This year’s Philadelphia Rose Marissa Berry is proud to share her links with Donegal ahead of the Rose of Tralee International Festival in August.

Marissa, who is a commercial insurance underwriter from Havertown, is a 3rd generation Irish with family hailing from both Donegal and Mayo.

She had previously competed in the Mary from Dungloe pageant in 2017 and was “scooped up by the Donegal community” shortly after.

Visiting Donegal at least twice a year, Marissa says heading back to the hills is “routine to her.”

“I always know what times the buses are and when I’ll arrive in Letterkenny.

“Irish people and people from Donegal are just some of the most genuine people in the world.”

Marissa is the Vice President of the Donegal Society in Philadelphia and Chairperson of the Mary from Dungloe Philadelphia and has praised the support she has received.

“I think my Irish community deserves to be on loud speaker,” she said.

“They are just so generous, from the GAA to the Irish dancing, I just feel so proud to represent the diaspora.”

Marissa hopes to highlight the close relationship between the USA and Ireland during her time as the Philadelphia Rose as well as opening up the conversation around ADHD, as she was given a recent diagnosis, saying “it does not have to define you.”


Marissa is now gearing up for the long journey to Tralee in August, picking out dresses and jewellery on the agenda but she is excited for the experience.

“I am just so excited to meet everyone and see what the girls do,” she said.