Casey’s Bar in Newtownforbes was a busy place last Sunday as family, friends, neighbours, and well-wishers gathered to wish Daphne Howard well on the next step of her Rose journey.
Longford Rose Daphne will join her counterparts from all over Ireland and the world in a Rose tour, which starts on August 9.
The ladies will visit numerous Irish landmarks and attractions, before making their way down to Tralee for the festival.
The tour is set to pass through Newtownforbes at approximately 4pm on August 11, while ‘A Night with the Roses’ will take place in Lough Rynn Castle on August 12.
It will be a fun-filled, albeit busy time for Daphne, though it’s nothing she’s not used to after a whirlwind summer.
“I haven’t had too much time to stop and think - to stop and smell the roses,” Daphne laughed when she spoke to the Leader last week.
Over the past number of months, Daphne has traveled the length and breadth of the county, attending festivals and shows, and making visits.
“It’s really nice to just get out and about,” she added.
Daphne has also had a chance to meet up with some of her fellow Roses already, with trips to the Dublin Rose selection night as well as the Galway races.
“I’ve made some really good friendships with the Roses and we’ve met up on lots of different occasions,” Daphne continued.
At the moment, Daphne’s biggest challenge, she laughs, is figuring out a way to carry all her outfits and hats for the tour and festival.
With a jam-packed schedule, which is timed to the minute, Daphne has had to carefully plan her wardrobe, which she has done with the help of a number of local businesses.
Outfits have been sponsored by Áine’s, Clara Ellen and All About You, while four local milliners - Amy Leslie, Wendy Louise Knight, Louise Farrelly, and Yan Ping - have all sponsored beautiful hats and headpieces.
“I look forward to wearing them on the tour,” Daphne said gratefully. She also added her thanks to her main sponsor, Grafters, and Pauline Belton, as well as Sinead Manning at The Doll’s House and all her supporters in the county.
When asked if she’s nervous about taking to the stage at the Dome, Daphne smiled, “I think I should be nervous, but I think I’m more excited.
“I think I’m just so looking forward to it, I’m really conscious that I don’t want nerves to take over.
“I know it’s going to be a super, super week!”