Mairead flying the flag in Tralee

Mairead McHugh from Kinawley is representing Fermanagh in this years Rose of Tralee Festival    Picture: Ronan McGrade

Mairead McHugh from Kinawley is representing Fermanagh in this years Rose of Tralee Festival Picture: Ronan McGrade

Fermanagh Rose, Mairead McHugh is about to embark on her journey to fly the Erne flag at the 57th Rose of Tralee International Festival. 

The Fermanagh Rose leaves her native county on Friday, August 12th to  travel to Dublin to take in some of Ireland’s top tourism landmarks. Kinawley’s Mairead will be among the 65 Roses from all over the world who will be at this year’s extended Festival. 
After four days in Dublin, the Roses will travel to Tralee, where they will take in the sights and prepare for the competition. The Roses will be interviewed by Daithi O’Se in the Dome, on August 17th and 18th. These interviews will not be broadcast on TV. The 65 Roses will then be cut down to 32 for the live television broadcast on August 22nd and 23rd. 
“I am nearly set to head away now, just making the final preparations. I am away on Friday, for the start of the tour. I probably will be nervous when I get on stage as I am not really used to public speaking, but I am hoping I will be okay as I will be talking about my interests and experiences. I have gained some experience of public speaking while being the Fermanagh Rose,” said Mairead.
While carrying out her duty as the Fermanagh Rose, Mairead McHugh worked with Stroke Association NI and attended many events representing Fermanagh. Mairead is a past student of St Naile’s Primary  School, St Aidan’s College and Mount Lourdes Grammar School. 
The Speech and language therapist studied at Ulster University, Jordanstown before moving to Scotland to work. The Kinawley native has since returned home and is currently working in Belfast.
“So far being the Fermanagh Rose has been a really amazing experience. It has been non stop to be honest. We had a charity night recently and the crowd was great, we danced all night and raised money for Stroke Association NI. I have been able to meet people from all over Fermanagh. I returned to my old schools and it was great to be back there. People have been so good, really generous. People recognise me on the street and the whole county has been very supportive. I am extremely grateful to all my sponsors and anyone who has helped me in any way prepare for Tralee,” said Mairead.
She faces stiff competition with 65 other ladies fighting for the crown. The winner of the competition will represent Ireland and will have the opportunity to travel to various locations around the world as The Rose of Tralee. 
“I am very excited to be involved in the International Rose of Tralee Festival and I am looking forward to meeting all the Roses and the entire Rose family. I hope that I will be a positive ambassador of Fermanagh and make my family, friends and county proud. The winner of the Rose of Tralee should be friendly, charitable and want to make a positive contribution to the world. All the Roses seem to fit this so I think it will be a really hard choice for the judges to make,” added Mairead.
Mairead is not Fermanagh’s only representative attending the Rose of Tralee this year. Mark McGovern and John Slowey are also making the trip as escorts to the festival. 
The televised selections will be broadcast as usual at 8pm on August, Monday 22nd and Tuesday 23rd on RTÉ One. Anyone who wishes to travel to Tralee to support the Fermanagh Rose in the Dome or to enjoy any of the live music entertainment during the Festival can purchase tickets from



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