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    Rose of Tralee celebrates global Irishness

    By Noreen Bowden | August 25, 2008

    The annual Rose of Tralee festival, that glorious celebration of global Irishness is taking place tonight and tomorrow.

    This year’s 31 contestants are, as always, an intriguing mix of locals, emigrants and descendants. London Rose Belinda Brown has garnered much media attention; the Jamaican-born accountant moved to Antrim when she was three and has been living in London for a few years.  Tipperary rose Aoife Kelly is the bookie’s pick; 40% of all the bets – including some from Spain and London –  have been on the occupational therapist, and her odds are now 2/1.

    Roses hail from many counties in Ireland, as well as traditional emigrant locals such as Boston, Darwin, Perth, Liverpool, Coventry, Toronto and more in Britain, the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Dubai, France and Luxembourg are also represented.

    The women are competing to take the crown currently held by New Yorker Lisa Murtagh, who has travelled the world since winning the contest last year; she has represented the charity Concern Worldwide and has visited a Concern project in Kenya.

    Visit the Rose of Tralee website.

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