The 22-year-old touched hearts across the country on Monday night, during the first of two live shows, when she told of being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of cancer.
The Bettystown woman, who is in her second year in Dublin’s Royal College of Surgeons, performed a haunting rendition of ‘Bright Blue Rose’. She is the first Meath Rose to have made it to the Dome.
“Oh my goodness, thank you from the bottom of my heart,” she said, adding that she had never before met so many driven and talented young women than those who were on stage with her.
The blossoming rose was crowned last night at the second of two live shows at the Dome in Fels Point, Tralee.
Former Rose of Tralee, the stunning Maria Walsh, was on hand to pass on the Newbridge Silverware Tiara, designed by Philip Treacy, while new Rose of Tralee Elysha also received her Perpetual Trophy and a bouquet of flowers from Eleanor’s Florist in Tralee.
Mary Kennedy, chair of the judging panel which selects the overall winner, said there was a very high calibre of contestants this year, making it very hard to pick an overall winner.
“Every year, the person who wins has their quality and has their personality and will put that mark, put their own mark, on the Rose of Tralee,” she said.
“I’ve been doing this for eight years and have absolutely huge, total confidence and regard for the eight women that we have chosen over the eight years.”
After the new Rose was crowned, the elation swept those gathered out onto the streets, whisking the woman of the hour down to the centre of town for the annual parade. Thousands of people followed Elysha and the other Roses along the route, waving and cheering, before ending the night with a bang at the closing fireworks.
Elysha will now spend the coming year driving a new Kia pro_cee’d from McElligotts Tralee and Kia Motors Ireland, valued at €24,000. The Rose, and one lucky companion, will also enjoy a week-long adventure break in Kerry and will have complimentary hair and make-up for the year, courtesy of The Powder Room Girls.
Perhaps the most alluring of the gifts showered on the new Rose of Tralee is a whopping €25,000 to spend at The Loop airport shopping experience in either Cork or Dublin, spoiling Elysha as she arrives and departs on her various trips as an ambassador for the global Irish community.