Home Lifestyle Culture Who will be this year’s London Rose?

Who will be this year’s London Rose?

This Saturday evening the London Rose of 2024 will be crowned. There are 15 ladies vying for the title but only one will be selected to take the sash from current Rose of London Amy Gillen.

By David Hennessy

The finalists come from New York and New Zealand, Cornwall and Manchester, the north of Ireland and the south of London but all would be honoured to represent London at this year’s Rose of Tralee.

London Rose Amy Gillen reflected on her year wearing the crown.

Amy told The Irish World: “It’s been an incredible year but I’m looking forward to handing over the baton and finding the 2024 London Rose. Of course I’m going to be sad but I’ll always be part of the London Rose family and the extended Rose of Tralee family as well, so it’s an end of one era but an exciting start to the next.”

Thinking back on the night she was crowned London Rose last year Amy says: “It was absolutely surreal. I was just there to enjoy the whole process, to make friends along the way and then just to enjoy the night.

“I was nervous. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t but I was excited just to be part of the process. It’s hard to believe it was a year ago because it only feels like yesterday. I’m looking forward to next Saturday now.”

Handing on her sash will not preclude Amy from continuing the charity work she has started raising funds for causes such as ICAP, St Andrew’s Youth Club in Westminster and Irish Action Against Hunger.

“I’m going to be working more with those charities over the coming years and continue to do as much as I can for the London community. I’m just so grateful to have had this opportunity to represent London.

“I never knew what to expect really, it was always a dream of mine from being a little girl and thanks to my granny encouraging me all those years ago to go for the Rose of Tralee at some point, I’m so glad I did. I’m just grateful for all the experiences that I’ve had and I’m looking forward to all that’s to come.”

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An accomplished musician, Amy has released her debut album and even played for the then Prince Charles.

“Being the London Rose was an incredible opportunity. It’s been one of the highlights up there with all my music highlights as well because it was a dream of mine to be part of this iconic festival. It’s so world renowned really.

“Everywhere you go people know about it, and if they don’t know about it, they want to know about it. It’s been a dream of mine and I’m just glad I was given the opportunity to take part in it.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to my sponsors Falcon green, the Irish construction recruitment company. They have supported me throughout the year. Luna by Lisa were my makeup sponsors. Bare by Vogue, my tan sponsors. And everybody that was along the journey with me.

“My rose bud Sinead and her family. I want to thank The Irish World newspaper for the amazing coverage throughout the year and of course my London Rose Centre. And just everybody that has supported me along the way. I’m just so grateful.

“I feel like I’ve grown into my own skin even more, gained more confidence in public speaking.

“And just the friends that I’ve made from it even from this London Rose process.

“It’s just so important just to take all these opportunities and I definitely can say that I’ve just gained the absolute most from it.”

The London Rose finalists kicked off their 2024 Rose tour at this year’s Darkness into Light walk in Cricklewood. The tour continued to venues such as Ye Olde Monken Holt in High Barnet,  The Claddagh Ring in Hendon, The Hercules on Holloway Road and The Irish Embassy in London.

The Irish World was there along the way and can introduce you now to the ladies who would be this year’s Rose of London.

Find out who has danced for Michael Flatley, who works in European Parliament and who has raised thousands by running a half marathon for charity.

There is a soccer coach, a number of GAA players and several accomplished Irish dancers but also a figure skater, a ceroc dancer, one can even split the G on a pint of Guinness.

There are also finalists with meaningful causes whether it is awareness of visible differences or the forgotten Irish.

The Rose of London 2024 finalists

Cáit McCarthy, 26
From Gorey, Wexford
Works in medical device development

Cáit works in STEM. She has an undergrad in industrial engineering and a masters from Trinity.

Cáit moved to London four years ago. She plays soccer and has her FA badges coaching the team Big Dogs, she also coaches tag rugby.

Cáit says: “I really want to represent the city that has probably given me the most growth. The London Rose represents Irish culture and I’m really proud of the culture we have behind us.”

Cáit also works with her old school and university to inspire younger people.

