The Rose of Tralee International Festival has been cancelled for the first time in 61 years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Festival organisers have confirmed that the event will be postponed until August 2021.

“This is the first time in our 61 year history that the Festival has been postponed, but it is the right decision as we all play our part right now in keeping each other safe and well,” said Anthony O’Gara, Executive Chair, Rose of Tralee International Festival.

The cancellation does not impact the Donegal Rose branch of the competition, as last year’s Rose Chloe Kennedy was selected to be the county’s ambassador for two years.

Under competition changes in 2019, committees will only send a Rose every two or three years and another Donegal Rose was not due to be selected this summer.

Donegal Rose Chloe Kennedy

Mr O’Gara added: “The Rose of Tralee International Festival operates on a yearlong basis, in Irish communities worldwide; and we will continue to harness the goodwill of our extended Rose Family in supporting communities and charitable efforts over the next 12 months. 

“Similarly, we will each have a role to play in restoring our communities and local economies following this pandemic, and we look forward to coming together in celebration in August 2021.

“In the meantime, we salute the leadership and the selfless efforts of frontline and support staff everywhere; and among them the efforts by many of our Roses, Rose Escorts and wider Rose Family, including our 2019 Rose of Tralee, Dr Sinéad Flanagan.

“Our immediate priority is to support the health and civic authorities in doing whatever we can to keep each other safe and well, and ultimately to protect lives. “