Exciting times ahead for Offaly Rose

KARATE Kid Sharon Touhey will know on Sunday June 3 if she has been chosen to represent Offaly for the first time at the Rose of Tralee International Festival.

KARATE Kid Sharon Touhey will know on Sunday June 3 if she has been chosen to represent Offaly for the first time at the Rose of Tralee International Festival.

The 2012 Offaly Rose, however, has said she is just excited about representing her county at the Regional Finals of the Rose of Tralee from June 1 to 3 in Portlaoise.

“The experience has been amazing so far and I really can’t wait to meet the other 52 other Roses from all over the world, especially the Tyrone Rose, Catherine Sherry, who will be my room-mate for the weekend,” said Sharon, who will take to the stage at the end of the second selection night on Saturday June 2.

The Regional Finals of the Rose of Tralee will bring together Roses from the USA, Ireland, Britain, Europe, Canada and United Arab Emirates and the selection nights on June 1, 2 and 3 in the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel, will be hosted by Dáithí Ó Sé.

It will be Dáithí’s last public engagement before fulfilling his wedding engagement to 2008 New Jersey Rose, Rita Talty in July.

Everyone who visits Portlaoise this June Bank Holiday will experience a carnival atmosphere complete with funfair, musical entertainment for all the family and to top it all off, the Gordon Bennett Irish Classic Car Run which is open to all vintage veteran and classic cars, motorcycles and commercials registered prior to 1980.

The Roses and their families will also visit some well known Laois landmarks such as Castle Durrow, Emo House & Gardens, Killenard Golf Club and a range of entertainment events in the local hostelries.

Tickets to the selection nights of the Rose of Tralee Regional Finals at the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel are available from www.roseoftralee.ie.

The weekend-long festival in Portlaoise is being jointly hosted by Laois Tourism, Laois County Council, the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel, the Maldron Hotel Portlaoise, Castle Durrow with the support of the entire local business community for their hospitality.

The Regional Finals were 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 well over 60 and the event is a well-established and prestigious part of the process to finding the next Rose of Tralee.