No Offaly Rose in 2019 following huge Rose of Tralee shake-up
There will be no Offaly Rose in 2019 after Rose of Tralee bosses made sweeping changes to the format. Offaly last won the event in 2017 with its first-ever winner, Jennifer Byrne claiming the crown.
However, huge changes have just been announced on the back of the emotional impact on Roses who fail to qualify for the television stage interviews.
Rose Centres will not select and crown a rose for their given county or catchment every year, but instead their selection process will become a bi-annual event, meaning centres will only have a Rose involved every second year.
The Rose of Tralee International Festival has made the change to ensure every Rose who goes to Tralee will get the full experience of chatting with Daithí live on RTE.
In that year, they will be guaranteed a place in the TV final, but in the short-term, it is bad news for Offaly as the county will not have a representative in the event in 2019, and instead will have to wait until 2020.
The counties who will feature in the 2019 event include Laois and Kilkenny, bosses confirmed.
In the interim years, those centres will celebrate their supporters, Roses and sponsors with a gala charity ball in aid of a local charity.
In all, 32 Roses will take part now each year instead of 66. The only centres guaranteed a place are Dublin, Cork and Kerry. International Rose Centres also have to wait every other year to send a Rose.
Other changes include a higher age limit, with young women aged 18 to 29 now eligible. Sponsorship has risen from €250 to €300 but the organisers are confident that with the guaranteed exposure on national television, sponsors will be eager to get involved.
Executive Chair of the Rose of Tralee International Festival is Anthony O’Gara.
“Moving from the Regional Festival (staged from 2004 to 2015) to bringing all our Roses directly to the Rose of Tralee International Festival for the past three years has been generally very positively received."
"There is one challenging aspect to the new format that does not sit well with any of us and that we want to address, the selection of 32 Roses from 66 for the TV selection. Regardless of how sensitively we handle that, it is not in-keeping with our ethos or our tradition. Our focus is to celebrate and respect the passion and emotion, and indeed the time and financial investment that every Rose, her family and Centre invest with us,” he said.
The Rose of Tralee International Festival will celebrate 60 Years from Friday 16 to Tuesday 20 August 2019 without an Offaly Rose.