If there ever was a year to throw your hat in the ring for the Rose of Tralee, 2016 is the time to do it.
This was the message from current Rose of Tralee Elysha Brennan, who stopped by the city this week to be reunited with the Derry Rose Eimear Anderson.
Elysha, who was diagnosed and beat cancer when she was 19, said: “life is short.”
“You don’t know what is around the corner,” she said.
“Being part of the Rose of Tralee is such an amazing experience.
“I’m doing great now. I have loads of energy, I eat well, sleep well and exercise. I’m trying to mind myself and not burn myself out. And I have a mammy who looks after me, making sure I’m eating plenty of vegetables.
“I have a good head on my shoulders.”
Tuesday marked Elysha’s first ever visit to Derry however she says she had fond memories of staying with cousins in Donegal for her summer holidays.
“It’s my first trip to Derry but hopefully not my last,” she said.
“We have a great day lined up and I’m looking forward to having a walk around the city Walls.”
When Elysha was crowned the Rose of Tralee in 2015, it had been seven years since an Irish woman scooped the title.
“I was very proud to take it back home,” said Elysha. “They’re all very proud of me in Meath.
“I hope to encourage other women to apply. I loved getting my treats when I was younger and sitting down and picking my winner.
Derry Rose Eimear Anderson said she was delighted to have Elysha in Derry.
“This time last year we didn’t know each other at all well,” she said. It’s is great to have her here today so she can see the city in all of its glory. The search is now on for the 2016 Derry Rose and if there was ever a year to do it, this is it. Sending the application in to be the Derry Rose changed my life completely, it was something I always wanted to do. This is a festival which celebrates the modern Irish woman and all that comes with it, it’s not about how you look or dress. Elysha and I have made so many friendships. We are modern Irish women and proud of it.”