Tralee contest runs in the family for gorgeous Aussie Rose Louise
WHEN Louise Thompson was selected to represent Southern Australia at the Rose of Tralee she didn't need to go far for advice.
Her aunt, Clare O'Connor was the 1986 Kerry Rose.
Now aunt and niece will take part in this year's extended festival that welcomes 32 Roses from around the world and hundreds of its 1,700 former contestants.
Louise (25) wasn't even born when her aunt – who's maiden name is Thompson – represented Kerry.
But all the tales of the golden week back in August 1986 was enough inspiration for Louise to put her name forward.
Originally from Dun Chaoin but based in Adelaide for the past three years, Louise revealed she has always wanted to follow in her aunt's footsteps.
"I just can't wait for it," she told the Herald.
"Clare keeps telling me to just enjoy it. It will be the best week of my life."
Looking forward to the festival, Ms O'Connor says she's got to relive it all once again through her niece.
"It's very different now though. Before the festival in 1986 we were given a list of names and addresses for all the other Roses but now they've already got to know each other through Facebook," she said.
Once the competition ended it was back to normal, which for Clare was her day job as a teacher in Athenry, Co Galway.
Since her Rose days, she's got married, raised a family and now teaches at Brooklodge National School near Glanmire in Co Cork.
"I know it sounds cliched but we all felt like winners arriving in Tralee," she said.
Louise meets the 31 other Roses in Dublin today ahead of their nationwide tour before the festival begins on August 14.
Live coverage of the event will kick off from The Dome on August 19 and 20 with host Daithi O Se.