Rachel Duffy, representing Co Westmeath, has been named the 2022 International Rose of Tralee.
Duffy was crowned the Rose of Tralee on Tuesday, August 23 at the culmination of the second night of live, televised interviews which were hosted by Dáithí Ó Sé.
Duffy is the first contestant from Westmeath to ever win the completion that dates back to 1959.
“I’m in total shock,” she said after being crowned. “We’ve had a great year this year in Westmeath between the Tailteann cup and the Fleadh Ceoil and now we have the Rose Of Tralee.”
She added: “I just want to say to my family, I hope I’ve made ye proud.”
Duffy, 23, was amongst 33 people from around the world vying to be crowned the 2022 International Rose of Tralee at the historic festival in Tralee, Co Kerry.
Rather than a beauty contest, the Rose of Tralee searches for a role model and ambassador to represent Irish culture around the world. Entrants must be at least 18 years old, be female or identify as female, and be Irish or have Irish ancestors.
Duffy now takes over from Dr. Sinead Flanagan, who represented Limerick in the 2019 event. Due to pandemic postponements, Flanagan is the longest-serving Rose in the festival’s history.
2022 Rose of Tralee Rachel Duffy, in her own words:
My name is Rachel Duffy, and I am 23 years old. I am from the small village of Rosemount located in the heart of the country in Co Westmeath.
Last year I graduated from NUI Galway with a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and Spanish. I was very fortunate during my time at university that I got to study abroad at UNC Chapel Hill and the Universidad de Oviedo, USA.
I currently work in P Egan’s Traditional Irish Bar in Moate and I am returning to university to complete my Master’s Degree to be a Spanish and English teacher. I love my job at the minute because I meet so many new people every day, but I look forward to becoming a teacher and sharing my passion for languages and the arts with young people.
I am a proud member of Cill Óige Ladies, a new LGFA club founded in my parish in 2021. I am a huge advocate for girls playing sports and I dedicate a lot of my time as a player and committee member.
When I am not working or playing football, you will find me at a trad session singing a few tunes. My motto in life is ‘Don’t give up’.