WELCOME ONE AND all. Have we all be humming the Rose of Tralee theme tune since last night? Just me? Right, well I’m sure you’ve been waiting anxiously for the RTÉ cameras to turn back on in the Dome for the very last night of the 2012 Rose of Tralee finals.
Tonight the remaining 14 Roses will take to the stage for a quick chat with Dáithí. Who knows what else lies in store for them – and for us. More dolphin impressions? Maybe. More dancing? Definitely. We’ll be following all that action and more, live, here.
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19.55 – Right, are we ready to do this all over again? It’s Sinéad O’Carroll here, taking over from Michael Freeman for The Daily Edge. As one tweeter, @trionaaa told me last night, I have a lot to live up to. Missed last night’s show? Catch up with all the dolphin impressions, dancing and dentistry here.
19.58 – We’re just waiting for Eastenders to finish up here. It’s all a bit anti-Rose of Tralee isn’t it? Lots of shouting, tousled hair, blood and no dancing. No dancing whatsoever. If you can’t handle it, why not take the time to print out our Rose of Tralee Bingo? Again, I’d like to reiterate that we do not recommend the suggestions are used as rules for any sort of drinking game.
20.05 – AND WE’RE LIVE. And the banners are on speed. There are so many of them. The little ones are being eaten by the bigger ones. Do the judges take that into account?
20.06 – The Perth Rose is up first. And as Will Leahy says, it’s not easy. Poor girl.
20.07 – “Eight nurses. All single.” Dáithí just sweated some more. Yes, we’ll be keeping an eye on Dáithi’s perspiration tonight.
20.10 – Before telling us about her gymnastics exploits, Lorna, who is originally from Mayo and is now a cosmetic nurse, informed Dáithí how much work he’d need to get done on the wrinkles. Dáithí, botox and the splits. Maybe tonight will top Monday night’s line-dancing antics.
20.10 – Lorna is going to sing the first song of the night. Yay! More talents. There were just not enough talents last night. Pity she didn’t do the handstand though.
20.12 – As we listen to the Perth Rose, I feel I should tell you that I was at my physiotherapist today with neck problems. I cannot move my head to the right or left. I am positioned right in front of the TV – I cannot avert my eyes. EVEN IF I WANT TO. That, my friends, is dedication.
20.13 – Home and Away theme tune music. She’s from Australia if that was lost on you. It’s Ciara Phelan from Queensland.
20.16 – Ciara, the SUPER-bridesmaid, has said she picked up tips this week from the escorts. Does that explain more to us about what the escorts are all about? They don’t even seem to know. Our Escort of the Year remained flummoxed about why he was the Chosen One last night. Watch from 5.45:
20.17 – My editor, Susan Daly, just screamed at the television – her mother has a t-shirt with her face on it. Turns out, she doesn’t. That must be an aunt. Or her boyfriend’s mother. Incidentally, my editor has a beer in her hand.
20.20 – I feel I should explain that last entry further. TheJournal.ie is having its annual BBQ tonight.
As I said before, dedication. They are all having the craic out the back.
20.21 – And we’re into the Kerry vs Tyrone GAA banter with Tyrone Rose Catherine Sherry.
20.23 – Has Dáithí got better at the banter tonight? He seems to have improved in a mere 24 hours. Earlier today the Westmeath Rose said that the Kerry man would put anyone at ease, describing their chemistry as “bouncing off each other”. Some people disagree.
20.24 – We have a dancer. And it’s a slip jig no less. But she doesn’t need Dáithí’s help with the dress. WHAT? That is not in keeping with tradition Catherine.
20.26 – Oh no. Dáithí is trying to fill the time as Catherine puts on her socks. He’s just dying to help. Let him help for the love of god, Catherine. Has she never watched this show before?
20.27 – “Is she any good?” asks my colleague Susan Ryan. No idea. Anyone?
20.28 – Susan Ryan with another legit question. “Are those Irish dancing shoe buckles from Newbridge Silverware?” So many questions for Catherine but, alas, she’s gone and that is the end of part one.
20.31 – Phew! And we’re to a break. How are we all doing out there? That was quite the start. A song and a dance within 29 minutes. If this continues, we are in for a treat. I was worried that last night’s offerings couldn’t be surpassed.
20.35 – Some people may be disappointed as they tune into RTÉ tonight as Fair City had to be cancelled for this event. But we don’t have time to delve into the repercussions of that as South Australia’s Sarah Doherty is about to confront/be confronted by (?) Dáithí.
