You probably have your own televisually constructed view of what the Rose of Tralee is. You probably think it’s a more grown-up version of the “Lovely Girls” competition in Father Ted. You probably think it’s one of the main preserves of old, rural Ireland. That its popularity is nowadays down to its novelty. And you’d be right.
The Rose of Tralee pageant itself is a rather non-descript affair in Kerry. We don’t really care for it and only grannys would be willing to sit through an excruciating 2 or 3 hours of it. But the Rose Of Tralee International Festival is different. For the Rose of Tralee is not just a beauty pageant; it is a festival. And a bloody good one.
This year the likes of Jedward (If you can bare them), Gift Grub, Royseven, Aslan and The Saw Doctors will be in attendance. Now while Gift Grub and Jedward are going to cost you some moolah (€10 and respectively) the rest of the gigs are free of charge and held on the open-air stage in Denny Street in the middle of Tralee town.
As a Kerry native I can tell you that the Rose of Tralee International Festival is probably the best festival in Kerry and without question the most fun. And why would I lie? I’m not even from Tralee. Besides the pageantry and gigs, the town will be host to a number of parades, stalls and fun events. It’s one for the whole family and after it gets dark, one for the more mature amongst us to enjoy.
The festival kicks off this Friday the 17th and runs until Tuesday, the 21st. For more information check out http://roseoftralee.ie/. And for information on how to get to Tralee (You take the main Tralee road – Duh_ or transport, just ask in reception.