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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 12°C
# Lovely Girls
'I grew up thinking it was unattainable:' Why this year's candidates for Rose of Tralee wanted to enter
We asked the Roses why it meant so much to them to enter and how the festival is keeping up with a world of modern women. / YouTube

THE ANNUAL ROSE of Tralee festival will begin next week and entrants from across the world are beginning to arrive.

Some of the Roses gathered in Dublin today for a photo shoot organised by Tipperary Crystal, where some met each other for the first time.

For Eimear Reynolds, the Roscommon Rose, she always thought becoming a Rose was something “you feel is a dreamland – it’s unattainable.”

But after years of watching the competition on the television in her house growing up, Reynolds felt like it was the right time for her to do it.

It’s a story common among contestants as they arrive from places like Melbourne and Dubai to take part.

Victoria Sexton, the Florida Rose, said she grew up expecting to take part as the first-born girl in her Kildare-based family. But there was no Irish centre in her area in the US that could facilitate her dream.

Then three years ago one opened and “the opportunity came to light again and the dream was alive,” she said.

If worried about being possibly made into memes and having to endure social media commentary during the competition Sexton says, “I am who I am.”

If that’s someone who you love then thank goodness and I’m happy to be an advocate for you…and if I’m not your cup of tea…then that’s not my fault either!

“I can just be myself and hopefully that will serve me well,” Sexton says with a laugh.

Reynolds says with the quickening pace of the modern world and women’s roles in it, she can see how some people could look at the Rose of Tralee as potentially out-of-touch.

But she says as the festival has grown, it has struck a right balance of respecting tradition, which she feels is important, while also “celebrating and promoting modern women as well.”

The Rose of Tralee festival will run from 17 August to 21 August.

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