LOUTH might not have had a representative in this year’s Rose of Tralee but that doesn’t mean that the winner hadn’t strong connections from the Wee County.
Not only was eventual winner Tara Talbot’s grandmother May from the county but her boyfriend Fionán Henry also has strong local roots with his mum Pauline hailing from Oliver Plunkett Park.
The Dublin-born Queensland Rose scooped the prestigious prize in Kerry last week and Pauline was there cheering her on all the way.
Pauline, whose maiden name was Carolan, is sister of well known local optomitrist Mary Gibson, whose business is in Roden Place while her brother Joe Carolan lives in Ravensdale.
Currently residing in Clonskeagh in Dublin, Tara has become a part of the Henry family since starting to date Fionán two-and-a-half years ago and Pauline told The Dundalk Democrat that she was delighted for her after her victory.
She said: “We’re all absolutely delighted for her because she’s a beautiful girl, inside and out and she showed that during the festival.”
Fionán and Tara after meeting when they both worked in Eircom in Dublin after she had taken time out from her job in Brisbane to go travelling.
Tara moved back Down Under to Queensland soon after with Fionán following her. Unfortunately, he was unable to return home to be with her for her big win but Pauline revealed he watched the whole thing live online.
She said: “He went out just before Christmas but unfortunately he couldn’t get the time off work to come home for the festival.
“We went down though to support Tara and it was an extremely enjoyable few days.
“We’re all thrilled for Tara. Fionán watched it online and then all his mates took him out for champagne afterwards to celebrate.”
Tara’s win has given Pauline double reason to celebrate as Fionán is now likely to return home as she will be largely based in Ireland for the next year because of commitments associated with her role as the newly crowned Rose of Tralee.
“I think he’ll come home now because she won’t be back in Queensland too often. I’ll be delighted to have him home. Unfortunately he’ll have to start looking for a job but hopefully something will turn up for him and if he could get something in sports therapy he’d be delighted.”
Pauline said she still travels back to Dundalk on a regular basis and recalls always bringing Fionán to Carlingford when he was younger as it is her “favourite spot in the world.”
Meanwhile, Tara revealed to The Dundalk Democrat that she has another connection with Louth apart from through Fionán.
She said: “My nana May Talbot, whose maiden name was Stanley, was from County Louth as well. I’m not sure where exactly but it was definitely in County Louth.”
Meanwhile, Tara revealed she was delighted to have been crowned the new Rose of Tralee.
“I’m absolutely delighted but very overwhelmed still. I’ve only had a chance to Skype Fionán for about 10 minutes since the festival but hopefully I’ll see him soon.
“It’ll be a massive year for me but I’m looking forward to it.”