Rachel Duffy with Dáithí Ó Sé in Tralee last night.

New Rose of Tralee pays tribute to family

The new Rose of Tralee paid tribute to her family and her community at home in Rosemount, when she spoke on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today.

Rachel Duffy explained that she was just nine years old when her mother passed away.

She said: “This whole experience, ever since becoming the Westmeath Rose, has been very special for our family.

“These things are bitter-sweet, it’s hard when someone’s missing, but my Mam was there in her own way last night and I definitely feel like she was looking down on me.”

Rachel’s sister was 12 and her brother 15 when their mother passed away. “My Dad is a very good man and he’s taken very good care of us, and people in my community got us over the line and were always there for anything we needed, I’m very lucky.”

Asked what last night meant to her, Rachel said: “Regardless of winning in the end, the whole experience was just so amazing, and to see the joy on my family’s faces throughout the week, to see the craic they were having – I had a lovely singsong with them at the weekend, and it was so beautiful – even for such a happy event, there were lots of tears, and from start to finish, this whole experience has made me realise what a privilege it is to be part of the Rose of Tralee, to represent my county and now to be able to represent all the girls that were with me over the last two weeks.

“I’ve made so many lifelong friendships and memories that I’ll cherish for ever.”

Rachel graduated from NUIG with an Undergraduate Degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and Spanish last year. She is currently working in P Egan’s Traditional Irish Bar in Moate, and plans to return to university to complete a Master’s Degree to be a Spanish and English teacher.

This morning she said she will take time to consider her next step. “There are so many things going round in my head at the minute, but it’s definitely something that I’ll have to sit down with my family and talk about it.

“My career and my dreams to be a teacher are always something I do what to follow, so we’ll see.”

She has a few more engagements over the next few days, and Rachel said “I think there’s going to be a bit of a homecoming tomorrow evening in Westmeath, so my family friends are busy organising that, so we have to put on a good show for all the Roses and the escorts”.

Rachel received the Rose of Tralee sash from the 2019 Rose of Tralee Dr Sinéad Flanagan.