-year-old impressed by talking about her career path in Occupational Therapy. The York student was proudly supported by her teammates in the York Ladies Gaelic team.

Yorkshire Rose. Image via RTE

Alana’s boyfriend David from Derry got a little dig from Dáithí, who said he’d need to watch out for the native gentlemen!

“One thing better than a Derry man is a Kerry man, #JustSaying,” Dáithí quipped.

We have one more Donegal woman appearing in the Dome tonight (Tuesday). Perth Rose Laura Cannon will be taking to the stage, with all her family and friends from Letterkenny cheering her on in the final.

Many Donegal people will also have recognised Florida Rose Victoria Sexton last night, who has local roots.

Victoria’s mother Jacquelyn Sexton (Platt) is from Newtowncunningham, while many of her relatives still live in Donegal. Victoria competed in the 50th Mary from Dungloe pageant in 2017.

New York Rose Sarah Ward also has a grandfather from Donegal.

One of the biggest talking points from last night’s final was Carlow Rose Shauna Ray Lacey’s powerful interview about addiction and motherhood. The 24-year-old is the first mother to ever appear in the televised final, with her beautiful daughter Emmy (3) in the audience cheering her on.

Shauna opened up about her difficult upbringing as her parents struggled with heroin addiction and dedicated her song to her late father.

Shauna earned high praise from viewers for addressing modern issues and breaking down stereotypes.

Part Two of The Rose of Tralee International Festival will air on RTÉ One at 8pm, before this year’s winner is selected.