Chicago Rose Maggie McEldowney was crowned Rose of Tralee at the Dome last night.
The 27-year-old works as the director of development at a Catholic high school in the south side of Chicago.
“I can’t believe this is happening. I cannot thank you enough for this opportunity,” said Maggie when she was crowned last night.
The new Rose of Tralee, whose Irish family hails from Derry and Wicklow, sang ‘A Little Bit of Heaven’ while on stage.
This is the third time Chicago has won the Rose of Tralee, first in 1960 and again in 1987.
Last night’s Rose of Tralee was a quiet affair compared with Monday’s proceedings, after the stage was invaded by Matt O’Connor protesting for Fathers4Justice.
He stormed the stage while Cavan Rose Lisa Reilly was being interviewed.
“I understand that he is passionate about his cause,” said Lisa last night.
“But there is a time and place and I have no connection with his cause and I didn’t think there was any need for it. But it is live TV and we just keep our heads up and keep going.”
While there was plenty of dancing at last night’s festival, the event went off without a glitch.
Rochelle Melino, the South Australia Rose, roped in a handful of escorts for her gig, while Ohio Rose Kathleen O’Donnell had the lights turned out for her hula-hoop dance, which had the crowd cheering and clapping along to her every move.
The Texas Rose, Katherine O’Sullivan, also got the crowd moving, but not because of her dancing. It was down to the fact that she threw her wedding bouquet into the audience.
Kerry Rose Danielle O’Sullivan, who is studying human rights at the University of Limerick, spoke frankly about mental health and abusive relationships.
She said that abuse in relationships is not confined to married life but is happening in the dating lives of our young people.
Danielle said warning signs include when your partner insists on checking your text messages and monitors your social media activity.
Her comments were met with loud applause from the Dome.
While Nathan Carter was meant to be the musical highlight of the night, some of the Roses stood up the country star with their talent.
North Carolina Rose sang ‘She Moved Through the Fair’ while playing the double bass and the New Zealand Rose Hannah Greally sang ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love with You’ while playing the piano.
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