By BRIAN MOORE
WEST CORK was well represented at the Rose of Tralee this year with two very impressive contestants.
While Ãine Sullivan from Bantry and Niamh O'Sullivan from Clonakilty flew the flag for Germany and New Zealand respectively, they are hugely proud of their roots.
Ãine (21), whose mother Annette runs the family farm in Reendonagan just outside Bantry, was born and lived in Germany for many years, but attended ColÃ¡iste Pobail BheanntraÃ from the age of 14 until she completed her Leaving Cert, before returning to Germany where she is studying to be an opera singer and a music teacher.Â
Niamh (27), who lives in New Plymouth on the North Island in New Zealand, grew up in Clonakilty and went to the Sacred Heart Secondary School before studying Nutritional Science at UCC. She now works as a cardiology dietitian in New Zealand.
The two West Cork women spoke to The Southern Star as they prepared for their on-stage interview with host DÃ¡ithÃ Ã SÃ©.
âI have been living and working in New Zealand for the last 20 months,' said Niamh. âComing home for the Rose of Tralee has been incredible and the support I've received from everyone in West Cork, and especially Clonakilty, has been fantastic.' Ãine also said the support and good wishes from the community in Bantry had been very special.
âI have met 63 phenomenal women. There have been so many highlights, from the Rose Bud party to the Rose Parade, where I was delighted to see my 91-year-old grandmother had made the journey to Tralee to support me.'
While the crown went to the Offaly Rose Jennifer Byrne, Niamh and Ãine did their county proud.