Derry Rose of Tralee reflects on 'time of her life' during competition and encourages others to apply

Outgoing Derry Rose Aine Morrison is encouraging Derry girls to sign up for the Rose of Tralee Competition this year for the ‘experience of a lifetime’.
Derry Rose Aine MorrisonDerry Rose Aine Morrison
Derry Rose Aine Morrison

Aine has been Derry’s Rose for almost two years now and, even though she applied on a whim, she says the experience was ‘amazing’. Now that the time has almost come for her to hang up her sash for good, the former Thornhill pupil is trying to encourage as many Derry girls as possible to sign up for the competition.

Aine said: “I signed up in January 2022 without telling anyone that I had done it. I was sick with Covid and I just thought ‘go for it’. I sort of forgot about it and then in March I got the email to say I was through to the Derry selection.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"When my name was called out that night as the new Derry Rose, I couldn’t believe it was me. The girl beside me had to turn to me to tell me it was me and my mammy was screaming. My sister turned to my daddy and said ‘we have to go to Tralee!’”

Aine Morrison with the other RosesAine Morrison with the other Roses
Aine Morrison with the other Roses

Aine and her family then began preparing for the competition and Aine left her job at Lynch’s Eurospar in Skeoge to make time for the three weeks she would be on the road and Lynch’s sponsored her for the competition. She also enlisted the help of one well-known Derry woman.

"Mary Durkan was unbelievable,” said Aine. “I messaged her one day because I was looking to learn a few words of Irish and the next thing I knew, we were out shopping together! Mary asked the local businesses to donate clothes and dresses for the tour because she understood how expensive it would be.”

Kitted out with her new clothes and accessories from local retailers, Aine set out off on a road trip with the other Roses.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Everyone sees the competition on the TV but it’s so much more than that. You go on a ten-day tour of Ireland with the Roses to meet people and do events and it’s so much fun but nothing could prepare you for it. Every time you get off the bus, you’re met by crowds of people and you’re staying in really fancy, beautiful hotels – it was like being in the Princess Diaries!

Aine with her familyAine with her family
Aine with her family

"I have grown so much in confidence since doing the competition because you learn to talk about yourself and put yourself ahead. I used to hate talking about myself and did so bad in job interviews because I couldn’t say what I was good at but something just clicked and now I’m able to do it. You have so many people supporting you through it and, although everyone is there for themselves, they’re all so supportive of each other too. The Roses all become so close during the competition as well and we’re still great friends now. The highlight of the whole thing for me was for sure the friendships I’ve made there."

Aine wants to encourage anyone who fits the criteria to apply to be a Rose. She hopes to get as many people in the running as possible.

"There are no words for the experience of being a Rose,” she said. “It's something that I wish everybody could experience, just for those couple of weeks. Applications are open at the minute and we really want good representation for Derry.

"Some of the big centres like Dublin and Cork might have up to 20 girls in the running each year so it would be amazing to have as many as that! The Roses tour never comes up north so I’m hoping that if we get a good representation, they might eventually bringing the tour to Derry, which would be unbelievable.

Aine with other Roses and escorts at the St Patrick's Day celebrations in New York.Aine with other Roses and escorts at the St Patrick's Day celebrations in New York.
Aine with other Roses and escorts at the St Patrick's Day celebrations in New York.

"Anybody can be a Rose, the best bit of advice I could give to someone applying is just to be themselves through it all and enjoy every minute of it!”

To apply to be the Derry Rose or for more information, visit For advice from Aine or for companies who want to sponsor a Rose, search Derry Rose – Rose of Tralee on Facebook.

Related topics: