DUBLIN Rose Arlene O'Neill has been left disappointed after businesses in the capital have rejected her proposals for sponsorship.
Trinity College student Arlene (25) is relying on the goodwill of family and friends for her wardrobe for the upcoming Rose of Tralee festival.
Arlene, who is from Lucan, told the Herald she contacted a number of businesses in Dublin to help dress her for the contest, but has been left disappointed by their responses.
"I emailed one store and they just responded no to me," she said.
"They said that they wouldn't be in the position to help. I also contacted two other stores but never got a reply"
However Arlene refuses to let her lack of sponsors affect her mood, and remains optimistic about how she will dress herself in the competition.
"I'll be wearing 20 outfits throughout the whole thing, and despite the disappointment of not getting sponsored, I'm not too worried. If someone wishes to sponsor me they can get in touch but if not it's not the end of the world."
"I have found a great dressmaker in Dublin who will be making some of the dresses, about six or seven of them, and my Mam, Dad, Nana and Grandad have been helping to fund this which has been lovely."
"Friends and family are still offering their own dresses too, which is great, and I'll be digging my own outfits out from my wardrobe too."
Arlene, who is currently completing her thesis for her PHD in Applied Physics, also spoke of how she hopes to incorporate her studies into her party piece for the competition.
"I'm not 100pc on what I'm doing yet, but I hope it's going to be science related. It's my passion."
Arlene, who will start the ten-day road tour for the Rose of Tralee on August 13, will be flying the flag for Dublin on the 17th - 21st of August when the contest officially begins in Kerry.
She says excitement is mounting for the big day and that "there are too many things to look forward to."
Additionally, support in her hometown of Grange Manor, Lucan, has remained unfaltering over the past few weeks.
"The support has just been absolutely incredible. Young girls get all excited and wave up at me when they see me; I can't go anywhere without being stopped for a chat, and the buzz and atmosphere around the place is great. Everyone just wants me to do it for Dublin."