Carmel Clarke from Dunboyne in Meath has been proclaimed this year’s Rose of Newcastle and will now go on to the regional finals in Portlaoise in May, hoping to be selected for the final festival in Tralee.
Carmel, 23, was born in Manchester before growing up in Meath and has been teaching at the Carmel College in Darlington since last September. It is also the Carmel College that sponsor her.
She told The Irish World: “Entering the Rose of Tralee was something I always wanted to do. I’m the only girl of the family with four brothers so it was always a special time of the year for me and my mother at the end of August. We would always get together, you’d hear the stories of all the girls and the experiences that they had, it was always a great love and I think part of every young Irish girl wanted to be a rose.”
Carmel was delighted to have support on the night from two brothers who had travelled from Philadelphia and Perth, giving her quite a surprise: “I had family coming from everywhere for the night so it made it even more special.”
Carmel displayed her Irish dancing skills for judges on the night but multi-talented Carmel plans to sing for her party piece at the regional finals: “My mother has a song in mind that my granny used to sing so it will be a bit sentimental.”
Looking ahead to Portlaoise, she says: “It will be nerve racking, I just can’t wait to meet a whole bunch of new people and making new friends for life. I’m excited for the social side of it.”
The event took place at Jurys Inn, Newcastle-Gateshead Quays, on April 5 and was organised by Sheena Greeves, Chairperson of the Newcastle Rose Centre. Sponsors were the Felling Irish Association & The South of Tyne Irish Society.
Applications are being taken for the Derby Rose selection which takes place on May 3. Anyone interested should call Mary Murphy on 07941621488.