Roses to bloom at ‘bigger and better’ Rose of Tralee festival

One of Ireland’s oldest festivals is set to become even bigger, and a week-long affair.

In 2016, the Rose of Tralee extravaganza will run for seven days, there will be 70 Roses, and an extra night’s TV coverage on RTÉ One.

More visitors and more family fun will mean more money for the Kerry capital, where the current five-day event generates €12m, according to the organisers.

Festival executive chairman Anthony O’Gara said the expansion was a major, yet necessary, undertaking that would deliver a huge windfall locally.

“I am confident that this bigger, better festival will have the support of the people and business community in Tralee. We expect the longer event with more participants from all over the world to attract more visitors to enjoy a week-long celebration.”

From 2016 onwards, the 70 Roses selected at regional events worldwide will travel to Tralee in August.

Since 2004, the number of Rose centres has grown to 70, therefore necessitating a qualifying event at the end of May to find the 32 Roses to appear on the televised selection in August.

This year, however, will mark the end of the current qualifying process, which has been in place for 11 years.

Laois will again host this year’s regional festival from May 28 to 31, when RTÉ presenter Dáithí Ó Sé will meet 56 contestants, with 23 qualifying for the 2015 televised selection in Tralee.

It was announced last week an entertainment and conference centre will be built on a site adjacent to Fels Point Hotel, Tralee. The structure will replace the festival dome.

Full details of the 2016 format will unveiled shortly.

www.roseoftralee.ie

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