Ireland’s ‘Rose Of Tralee’ Contest For Young Women Invites Transgender Individuals
Roses from Ireland and overseas who are preparing for their journey to Tralee, for the Rose of Tralee International Festival, take part in a photocall at Stephen's Green in Dublin.
(Photo by Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images)

Ireland’s international ‘Rose of Tralee’ festival invites women from all over the world each year to County Kerry, Ireland, to compete for the title of the “Rose” and award given to the maiden who best embodies the virtues found in a 19th-century ballad about a rich Protestant who falls in love with a Catholic woman named Mary who lives in Kerry.  This year contest organizers announced that married women as well individuals who were born male but now identify as a woman will be allowed to compete for the top prize.

The Irish Times reported that Rose of Tralee executive chairman Anthony O’Gara told Radio Kerry that the contest would be “extending the age up to 29” and “that married women can enter and somebody who identifies as a woman would be very, very welcome to enter it,”

O’Gara said this was always the case, “but we haven’t stated it possibly strongly enough in the past, so we just want to confirm that”.

“We want to make sure we are diverse and inclusive. A lot of new things are happening,” O’Gara added.

The contest has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but has occurred for more than 60 years. Originally, contestants had to have been from Ireland but now any woman with Irish roots from around the world can compete. The contest takes place over months and the final event is typically held in August:

Each of the 32 counties in Ireland select a Rose and there is also a Rós Fódhla representing the Gaeltacht or Irish speaking areas in Ireland. Regional finals are held in June where six Irish girls are selected to take part in the International Rose of Tralee festival. Roses from Kerry, Dublin and Cork automatically qualify for the festival. There are also international Roses chosen from centres around the world who participate in the final. These include the centres of Birmingham, Boston, Darwin, Dubai, France, London, Luxembourg, Newcastle, New York, New Orleans, New Zealand, Perth, Queensland, San Francisco, Southern California, South Australia, Sydney, Texas, Toronto.

The winner is the person “deemed to best match the attributes relayed in the song: ‘lovely and fair.'”

She is also “selected based on her personality and should be a good role model for the festival and for Ireland during her travels around the world. In contrast to other similar contests for women, appearance is not supposed to play a role in the selection of the winner. The entire contest is supposed to be a celebration of the “aspirations, ambitions, intellect, social responsibility and Irish heritage” of young women.

A previous winner named Maria Walsh told Irish media that she would strongly support a transgender woman competing in the contest.

“For over 60 years, the festival has always celebrated the modern woman. I think the clarification from the festival now… is welcome. It’s an expression of where modern Ireland is now and needs to be,” Walsh stated.

“The more modern representation we have in the festival, the more people we break down the barriers for,” she continued. “The few naysayers who stand on the periphery saying it’s not modern enough and it’s too twee… it’s not. It is a celebration of a modern woman.”

“Any time you’re breaking a stereotype it’s a brave move,” she said specifically if a trans woman were to enter, “I think it’s going to be a fantastic moment for the country.”

“For those who are listening who are a part of our trans community and always wanted to be a part of the Rose of Tralee,” she added. “You will have a cohort of people supporting you to share your story and lived experience.”

Create a free account to join the conversation!

Already have an account?

Log in

Got a tip worth investigating?

Your information could be the missing piece to an important story. Submit your tip today and make a difference.

Submit Tip
Download Daily Wire Plus

Don't miss anything

Download our App

Stay up-to-date on the latest
news, podcasts, and more.

Download on the app storeGet it on Google Play
The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Ireland’s ‘Rose Of Tralee’ Contest For Young Women Invites Transgender Individuals