Cavan Rose Tara Rogers togged out in her Knockbride Ladies strip.

All’s Rosey for Tara’s Tralee journey

Cavan will be well represented at the Rose of Tralee Festival later this month by Knockbride girl TARA ROGERS who's looking forward to representing the Breffni county in Tralee from August 19-23. She will be among 33 Roses to vie for the crown, sash and title. MICHELLE TAITE caught up with her before she heading off on her journey to Kerry yesterday...

It's been a whirlwind of excitement, special guest appearances and Rose events since teacher Tara Rogers was crowned the Cavan Rose in June.

She's overwhelmed by the support and well wishes she has received since, including a number of fundraising events to ensure this Knockbride lady is dressed to the nines and ready to represent Cavan in Tralee.

A recent barn dance in the Bailie Hotel was among the highlights and the community turned out in force to give Tara a proper send-off.

The fundraiser was organised by Knockbride GFC in aid of Tara’s trip to Tralee and her chosen charity, Killian’s Campaign for Water Safety.

Tara is the daughter of Una and Noel Rogers and teaches at Drumbaragh National School. A footballer, she is a popular member of the Knockbride Ladies team.

She is thrilled with the success of the Barn Dance and thanks everyone who supported it: “Half the money was going towards my Rose journey and the other half was given to Killian’s Campaign for Water Safety."

A delighted Tara gushed: “It was just brilliant, we all had a great night. We had about 400 people there and it was €15 entry. They’re not finished counting the money fully but we’ve raised about €6,000 altogether. All of my family was there, as well as my friends and people from both the Knockbride and Bailieborough communities."

With the huge attendance on the night, Tara’s fondest moment was spent with a man who is close to her heart. “There was nothing more special than dancing with my grandad that night. Everyone was just watching us dance, it was really nice.”

Bailieborough native, Deputy Niamh Smyth took to Facebook to congratulate both Tara and her football club on the success of their fundraiser. “Congratulations to Knockbride GFC on their Barn Dance fundraiser event this weekend for our beautiful Cavan Rose, Tara Rogers, and her chosen charity Killian's Campaign for Lake Safety. So lovely to see events like this happening again locally and, despite the last two years, no one in Knockbride has lost their fancy dance moves.”

A family experience

Tara is still on a high after being announced as the Cavan Rose back in June. While looking forward to the Rose of Tralee Festival, she’s even happier to be able to share the experience with her family and friends.

“It’s not just an experience for me, it’s an experience for them as well. I think there are around 80 people coming to support me in Tralee. My family are coming down on Thursday night and staying for the full week.

“They’re just so proud. It’s lovely for my mam, my dad and my brothers, but I’m delighted that I’m making my four grandparents proud too. One set of them are coming down, which is great but I’ve loads of aunts and uncles who are coming too. They can’t wait for the experience as well.”

Cavan has not had a new Rose since 2018 when Killinkere’s Rachel Cusack took the crown - making her the longest serving Cavan Rose in the history of the competition. A reorganisation of the Rose of Tralee Festival in 2019 meant that only 33 Roses would be hosted in Tralee annually. Cavan wasn't due to have a Rose until 2020 but Covid struck. Tara is guaranteed a televised interview at the international finals Tralee.

Local celebrity

She is enjoying her new role so far and has been experiencing a taste of fame in the county. “It has been crazy. People have been coming up to me everywhere I go to say they heard I’m the Cavan Rose and offering to give sponsorship. Everyone has been so generous. It’s nice to see everybody getting behind me.”

She is being sponsored by PSC Carpentry & Roofing Ltd, among others.

When asked what the best part has been so far, the Cavan Rose responds: ”I think meeting all the other girls. At the start when I found out I was going to be the Cavan Rose, I was nervous to meet them because you’d never know how you’re going to get on with all 33 girls in one room. Meeting them all at different occasions has been brilliant, they’re all just great craic.

“I was also just in Sligo with 17 of the Roses, it was mental. They are all such lovely girls. It was a nice taste of what’s to come.”

The hopeful Rose is looking forward to the next few weeks and starting her journey to Tralee. “I leave for Wexford on Thursday the 11th. I’m so excited I can’t wait. The nerves haven’t set in yet but I definitely think when I’m heading off Thursday morning I will be nervous.”

After meeting in Wexford, Tara and the other Roses will be split among two buses, with one heading to Dublin and the other bound for Tipperary, before reuniting again in Kildare. “When we are in Kildare, we will have our RTÉ research press call so this is where the televised part will start.

“My bus will then be heading for Leitrim while the other half of the Roses will go to Wicklow. We will all meet up again in Limerick before we head on to Cork. We will be visiting different sites around these counties.”

All 33 Roses will then make their way to Tralee on Friday, just in time for the Rose Ball that evening.

We wish Tara the very best of luck.