20.38 – Sarah is talking about her parents and how they emigrated to Australia. Looking at her bio, it looks like Sarah won’t be singing or dancing. She can, however, change a tyre, flush plasterboard and make a wedding cake. Can she do any of those things on stage? No? Next.
Ok then, it might be fun fact time. Did you know there is an actual rose named the Rose of Tralee? Well, there is. Fun fact. Use it.
20.39 – I SPOKE TOO SOON. Sarah is doing a magic trick. Magic! Is Paul Daniels waiting back stage?
20.40 – Dáithí wants us to make sure that we believe this magic trick isn’t a Fix. Would we be that cynical?
20.41 – Sarah’s back is turned. There is a member of An Garda Síochána involved. Sarah is studiously looking at the deck. I am enthralled.
20.42 – She got it wrong. Oh so wrong. Lads, you rehearse this stuff. Rehearsals…you know, practice. Someone, somewhere just turned in his grave.
20.45 – Nóra Ni Fhlannagáin, the London Rose, has taken to the stage. The last two winners have been from London so she can’t really win, can she? She has told a story that has seemed to embarrass her mother but I honestly missed all the details. I’m not sure how.
There were rumours that Ronan O’Gara was the one chosen to present the knives and forks to the winner later and that seems to have been confirmed with the second mention of the Munster man tonight. That’s enough to keep us watching for the next two-and-a-half-hours, right?
20.48 – And it’s our first tin whistle of the night. What do you think, does the talent segment make for a better show even if the, eh, talents aren’t exactly world-beating? Which do you prefer?
20.51 – We’re expecting big things from Annemarie Lynch. She did come second in Cavan’s Got Talent. Our resident GAA man Fintan O’Toole has even put his money on her, choosing her ahead of his beloved Cork in our office sweepstake.
20.52 – Oooooo…audience non-reaction there. Tralee has not heard of Chace Crawford. I think he’d make a fine escort though.
20.56 – The Roses are holding hands and swinging them to the tune of Dancing in the Dark. Wow. The Kilkenny Rose is also singing along. She’s a gem, isn’t she? Want a dolphin impression repeat? Of course you do! Watch from 1.20
20.59 – Break time. Time to collect our thoughts. Or maybe I could just get another beer?
21.02 – Oh, it’s actually News time. That was a quick hour. How are we doing out there? Come say hello in the comments section, tweet us at @dailyedge or @sineadocarroll or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org
21.07 – It seems Ireland isn’t on its own with its lovely-girls competitions. Here are six others that break out of the usual beauty pageant model, including Miss Penitentiary and Miss Landmine. Yikes!
21.13 – “The truth in her eyes ever dawning.” That was what made William love Mary O’Connor, the original Rose of Tralee. Unfortunately, William’s elevated social status prevented him from marrying so he emigrated and by the time he returned, the poor and fair Mary had perished from tuberculosis. And that is how the Rose of Tralee was born. Oh.
21.15 – The Rose of Tralee website gives us details on how we can visit the original Mary at her grave in the cemetery at Clogherbrien. Just take the Fenit road out of Tralee and the graveyard is on the right-hand side. That’s the weekend sorted then.
21.18 – BIG NEWS in from Paddy Power. Luxembourg Rose Nicola McEvoy, who we saw last night, has overtaken Arlene O’Neill from Dublin and is now favourite to take the title this year.
21.24 – The Roses will be returning soon. Meanwhile, let us recap on the all-important competition criteria. ”The qualities of a Rose are defined by the words of the song The Rose of Tralee and crystallised by the young woman who is chosen as the Rose of Tralee”. And that song:
21.29 – There are certain times when I wish my mother was by my side consistently. This is one of these times. I just realised that we haven’t commented on any of the dresses yet but I think this tidbit from Mrs. O’Carroll yesterday pretty much sums up all 32 outfits: “That dress is lovely – a bit much – but it’s nice.”
Phew, that’s done. Please refer back to this post for all sartorial queries.
21.33 – How does one win the Rose of Tralee? Hugh O’Connell, who by the way was taught by Dáithí Ó Sé for six months when he was 13, is “baffled” by how this competition is judged. He is not au fait with the words of the Rose of Tralee, obviously.
21.35 – “General inoffensiveness and someone who is least likely to throw up on an ambassador.” My colleague Gav Reilly’s answer to Hugh’s query. By the way, this is how Hugh remembers Dáithí, sweaty long hair and all:
21.37 – AND WE ARE BACK. The news has been read, the weather has been forecast and the banners are being waved. They are getting bigger, aren’t they? First up, another chance to enter a competition. The answer is Central Park. Go.
