Lilies in bloom as search begins for the Kildare Rose of 2014

Kildare Rose 2013 Hannah Ryan pictured with her mum, Angela (left), and her aunt, Breda Garvey.
It’s not all glamour being a Kildare Rose hopeful.

It’s not all glamour being a Kildare Rose hopeful.

A bunch of Lilies hoping to take this year’s title got their first quick lesson in the art of the perfect press photo at the launch of the 2014 Kildare selection event last Saturday.

The girls gamely braved freezing temperatures outsidethe Osprey Hotel in Naas as they were put through their paces by the photographers, and were even joined by Kildare Mayor Mark Wall, with quips flying that he was the “thorn among the roses”.

Elena Gibson, organiser of the Kildare event and herself a former Dublin Rose, joked that flat shoes and a good warm scarf can be the most important accessories for taking part in Ireland’s best-loved competition.

The Kildare Rose 2014 selection night will be held at the Osprey Hotel in Naas on Saturday night, April 5, and it is now open for entrants.

Reigning Kildare Rose Hannah Ryan was on hand at Saturday’s launch to share her experiences of the year.

Hannah, who is studying for a Masters in Economic and Financial Risk Analysis at NUI Maynooth, told the prospective contestants to enjoy the next few months. “It will be an experience you will never forget,” she said.

The proudest moment of the young Newbridge woman’s time as a Rose, she told the crowd, was when she was invited to sing the National Anthem at the televised Kildare v Tyrone GAA match in St Conleth’s Park last summer.

She has also worked with KARE and the Samaritans, launched the Grassroots festival and raised a green flag at her old school, St Conleth’s and Mary’s.

Organiser Elena Gibson told the crowd that she has wonderful memories of representing Dublin in the International Rose of Tralee competition in 2005. She thanked sponsors The Osprey Hotel and Lily O’Brien’s, as well as Shades and Shapes in Newbridge, who have supported Hannah during her Rose duties this year.

Aristohats and Aria Boutique will also be involved with this year’s Kildare Rose winner, who will represent the county in the Regional Finals in Portlaoise during the summer.

Steve Cronly, commercial manager of the International Rose of Tralee Festival, said the Kildare event was one of the biggest attendances he had seen at a launch.

An interesting programme of events lies ahead for the Kildare Roses ahead of the selection night, including a visit to Lily O’Brien’s and a talk with Senator Mary-Ann O’Brien.

The Rose contestants who attended the launch included Kerri Devereux, Kilcullen; Emily Aspell, Newbridge; Kerrie Gillespie, Naas; Shauna Rothwell, Suncroft; Rachel Tutty, Clane; Kate O’Neill, Maynooth; Meadhbh O’Sullivan, Newbridge; Megan Byrne, Coill Dubh; Ciara Finn, Clane; Daynah Lee, Kill; Karen Kavanagh, Naas; Tara Higgins, Naas; Hayley Walsh, Newbridge and Orna Whyte, Kilcullen.

Music for the launch was provided by Phionagh Gibson and Eoghan O’Toole, and Elena is joined on the organising committee by her husband David Gibson, a former Rose escort and Charlene Foley, who was a London Rose.

To find out more about entering this year’s Kildare Rose, log on to the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kildare.rose. You can also see video from the launch of the Kildare Rose 2014 at www.leinsterleader.ie.