VIDEO: Maria Walsh skydives into Rose of Tralee festival

Maria Walsh made history yesterday, becoming the first ever Rose of Tralee to parachute into the annual festival.

The Mayo woman, who is celebrating her last weekend as the reigning rose, completed the tandem skydive yesterday afternoon and touched down in Tralee Town Park where a crowd had gathered to cheer her on.

The jump was originally supposed to take place earlier in the day, along with the much-anticipated CPC.ie SkyFest Air Display, but had to be called off due to adverse weather conditions.


 

 

Not one to be outdone by a little bit of rain, Maria pushed on with the jump once the conditions cleared a few hours later and was rewarded with a rose, presented to her at 10,000 feet by fellow skydiver Damien Cahill from Limerick.

“I got a rose in freefall. In freefall!” exclaimed Maria, minutes after the jump.

“I tell ya what, Tralee looked pretty good right now. The park, the Dome, Fels Point, Denny Street, all those amazing, amazing attractions right here and it’s pretty sweet to be landing as International Rose of Tralee! We need to see this happen every year.”

Maria was strapped to Tandem Skydive Club Ireland instructor Karl Carey for the duration of the jump – the smooth operator even dressed in a tux and some dark sunglasses for the occasion.

While it was undoubtedly the most stylish entrance the festival has seen, it wasn’t Maria’s only notable one – on Friday the Rose completed her Trek2Tralee which saw her run and cycle 242km from her home town of Shrule down to Tralee in aid of Barretstown, Development Perspectives and Donal Walsh’s Live Life, raising almost €5,000 for the charities.

Today, Maria addressed the festival’s first ever Women’s Business Conference, alongside Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan.

Tonight at 8pm RTE will screen Part 1 of the Rose of Tralee live shows, with the final taking place tomorrow night.

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