21.39 – Last night we were treated to a story about the Waterford Rose’s green-and-clear tooth brush from her room-mate, the Texas Rose. What can Lorna Ferncombe add to that?
21.39 – Lorna’s dress reflects Waterford and it’s people, she says. It also reflects the other girls in the competition. That’s a busy dress.
21.42 – “OH MY GOD, he’s sweaty.” Direct quote from Deputy Editor Christine Bohan. Obviously, I am stuck in another world and had stopped noticing Dáithí’s perspiration. Sorry guys, I’ve failed in my reporting duties but I feel like I’m in the Dome right now. I’m there. It’s just so tense.
21.44 – She knows she is in a wedding dress. The boyfriend sighs. And I missed that story too. The audience clapped. Fair play.
21.45 – Well, the Waterford Rose got the biggest laugh of the night. And now we’re on to Rose number 26. That music was a bit jaunty, wasn’t it?
21.50 – Down Rose Una Matthews admits that she couldn’t find the White House in Washington DC. It was all those sign-posts, she said. Understandable.
21.52 – More chat about the escorts. Have you seen them yet? They look like every boy you went to school with. Cloned.
21.53 – Claire in the comments section asks: “How come all these Roses are madly successful in their careers in business? Weren’t they all primary teachers and midwives before?”
Good observation. The girls’ bios are insanely and agonisingly impressive.
21.54 – Last night, we had a voo-doo doll of the Luxembourg Rose. Tonight, we have a Louth GAA-jersey-wearing doll of Patricia Marmion.
21.56 – Patricia, or Polly (I’m confused), has lost the tooth stud for the occasion.
21.58 – The list of prizes for tonight’s winner is incredible. It includes a wardrobe of frocks, unlimited stays in any Carlton Hotel and a set of knives of forks. The Rubber Bandits have added to the loot.
22.00 – Polly is about to sing but warns us that her voice is “a bit shot”. But, sure, isn’t she grand.
22.02 – Leaving all cynicism aside for a minute – maybe because Polly’s rendition of At Last is quite nice – Miguel, our dedicated tech guy, has just given me his feedback on the festival as its his first time watching it. He says he thinks it’s nice that a smaller town that isn’t the capital gets its name in lights for a week. Awwwww. Go, Tralee!
22.03 – GUYS, PAY ATTENTION. Tiffany plays the bagpipes. There may be bagpipes coming soon. She says the bagpipes define her.
22.06 – Oh, now I feel bad. The bagpipes came about because Tiffany needed a hobby after being bullied in school. I am losing all cynicism here. Am I being taken in? I’m being converted. Thank god I’m too old to enter next year.
22.07 – Yes, this was always going to happen. Dáithí is about to change into a pair of stilettos. Tiffany should win for this. THIS is winning.
22.08 – Tiffany and Dáithí are involved in some kind of walk-off. If there is a joke about those heels belonging to Dáithí’s new wife, I am shutting this live blog off. Cynicism is back.
22.09 – Tiffany asks us to sing-a-long to the bagpipes. Is that possible? Does that even make sense?
22.10 – “It is difficult to look cute playing the bagpipes.” Overheard in the office.
22.11 – If you’re joining us from another country and can’t get the RTÉ live stream, Tiffany just played ‘I’ll tell me ma’ on the bagpipes. The other Roses clapped and sang along but you already knew that.
22.19 – We’ll come back to the prize-list and that canteen of cutlery later, but first, here’s Talitha the Sunderland Rose. Dáithí praises her dress and asks about her ‘special shoes’. “Lovely stuff”. And there’s a story behind them. It’s going to be a good one. Can you feel it?
22.19 – Those shoes are as busy as the Waterford Rose’s dress.
22.23 – She’s talking about horses. Not one for the people. So, let’s look at what’s in store for the winner. A good fondle from Uncle Gaybo.
22.25 – ONLY THREE MORE TO GO. Will Leahy could have sounded less enthusiastic about that. By the way, has anyone heard him say “Totes amazeballs” yet. He’s promised to weave the phrase into his broadcast:
22.26 – And Dublin Rose Arlene O’Neill is back in front, according to Paddy Power. She hasn’t even gone yet?! But first, Cork Rose Brid Ryan.
22.29 – Dáithí is getting weary. His questions have changed from, you know, actual questions to “ah, tell us about that then.”
22.29 – Brid talks about her love of sandwiches and mayonaisse. We know one person that will be happy:
22.29 – Has anyone hit BINGO yet?
22.30 – A POEM! Our first poem of the night. She’s taken a song that her Dad sings at party but is going to say the lyrics instead. Turning lyrics into words. Brilliant.
