Limerick, you’re more than a lady, to paraphrase the song.
This is Limerick’s year — getting into the All-Ireland hurling semi-final, winning the Munster Final, success with Love Island winner Greg O’Shea and now Limerick woman Sinéad Flanagan being crowned the Rose of Tralee.
To some, the contest is an outdated relic; to others, a showcase of talent as well as beauty. To RTÉ, it’s a money-spinner, drawing 1.39m viewers over the two days of the contest.
It is easy to dismiss the annual pageant as a throwback from another era but that would be to ignore the fact that most of the contestants are bright, smart and decidedly of this age.
Some have been catalysts for change.
The 2016 Rose Brianna Parkins campaigned to repeal the Eighth Amendment and the 2018 winner Shauna Ray Lacey lifted the veil on another taboo when she spoke of her parents’ drug addiction.
The new Rose of Tralee has said she “definitely” regards herself as “a modern Irish woman” and she praised the competition for showcasing “all different types of people from different backgrounds”.
That’s something worth celebrating.