Rose of Tralee Aoife to tie the knot with fiance Leon
Rose of Tralee Aoife Kelly will by tying the knot with the love of her life later this year.
With plans already under way for this year's much anticipated 50th annual Rose of Tralee festival, the reigning Rose has a busy few months ahead.
Not only will bubbly Tipperary girl Aoife be heading off on a nationwide and world-wide tour to promote the long-running pageant, but she'll also be putting the final touches to her wedding plans later this year.
Having met husband-to-be just two years ago, Aoife will tie the knot with her South African fiance Leon de Klerk at a romantic ceremony in a South African vineyard next October.
She told the Herald: "I cannot wait, I've been planning it for ages. The wedding is two months after I hand back the crown so at least I'll have that to keep me busy and take my mind off no longer being the Rose of Tralee.
"The designer who made my dress for the festival is making the wedding dress so I know it's going to be beautiful," she added.
Aoife first met Leon on top of the world's highest bungee jump in South Africa, with Leon making the romantic marriage proposal under a willow tree while the smitten pair were rowing a boat along the Thames.
"He's the best man in the world and he's been so supportive since I won," gushed Aoife. "He comes over here every weekend and while sometimes I have to drag him around to different things, he's very good about it and really sociable.
"He's living in Cambridge and is thinking of moving here when we get married but I guess we'll have to see what the situation is with engineering jobs before we make any decisions," she added.
However, before she goes jetting off to Africa Aoife would like to pursue a media career similar to former Rose of Tralee Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, a familiar face on RTE shows The Panel and No Frontiers.
"Aoibhinn's doing well so I wouldn't rule out going down that route," she said. "If any doors open I'll gladly take them, if something comes my way then it's meant to be.
"I kept on my full-time job as an occupational therapist when I won, so I did that four days a week and my Rose commitments at the weekend until Christmas."
- Lorna Nolan