WITH just one day to go until she hands over her tiara, reigning Rose Of Tralee Charmaine Kenny admits it has been a year of ups and downs for her family following a number of tragic losses.
Athy-born Charmaine, who took the title at last year's festival in her capacity as the London Rose, explained how her grandmother Teresa's death last year was particularly difficult for her and her parents.
"It has been a difficult time for the family with the passing away of my grandmother, Teresa Kenny, and my uncle Louis's wife, Marcia, and other close family friends," she explained.
"My mum and dad have been incredibly supportive throughout the year and I am truly blessed to have both of them.
"They have been pillars to me throughout the year. Even though at the age of 27 I thought that I would be Miss Independent, it has been a real treat for me to be back living with them in Athy," she added.
Charmaine went on to explain how she is more loved up than ever with her boyfriend Sean Hogan, who travelled with her to Malawi during her reign.
It was her other half who was originally responsible for entering the management consultant into the London Rose selection.
"Were it not for his tireless encouragement I would not be the 51st Rose Of Tralee today," she explained.