The lovely Jennifer Byrne, a doctor from Clonderrig, Co Offaly was crowned the 2017 International Rose of Tralee last August and since then she has been kept very busy! We caught up with Jennifer to see how how it is all going so far ….
Jennifer, you have been the reigning Rose of Tralee for nearly half a year already, how has it been for you?
I’ve really enjoyed my reign as the 2017 International Rose of Tralee so far. It’s an incredible experience and time is flying by so quickly. I’ve had many highlights so far including the festival itself, the wonderful friendships, my homecoming, Friends of A ball, the ploughing championships, my photoshoot with Tipperary Crystal in the K club, Kolkata with the Hope Foundation, Listowel Food Fair and many others. I always love going to schools and nursing homes and just meeting and chatting new people.
The Reigning Rose supports a charity, tell us a little about yours?
I’ve just recently returned from visiting the slum children and Hope Foundation projects in Kolkata in India. It was a real eye opening and life changing experience for me. I’ve made a Christmas campaign video for The Hope Foundation. It’s an incredible organisation and I will be raising money for Hope next year too. I’m also going to Belarus with Adi Roche’s
International in February
with some of my fellow Roses
and Rose escorts and am really looking forward to this.
I have been working closely with the I’m A Friend organisation since becoming the Offaly Rose back in May. This is an anti-bullying organisation that raises awareness about bullying, depression and suicide.
I’m also supporting Offaly Hospice and will be raising funds for this extremely important organisation early next year. There is no Hospice in the Midlands and one of my main goals is to help change this.
Your day job as a doctor must be extremely busy as well as your commitments to the title, how’s the juggling both going?
I’m very fortunate to have great support in work and from the Rose of Tralee team, and they have really made it possible for me to juggle both so far. I really enjoy my job and I meet many patients who love the Rose of Tralee festival and I often get stopped for pictures in work! I will be taking some time off work next year so that I can attend some international Rose events and centres too so I’m really looking forward to that.
Was it always your dream to be a Rose?
Yes I remember watching the Rose of Tralee every year from a very young age. I watched it with my granny and mam every year and we would always try and pick who we thought would become the Rose of Tralee. It was an annual event
that couldn’t be missed, just like
the Late Late Toy Show. We travelled down to Kerry for the parade during the Rose of Tralee festival when I was about 10 years old and I remember looking at all the beautiful Roses on the floats and
wishing I got a chance to be up there too someday. I never thought that I actually would become the Rose Of Tralee!! It really is a dream come true.
You have another 7 months as Rose, tell us some of the plans for those months?
There’s a busy few months ahead and I’m so excited for all that’s to come. I had
great fun in the Annual CH
Christmas Santa Parade last weekend and then I switched on the Christmas Lights in Tralee.
I’m traveling to the Frankfurt Christmas markets with the Germany Rose Centre along with most of my fellow Roses and Rose Escorts in December. It promises to be a great trip. I’ve many functions and charity events to attend over Christmas too.
In January we’ll start the search for the 2018 Rose of Tralee and I will be travelling on the Rose Tour around Ireland which should be great fun. I’m also spending a weekend with other Rose of Tralee’s which will be very nice.
I’m travelling to Belarus with with Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children’s International in February. I’m hoping to travel to America for the New York parade on St. Patricks Day and visit the Rose Centre there.
The 2018 Roses will be selected around April, May and June and I will be attending as many of those selection nights as I can. I will be holding fundraisers for The Hope Foundation and Offaly Hospice too. I’m really looking forward to the time ahead.
What’s Christmas like for you? Do you work or can you get time to spend with family and friends?
Christmas is my favourite time of year. I love spending time with my family and friends. We pulled names out of a hat in work and I was very fortunate not to come out and so I will be spending Christmas at home in Offaly. It’s a very special time of year and it will be nice to have all of the family at home.
What do you like to do in your spare time that is if you have any?
I really enjoy sport, music, spending time with my friends and family and being outdoors! I’ve always loved playing soccer and Gaelic football. I enjoy walking along the prom in Salthill with my friends and listening to music and going to concerts when I can. I also love travelling around Ireland and abroad. In general I love meeting new people and trying new things!
Any tips to the ladies around the world reading this considering applying for the Rose of Tralee I would highly encourage all young women to apply for the Rose of Tralee International Festival. This has been the most amazing experience of my life. I’ve made so many new friends and have had so many new opportunities that I would have never thought possible. The memories and friendships are incredible and the festival itself is magical and life changing. The application process is easy, simply apply online at www.roseoftralee.ie. I promise this is something you won’t regret!