22.31 – The mother is mouthing the words. It’s like a family song/poem/words on an autocue.
22.33 – Well now, here’s the favourite. Earlier today, the Defence Forces claimed her as theirs. It’s Arlene O’Neill from the capital. She’s skipping a bit of thesis-writing for this.
22.34 – Another pin. What’s with the pins? The pin is the new talent.
22.36 – Does wearing white cement Arlene’s position as odds-on favourite? As an aside, to be eligible to enter, the Roses can never have been married. Really, look at the application form.
22.38 – The boyfriend “doesn’t look dodgy at all”, says Dáithí, like every good Irish father meeting his daughter’s significant other.
22.39 – Looks like Arlene isn’t going to have a talent – the chats are a bit long. The cameramen have obviously been told to reduce the number of cuts to Dáithí – keeping an eye on the sweat situation is difficult.
22.40 – THE LAST ROSE. 32 of 32. Lissa Bramley. Lissa with two ‘S’s.
22.41 – Poor Lissa is in the Rose of Tralee instead of the US Olympics gymnastics squad. You win some, you lose some.
22.42 – Lissa is from Boston and New England. Dáithí is doing his best with the questions. His best.
22.45 – They’re talking about pirates from Cork now. It would be much better if she did some gymnastics. There has been lots of talk about gymnastics but not a whiff of a beam or the uneven bars. Come on people, we were expecting at least a cow.
22.47 – “Are we excited about that?” Dáithí is channelling is inner child-presenter. The audience looks slightly bored but there is now GYMNASTICS. It is as if they heard me. Lissa for the win.
22.49 – Sorry, I forgot my impartiality there for a second. But that was some good interpretive gymnastics. And a thumbs up from d’Mother. She also kept the Newbridge Silverware on – that is one good sponsorship contract that they locked down there.
22.51 – Susan Daly, our editor, just asked for an interval act like the Riverdance. It’s the Coronas. The lead singer is Mary Black’s son. Close enough.
22.56 – Did children’s presenter Mary Kingston give Dáithí grinds earlier today? He just told us we were in for a ‘treat’. Aside: she appeared at a competition launch today.
22.57 – And our tweet of the night goes to @shivface:
22.59 – The Coronas advertorial has come to an end. They’re on a European tour soon, in case you didn’t know.
23.01 – There’s a recap. Dervla Kenny, Enda’s godchild, has got the biggest cheer so far. Is that telling?
23.03 – Somehow, I missed this last night. The Chicago Rose Margaret Rose Keating’s last boyfriend dumped her to enter a seminary two days later. If that’s not enough to win the Rose of Tralee, I will alter my birth cert and enter this next year and liveblog the whole shindig.
23.03 – Don’t Klaus and the Dad look so alike?
23.04 – We are getting close to the time. The tiara is on stage. The Rose of 2011 is under it.
23.08 – Dáithí is reacting to something Tara is saying. We don’t know what it is but this is the best screengrab ever:
23.10 – The professional announcers are on stage. Lots of thank yous. The girls look nervous. Well, the ones who have a chance of winning. Paddy Power has stopped taking bets.
23.11 – See, nervous. Lip-bitingly nervous.
23.13 – Dáithí has the gold envelope in his hand. It’s gold. Symbolism. Those forks are worth €5,000.
23.14 – Ó Sé is now dazzling us with his knowledge of the Roses. Again, they rehearse this.
23.14 – Ladies and gentlemen, the 2012 International Rose of Tralee is………Luxembourg Rose Nicola McEvoy.
23.15 – So, the voo-doo doll was less voo-doo and more magic. Take that, South Australia’s Sarah Doherty.
23.16 – ROG puts the sash on Nicola. She can’t believe it. The tiara’s a bit weird isn’t it? They should take some inspiration from QEII’s collection. They did see the wedding, right?
23.21 – An escort look-a-like sings the Rose of Tralee song as confetti falls on the stage. This was the moment Nicola realised she won a wardrobe of frocks and a canteen of cutlery.
23.22 – We’re kind of ahead of schedule here – it’s not meant to be over until 11.30. What happens now? Do they put on Fair City? Does Dáithí have to give another demonstration of walking in heels?
23.29 – That’s it folks. Here’s to Luxembourg’s most tweeted-about night. Kicked off with this:
23.31 – As La Vie En Rose plays in the background (in honour of Nicola..but the Grace Jones version), I’m going to rejoin my colleagues at the BBQ. There’s no food or drink left but, heh, that’s all in the job description. Good night.