JENNIFER Byrne, a doctor from Clonderrig, Co Offaly is the 2017 Rose of Tralee and the first from the Faithful County to take the title in the Festival’s long history. RTÉ’s Dáithí Ó Sé announced the result in front of nearly one million television viewers and an audience of 2000 people in the Festival Dome. Jennifer (24) was presented with her sash and tiara by 2016 Rose of Tralee Maggie McEldowney and Robbie Scanlon, Managing Director of Tipperary Crystal, lead sponsors of the Festival. Top Irish country singer, Derek Ryan serenaded Jennifer in the Dome and again on Denny Street in the heart of Tralee where thousands of people turned out for the Midnight Madness Parade and fireworks display.
Speaking straight after the announcement, Jennifer Byrne said: “I think my heart is about to jump out of my chest but I’m really, really excited but I genuinely can’t believe it, it’s fantastic. My first thought was ‘did Dáithí actually just say my name, I wasn’t really expecting it at all’. I thought ‘this is going to be incredible’. Maggie McEldowney is an unbelievable representative for the Rose of Tralee and I’ll be asking her for a few tips because I have got big boots to fill now.”
A sports enthusiast, Jennifer has played soccer and Gaelic football from a very early age, and has represented Ireland in soccer at U17 and U19 level and in the World University Games.
Jennifer tells us a bit about herself?
My name is Jennifer Byrne and I am 24 years old. I’m from a small rural area in Offaly called Clonaderig. I went to primary school in my local village, Ballinahown, and then went to secondary school in Our Lady’s Bower in Athlone. I studied Medicine at NUI Galway and thoroughly enjoyed my college years.
I am currently working as a junior doctor in the Accident and Emergency department of University College Hospital Galway. It can be challenging at times, but I genuinely love my job and I’m very fortunate to be working in such a rewarding profession.
Sport has always been an enjoyable part of my life. I’ve played soccer and Gaelic football from a very early age, and have been fortunate enough to represent Ireland in soccer at U17 and U19 level and in the World University Games. I’ve made so many friends and have some fantastic memories through sport. I am currently playing with Galway WFC in the Women’s National league.
I also enjoy spending time with my family, socialising with friends, travelling, table tennis and tea!
As a medical student, I volunteered at Barretstown, a charity set up for children living with a serious illness and their families. It was an incredible experience and I really learned a lot from it. I also volunteered in Mpongwe Mission Hospital in Zambia through a charity called Volunteer Services Abroad. It was a life changing experience and opened my eyes to how fortunate we are here in Ireland.
I am honoured to be the 2017 Offaly Rose and I was so excited to meet my fellow Roses, Rose Escorts and everyone involved in the Rose of Tralee International Festival. I am really thankful for all the support I have been given and so grateful for this fantastic opportunity.
We will as always follow Jennifer’s year and will catch up with her in our Christmas issue to bring you all the news on what she’s been up to and her plans for 2018.