NEW Zealand will be represented in next month's âRose of Tralee' competition by West Cork lady Niamh O'Sullivan.Â
âOriginally a âClon Girlâ,' she said, âI'm very proud and humbled to be representing both New Zealand, my new home, and Clonakilty, my old, in the 2017 International Rose of Tralee Festival. For years I was a homebird, growing up in the halls of Sacred Heart Secondary School and heading on to study Nutritional Science at UCC.Â
âThat all changed in my third year when I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and, inspired by what I could do with my background in nutrition and my newfound knowledge, I set sail for London to study for a Masters in Dietetics in King's College, London. It was here I met my Kiwi boy when I moved into a new house share and found this handsome man sitting in my living room â my new housemate!Â
âThings soon progressed past friendship, with each of us besotted by each other's accents and stories of home,' continued Niamh. âAfter two years together, I made the tough decision to put love above fear and follow him over to New Plymouth in Taranaki, New Zealand.Â
âI soon fell in love with the green pastures that reminded me of home, until you casually walk past an immense waterfall that is! The people in New Plymouth opened their arms to me in a way that, to me, mirrored what I've seen Clonakilty do time and time again for those souls who wander through our streets and end up calling it home.Â
âI found myself loving the excitement of my new home, while concurrently pining and devastated for the loss of my old. The âRose of Traleeâ is the perfect opportunity to embrace both my past and my present and find a way of combining the two while I move forward into my future. I have had the chance to get to know this new country in the context of my old and it's been an amazing way of finding my identity as an Irish woman living in New Zealand.'Â
Niamh said she is so excited to see what the International Rose of Tralee Festival has to offer: âI can only imagine what an enriching experience it will be. I'm so thankful to both Clonakilty and New Zealand for coming together to wish me luck. It means so much!'