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‘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 – www.Facebook.com/RoseofTraleeFestival.

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.

Rose of Tralee International Festival to bid for Fels Point Hotel Tralee

THE Executive Chair of the Rose of Tralee International Festival, Anthony O’Gara, has announced that the Festival will enter the bidding process to purchase Fels Point Hotel, Tralee, Co Kerry.

The hotel on Dan Spring Road in the town has been the home to the Rose of Tralee International Festival since 2007.

Backing for the project has been secured to enable a cash purchase.

Anthony O’Gara said: “Such a move would be key to the long-term development and viability of the Festival in Tralee. Ownership of the hotel would be a pre-requisite for the development of a permanent Dome on the adjacent Fels Point site. If the bid is successful, it would allow us to unlock the full potential of the Festival.”

A new Rose of Tralee Festival Trust is being established with a view to eventually managing the overall project and the hotel may be rebranded as the “Rose of Tralee Hotel”.

Mr O’Gara said that he is confident that the bid will have the support of the people and business community in Tralee.

He expressed a view that local ownership of the hotel, together with the development of a permanent Dome on the Fels Point site, would provide a major boost to the local economy in Tralee and Kerry.

He added that it would allow the town to benefit from the strength of the Rose of Tralee brand on a year-round basis.

Open letter from Anthony O’Gara

Open letter from Anthony O’Gara, Executive Chairman of the Rose of Tralee International Festival

Sir/Madam,

It’s time to correct some misconceptions about the Rose of Tralee International Festival that are foisted on the unsuspecting public annually by some zealous, angry, if perhaps, misguided social commentators.

The Rose of Tralee is one of the most important threads to connect Irish people throughout the world with home and that is a fact for over 55 years.

We celebrate the Roses, their families and friends in their own home towns first and their arrival in Tralee is a continuation of this celebration.

Along the way, Tralee and many other towns and cities receive a boost to their tourism economy to the tune of €12 million. Numerous charities also benefit from being associated with the event and its people. Most important of all, thousands of people have fun, great friendships are formed and even one million people join the party atmosphere through the magic of live TV.

We’re not sensitive to criticism, but we are sensitive to boorish nonsense from uninformed opinion writers.

So, let’s be a little bit fair when commenting on the festival:

The Rose of Tralee is not all about: Paddy Whackery, Colleens on Parade, Stepford Wives tricked out as national stereotypes, flagrant misogyny or masquerading as Irish culture.

We don’t have a 1950s ethos – we do have a proud history and each year the Roses reflect women as they are today. Their ethos is ours.

We are not interested in stereotyping women. We celebrate exceptional women and accept them as the proud people they are, whatever that might be.

There is no Festival Committee and there has not been a Festival Committee since before 2004. The whole event is managed centrally by a very small management team of part-time people who are supported by a bevy of volunteers and 70 Rose Centres.

Most of the people who are involved in staging the Rose of Tralee International Festival at various levels, from planning to Judging, were born long after the break-up of the Beatles and when the Rolling Stones were past their best.

We choose Judges who want to find a relevant, independent, modern woman to represent the Irish Diaspora with pride and that is their only happy concern.

Please, get over the outdated ‘lovely girls’ joke. We have.

We don’t do more ‘mock Irishness’ or indulge in ‘plastic paddies’. The 200,000 people who engage with us annually and the TV viewers are real people.

To dismiss it, simply by forming opinions based on seeing elements of one of Ireland’s most popular TV shows each year, without attending the Festival is simply an excuse to trot out flagrant verbal rubbish for the sake of it.

This bandwagon has long since lost its wheels after being so laden-down with the prejudices of uninformed bolony of the faux intellectuals who trip over each other to impress their peers.

Roses and the rest of us live in the real world where bad things happen and people struggle. During the Festival they are celebrating and tend to show us their positive side but let’s not patronise them as ‘winsome colleens’. That might be seen as being plain bitchy.

The Roses are obviously pretty exceptional young women which is hardly surprising. They have been chosen from almost 1000 of their peers – all of whom are impressive. They are not professional entertainers. They are endearing people who entertain us and enthral us as best they can through a bit of harmless fun on stage. But most importantly, they reflect some pride in the communities that they represent. We are, in effect, honouring them and celebrating them as representatives of families and communities from our scattered generations.

By all means, be a contrary bystander. We all need some contra opinion to keep us on our toes, but remember this, a week at the Rose of Tralee Festival might just the thing to bring a little magic back into your life.

It’s by a country-mile the best festival in Ireland.

By the way, the Rose of Tralee, Maria Walsh, is on the Late Late Show tonight (Friday 5th September). Let’s see if you don’t fall under the spell.

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