While there are many negative stories surrounding this year's Rose of Tralee event, Longford Rose Caroline Doyle had nothing but positive things to say of the renowned festival.
“I have nothing negative to say about the Rose of Tralee - from start to finish,” Caroline told the Leader as she completed her first day of work as a teacher in Ardscoil Phádraig, Granard. With Dáithí Ó'Sé's go-ahead (as well as Principal Gareth Buckley's!) Caroline was able to take Friday off to recuperate after a hectic fortnight.
Setting off on the Rose tour on August 12, Caroline and her counterparts from all over Ireland and the world took in the sights of Dublin, Kildare and Portlaoise on their way down to Tralee, where they received a warm welcome.
“The welcome we got from everyone at the hotel was insane,” Caroline admitted. “There was not a dry eye in the house!”
Delighted with how her qualifying round went, Caroline was one of the 32 Roses chosen to compete in the live selection nights, which were broadcast on RTÉ on Monday, August 22 and Tuesday, August 23.
“I really wanted to be there because I wanted to represent Longford on stage,” the 25-year-old added, thanking her family, friends, neighbours, sponsors and the entire community for their unwavering support.
“It was a life-changing experience,” Caroline later admitted, pointing out that she had made dozens of friends out of her fellow Roses and the escorts.
“It was lovely to have Liam Halpin and Jamie Carroll there too, it was nice to have familiar faces - I hope we did Longford proud!”
Now that the festival has concluded for another year, Caroline is looking forward to settling down into the school year but is still keen to promote her county.
“It's good to be back and I'm excited for the year ahead in Granard,” she smiled, before revealing that she hopes to maintain her visibility throughout the county in her capacity as Longford Rose.
“First and foremost I'm representing my county. I'm a very proud Longford girl and I'm going to take the role all the way into next year. I'll make the most of it!”