We interview Wexford’s Rose of Tralee, primary school teacher Brónagh Hogan

Last weekend, Wexford hosted the 32 competitors in this year’s Rose of Tralee competition…

Changeable weather, an overcast sky and the occasional droplet of rain threatened to dampen the mood for the arrival of competitors in the Rose of Tralee for their weekend-long tour of Wexford.

Yet, the threatened rain held off and glorious sunshine burst through the clouds down onto Monck Street, nothing could rain on the parade of Wexford Rose Brónagh Hogan and the 31 other Roses as they embarked on their tour of Wexford. 

A marquee had been erected on Monck Street under which a spread of Wexford-produced culinary treats awaited the Roses upon their arrival. A crowd compromised of elected officials and the general public had gathered to welcome the Roses on their tour and their enthusiasm was made clear by the rousing reception the tour bus received upon its arrival at the top of Monck Street.

This is the second year running in which Wexford has played host to competitors in the world-famous Rose of Tralee competition and serves as an excellent opportunity to display the very best that Wexford has to offer.

We spoke to Wexford Rose Brónagh Hogan about representing Wexford in this year’s Rose of Tralee competition. We also took the opportunity to speak to some local elected officials about the competition and the opportunities presented to Wexford by hosting the Roses.   This year was quite a special one for Wexford as two Wexford natives will be taking part in the Rose of Tralee.

Brónagh Hogan, a primary teacher in Kilrane National School from Clonroche will be representing Wexford as the Wexford Rose, while Sydney Rose Aoife Butler is a native of Askamore too.

The Wexford Rose:  

Wexford Rose Brónagh Hogan was greeted by a warm reception and much cheering from the crowd gathered on Monck Street. We spoke to Brónagh about being the Wexford Rose, having her fellow Roses in Wexford and the enduring popularity of the Rose of Tralee Competition. Brónagh described representing Wexford at the Rose of Tralee as “a dream come true” and something she had “always wanted to do” from a very young age. Brónagh told us how “it means so much to be me to be representing the county I love so much”.  Brónagh described seeing so many friends, neighbours and others at the Monck Street reception as “heart-warming”.  Brónagh stated that she was very excited to show her “Rose sisters the fantastic things that Wexford has to offer”.    

The Rose of Tralee has been a long-standing cultural pillar of Irish cultural life. We asked Brónagh what made the Rose of Tralee such a treasured Irish institution and the secret to its longevity and continued popularity.  Brónagh described the competition as “a fantastic showcase for the modern Irishwoman” and praised her fellow Roses as “accomplished… strong independent girls” who have “achieved so much”. Brónagh stated the Rose of Tralee gave the Roses “a platform to shine”.  She praised the Rose of Tralee as an Irish cultural institution which “has really moved with the times”. 

Brónagh told us how she was “really looking forward” to the competition itself and “making lots of memories” between the tour and the competition with her “31 Rose sisters”.  

Putting Wexford on the Map: 

Hosting the Roses in Wexford presents a special opportunity to show the Roses and those who support them nationwide, and indeed internationally, the best that Wexford has to offer. Many elected officials gathered at the event on Monck Street and along with wishing the best of luck to Brónagh in the Rose of Tralee competition they also cited the massive opportunity the visit of the Roses presented for Wexford tourism.

Mayor of Wexford, Cllr. John Hegarty praised the Wexford Rose stating:

“We’re all very proud of Brónagh and I think already in her time as Wexford Rose she is doing us all proud,” he said.

The Mayor described the Roses’ Tour as “a great occasion” and praised the Rose of Tralee as “an institution in Ireland”. The Mayor cited the tour as “a great way to showcase Wexford”. 

Fianna Fáil Senator Malcolm Byrne echoed the Mayor’s comments on the Rose of Tralee. He said of the Rose of Tralee that:

“It’s a wonderful competition that celebrates the contribution of women to Irish identity and Irish life”.

The Wexford Rose Tour last weekend not only gave the 32 Roses themselves an opportunity to relax ahead of the competition but also gave those who follow them an insight into the very best our county has to offer. We here at Wexford Weekly wish Brónagh Hogan the very best of luck in the Rose of Tralee competition.

Darragh Sinnott

From Wexford, Darragh is a columnist with an interest in sports, politics, history, and all-things Wexford related.

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