Rose of Tralee festival underway in Kerry

The Rose of Tralee festival has begun in the Kingdom.

Thousands are expected to take part in festivities surrounding the competition over the next few days.

The main event gets underway on Monday night, and will see 32 Roses compete for the coveted title.

"In many ways, the Rose of Tralee is an international brand for Ireland, that says a lot about Irish people," said Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, on his first visit to the Rose of Tralee last night.

Rose of Tralee festival underway in Kerry

Longford Rose Daphne Howard said she got a very pleasant surprise on the Rose Tour yesterday, stopping off in her home village.

"I was so lucky to got through my home town of Newtownforbes," she said, "we hadn't planned to stop [there] but there were so many people out on the streets that we forced the bus to stop.

"It was great to see all my local supporters … it's just been crazy, but I am loving it."

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