So the show is over now. Over the last 10 days I’ve been following it as my neighbour’s daughter was the German Rose, Saoirse Fitzgerald. Before this year, being a blow in to Ireland only 6 years ago, I’d heard of the Rose of Tralee but had never watched it and didn’t really know much about it. I thought it was just a beauty contest for Irish women.
I had a search on Twitter for all Rose of Tralee tweets so I could catch anything going on as I was excited for Saoirse and her family. I was surprised at the contrasting opinions on Twitter, seems the Rose of Tralee has the marmite factor; you either love it or hate it. From watching it myself on tv the last couple of nights if I hadn’t known what goes on behind the scenes in the run up to the Rose on tv I probably would of thought it was all a bit naff too. My mother watched it back in Wales and I had to explain to her there was more to it than just the tv show.
These aren’t women wanting to be recognised for being the most beautiful; they are intelligent and successful Irish women from around the world. They have the support of their families, friends and communities throughout the experience and especially on the final two nights. Nearly all of my neighbourhood went to Tralee to support Saoirse. This can’t be a bad thing can it?
Unfortunately the public only see the 5 minutes the Roses have on stage and the party piece, if they are asked to do one. Five minutes of possible nervousness going out live with no out-takes. I think that’s a bit harsh. In the week before the Rose’s have a vigorous schedule around the country which you may only see if you catch the 8 minutes of Rose TV online which zooms through the day. The judging process is actually based on the activities on the run up to the final two nights on TV. Maybe the decision has already been made before they get on TV, I don’t know. The women are watched constantly and obviously during this time their characters come out and the real people are seen. Wouldn’t it be better if RTE showed clips of this so the public get to see what the judges do?
Six hours of seeing the interviews is quite long so maybe if they split it over a week they’d get less people switching off. It seems that people who go to Tralee for the festival absolutely love it. The TV programmes could include clips of the festival that everyone raves about. I’m hearing all about the excitement and fun from my neighbours when they phone but all you can see on the TV show is when they are in the crowd enjoying the final evening. A lot more is going on there that may be more interesting to see than interview after interview. Not sure about the logistics but that is what organisers are for. 🙂
If the show is brought more up to date I’m sure it would change the mind of some of those haters. Having Imelda May on was perfect but they needed more than just one real entertainer to attract more viewers. If the show was spread over the week they could fit more in. Seeing what the Rose’s get up to through the week would make it more interesting and the public would understand the judges opinions a bit more then.
One thing I have realised about the Irish since living here is that they are very proud to be Irish and it is celebrated wherever they go. They never forget they are Irish no matter how far removed – in distance or descendants. St Patricks Day is celebrated everywhere and for many The Rose of Tralee is another great celebration reminding the community about their Irishness. I’d love it if the Welsh did the same. I’m a very proud Welsh woman and let everyone know that I’m Welsh (not English) wherever I go but we have no big celebrations. We have St David’s Day but that’s only really celebrated when we’re in school and dress up in the Welsh costume. St Patricks Day and Rose of Tralee bring Irish communities together wherever they are. Now why complain about that?
I enjoyed watching the Rose of Tralee because it was great to see Saoirse and all her family and neighbours in the audience. But after seeing her I must admit I did switch over for a while until Imelda May was on and then the results. So maybe if RTE bring the show up to date, spread it over a week and show more of the lead up and the festival itself it may convert some of those haters to lovers of the Rose of Tralee.
RTE if you’re reading this I want my commission if you take any of my ideas on board 🙂