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Memorial to recognise former Roses

ORGANISERS of the Rose of Tralee Festival are trying to contact former Clare and Clare-born roses for a very special tribute event, which takes place during the festival in Tralee, County Kerry later this month. All former rose finalists will have their names inscribed in a glass wall of honour in the Tralee Rose Garden, which will be unveiled on Thursday, August 15.

Clare has had its own rose on 13 separate occasions, with Eileen Slattery winning the international competition in 1968. In the intervening years, Clare contestants competed in the Limerick Rose selection. All will be listed on the Wall of Honour.

The names that will appear include Clare and International Rose of Tralee Eileen Slattery (1968); Melissa Byrne (1969); Ann Marie Hanrahan (1970); Catherine Turner (1971); Catherine O’Sullivan (1972); Fionnuala Burns (1973); Blathnaid O’Donoghue (2005); Theresa Roseingrave (2006); Patricia Lynch (2007); Charlene Connelly (2008); Audrey Flynn (2009); Nuala Keogh (2010); Grace Cummins (2011) and 2012’s Orla McDonagh.

The former roses and their families are invited to attend the unveiling. The glass wall will be located around the Jeanne Rynhart Memorial in the Town Park.

The event is part of The Gathering of Roses tribute being hosted by Tralee Town Council to salute former rose contestants.

Some 1,701 roses from 70 centres throughout the world have participated in the event from 1959 to 2012 and a special commemorative booklet is also being published to mark the occasion.

The council will host a reception afterwards to which former roses and their families are being invited.

Any former rose finalist who would like to be part of the event can contact the Kerry Gathering Office at thegathering@kerrycoco.ie or telephone 066 7162133 or the Rose of Tralee Office at 066 7121322. This year’s festival runs from August 14 to 20.

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