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Maria Walsh launches 2015 Rose of Tralee Regional Festival

MAY will be a vintage month for 59 ladies from all over the world who will descend on County Laois for the 2015 Rose of Tralee Regional Festival from 28-31 May.

Rose of Tralee, Maria Walsh, launched the event today (12pm) in the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel.

23 places in the Festival Dome Tralee next August are on the line for the Roses taking part in three selection nights hosted by RTÉ Rose of Tralee Presenter, Dáithí Ó Sé in the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel.

It’s the eighth year for Portlaoise to host the Rose of Tralee Regional Festival, which will feature the Gordon Bennett Irish Classic Car Run, Street Party, Outdoor Markets and visits to landmark locations throughout Laois.

The Festival highlights include the official opening of the event in the Civic Plaza on Friday 29th, Vintage Car Parade of Roses and their Rose Buds followed by Streets Party on Saturday 30th and the annual visit to Abbeyleix and Castle Durrow on Sunday 31st May.
The Roses and their families will also visit some well-known Laois landmarks such as Castle Durrow, Emo House & Gardens and a range of entertainment events in the local hostelries.

The Chief Executive of Laois County Council, Gerard Murphy, said: “The Rose of Tralee Regional Festival is a major tourism event on the Irish Festivals calendar attracting 59 Roses, their families, friends and festival-goers from Ireland and around the world. Laois County Council through its elected members and management is endeavouring to promote and develop Portlaoise and County Laois as a key events centre in Ireland and this festival has been a major driver of the process since 2008.”

The Executive Chairman of the Rose of Tralee International Festival, Anthony O’Gara, said: “The generous support and commitment of Laois County Council and the people of Laois has seen this event flourish and grow to what is now a major highlight on the Rose of Tralee calendar. The Portlaoise Heritage Hotel, Maldron Hotel Portlaoise, Castle Durrow Country House Hotel and Coppers Late Bar have been outstanding hosts. We are grateful to the people of Laois who have opened their towns to welcome the friends, supporters and families of the Rose of Tralee for nearly a decade.”

The Regional Festival was introduced in 2004 to offer more people an opportunity to participate in the Rose of Tralee International Festival. This has been a resounding success as the number of Rose Centres has grown to 70 and the event is a well-established and prestigious part of the process to finding the next Rose of Tralee.

At the end of the weekend, 23 Roses - seven Irish and 16 International – will be selected to progress to take part in the Rose of Tralee International Festival in August.

The three Regional Selection Qualifying nights will take place at the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel on 29, 30 and 31 May, and tickets will go on sale on Friday 1st May from

The 2015 Rose of Tralee International Festival will take place in Tralee from Friday 14 to Tuesday 18 August.

Search for 2015 Rose of Tralee starts as Maria spends Women’s Christmas with Dáithí

MARIA Walsh has travelled over 65,000 miles, more than the earth’s circumference, since becoming the Rose of Tralee, and she will travel hundreds more over the coming fortnight in a bid to find the 2015 Rose of Tralee.

Maria celebrated Women’s Christmas at The Loop in Cork Airport with RTÉ Host Dáithí Ó Sé where they announced details of her upcoming tour of Ireland which will see her visit schools, charities and iconic landmarks.

On Monday 12th January, travelling in her Kia Soul car, Maria will set off from the home of the Festival’s lead sponsor, Newbridge Silverware to visit 32 counties in 15 days to encourage young women to take part in a life-changing event.

It’s never been easier to enter the Rose of Tralee - online at or by following the links from Facebook and Twitter.

An estimated 1000 women aged between 18 and 27 will follow through on their Rose of Tralee applications and take part in selection events across Ireland and in 11 countries around the world this year.

Maria Walsh, who became the 56th International Rose of Tralee last August, said: “I never expected to hear Dáithí call out ‘Philadelphia’ in the Dome and to be honest, I can’t really find one word impactful enough to share how extraordinary it has been ever since. It has indeed been a busy few months meeting people on my travels to Ireland, India and South Africa and on all of these journeys I have shared my wonderful experiences of the Rose of Tralee International Festival. I’m looking forward to welcoming many more people into the Rose of Tralee family over the coming weeks and months.”

The 2015 Rose of Tralee will win the a treasure trove of Newbridge Jewellery and Homeware from the lead sponsors, Newbridge Silverware, a World Travel Prize valued at €25,000 from The Loop at Dublin and Cork Airports and she’ll drive a Kia Soul car for the year of her reign, courtesy of Kia Motors Ireland and McElligotts Kia, Tralee.

60 Roses who will be selected at their local county, city or national event will go forward to represent their Rose Centres at the Rose of Tralee Regional Festival in Portlaoise, Co Laois in May.

A total of 32 Roses will grace the stage in the Dome during the two televised selection nights as part of the Rose of Tralee International Festival in August.

Since being crowned as the 2014 Rose of Tralee, Maria Walsh has travelled to Kolkata, India with the Hope Foundation, South Africa with Niall Melon Trust, walked the many stalls at the Ploughing Championship, stood on the green field of Croke Park wearing the Mayo colours and has spoken to many young people.

From the outset, Maria has captured the imagination and interest of the Irish media appearing on the Late Late Show and the New Year’s Eve Live programmes on RTÉ, the cover of all national newspapers and various print publications.

She will travel to Belarus with Chernobyl Children’s International in February, New York & Washington DC in March and down under to Australia in May.

The 2015 Rose of Tralee International Festival will take place from Friday 14th to Tuesday 18th August.

Full details on how to enter the Rose of Tralee in 2015 are available from, Facebook and Twitter or contact +353-66-7121322.

‘Tweet’ smell of success for Festival on Twitter

‘Tweet’ smell of success as Rose of Tralee is Ireland’s most popular TV programme on Twitter

TWITTER machines went into overload at the RaboTweeties Awards when the Rose of Tralee on RTÉ won the award for being the TV programme that most people Tweeted about this year.

The event saw awards presented to recipients in a number of categories ranging from TweetiePic to TweetieMusic and the Rose of Tralee came out on top in the TweetieTV Category for the second year-in-a-row.

Rebecca Kemp and Anna O’Donoghue from the Rose of Tralee International Festival’s Social Media team were in Dublin to accept the award last Thursday night.

It’s the second social media award for the Rose of Tralee International Festival in as many weeks after winning the Best Social Media Campaign Award at the Annual AOIFE (Association of Irish Festivals & Events) Conference in Ballinasloe, Co Galway.

The General Manager of the Rose of Tralee International Festival, Oliver Hurley, said: “The power of social media has been harnessed by our team in recent years and it has played a key role in generating more awareness of the Festival all year round. We have had shift our mind-set to embrace the rapidly-changing area of social media while maintaining strong links to traditional media such as print and broadcast media. The two recent awards are a testament to our team’s ability to move with the times and how our festival continues to appeal to a mass audience.”

Nearly 11,000 people follow @roseoftralee_ on Twitter with tweets reaching over one million people.

The number of fans and friends of the Rose of Tralee on Facebook is now in excess of 130,000 with nearly 40,000 fans on the main Festival page –

The dates for next year’s Rose of Tralee have been confirmed and the event will take place from Friday 14th to Tuesday 18th August 2015. The Rose of Tralee Regional Festival will again be staged in Portlaoise, Co Laois from Thursday 28th to Sunday 30th May 2015.

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