Over the years the Rose of Tralee has evolved from a small, local event where only local unmarried girls were allowed to enter, to an international competition drawing competitors and spectators from across the globe.
The festival as it is known today began in 1959. It's precursor, the Carnival Queen Festival fell into decline when rural Ireland saw mass emigration in the post-war era.
Pictured above: Launching the search for the 2019 Rose of Tralee 60 years celebration were FRONT L/R: 2018 Rose of Tralee Kirsten Mate Maher , Daithi O'Se RTE Rose of Tralee presenter, and Alice O’Sullivan (First Rose of Tralee 1959, Dublin) BACK L/R: Geraldine O’Grady (1999, Cork Rose), Charmaine Kenny (2009, London Rose), Sinéad Boyle (1989, Dublin Rose), Marita Marron (1979, Belfast Rose) Cathy Murphy (1969, Dublin Rose)
The modern-day festival was created by local businessmen as a means of bringing visitors and revenue to the town of Tralee. The festival sees young women of Irish ancestry from all over the world return to the land of their roots to compete for the coveted crown and sash of the Rose of Tralee. But the pageant is just one part of the festival of music, food, and Irish culture, which goes on for seven days.