She adds: “I think the Rose has propelled me forward to put even more work into myself. The main reason that I would really love to be crowned is to be a mentor to others and represent Ireland in such a unique way.”


Hannah McCrory, 27
From Strabane, Co. Tyrone
Commercial director
for Options Technology

Hannah has been in London for five years. In that time she has taken up playing GAA with Wandsworth Gaels and also returned to Irish dancing having first done it from the age of four but given it up when she went to uni. She dances with the South London Irish Dancers.

At work, she leads the women in tech society and is involved with the Irish Women’s Network. She also recently ran a half marathon raising £2,500+ for the Doctors Without Borders charity.

Hannah says: “I would be absolutely delighted to represent London in the Rose of Tralee. I’ve been watching the Rose since I was about four with my mam. Every single year it would be the highlight of the summer. It’s always been something I’ve wanted to do.

“I’ve just got such a strong Irish community in London so to be able to give back to that community and to able to possibly represent London in Tralee and even around the world would be amazing. Being able to get involved in more charity work and just really putting the London Irish society on the map is a major, major thing for me.”


Meabh Mallon, 26
From outside Lurgan, Co. Armagh
Secondary school teacher

Meabh has been living in London for three years. In addition to her work as a secondary school teacher, she also works as a tour guide for a London tour bus company and dances with Jig & Jive studio coming fourth in the Great Britain Championships last year in the adult ceili category. Meabh is also involved with the Women’s Irish Network.

Meabh says: “It would be incredible to be London Rose. Just amazing. The Rose of Tralee is something I’ve grown up with my whole life. I would want to do London proud. It would just be an honour and a privilege to represent London and I would want to do the country proud as well.”

Meabh teaches at Sacred Heart High School in Hammersmith which has a large number of Irish children attending.

“They’re very much behind me.”

Meabh adds: “It was originally founded by Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat. She has a little saying, ‘For the sake of one child, I would have founded the society’.

“That’s something I use in my everyday practice. If I have one child in my class, hopefully I can make a difference. I think it’s about inspiring the kids every day and allowing them to be the best versions of themselves like we strive to be in our own lives as well. It can be challenging but I see it more as a vocation than a job. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”


Laura Manhire, 27
From Cornwall,
family from Kinsale

Laura works as a solicitor which is what she always wanted to do. She works in planning and environments working with developers, land owners, banks, big companies and small individuals.

She has been in London for three years and also practices ceroc dancing. She was encouraged to enter the Rose of London by her Finnish house mate who also may want a trip to Ireland.

Laura say: “I would be absolutely delighted to be London Rose. I’ve grown up watching it. I’ve also wanted to do it. It just looks like such fun, just such a great experience to see even more of Ireland with like minded people and of course who wouldn’t want to wear all the dresses?

“It would be a really good chance to meet lots of new people in London as well because I don’t have that Irish community so I thought it would be something really lovely to join.”


Kerry McNulty, 28
From Wellington, New Zealand,
family from Belfast
Sales for a technology company

Originally all the way from New Zealand, Kerry has been in London three years. Kerry works selling technology services to financial services organisations btu also has a background in law. She is also studying psychology.  She volunteers for a charity called the Listening Place who provide listening services for people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts.

Kerry says: “It would be such an honour to be London Rose. I grew up Irish dancing and I watched a lot of my dance teachers go on to be the New Zealand Rose so it was always a dream of mine to be involved in the Rose of Tralee. Moving to London, it was nice to recognise that I could still participate in the festival despite being on the other side of the world.”

As she says , Kerry has been Irish dancing all her life: “Growing up in Irish clubs doing Irish dancing, Irish culture was always a part of my life in a way that I didn’t really recognise how special it was to be able to stay connected to the community and I think now living in London I really get to enjoy the proximity to a country that I do care so much about.”


Amy Quigley, 24
From Quigley’s Point,
Co. Donegal
PE teacher

Amy works as a PE teacher at a school in Wembley as she completes her degree. Prior to this she did work in gyms and nursing homes where she helped elderly people exercise. She has been in London three years.

Amy says: “Me and my mum have been watching the Rose of Tralee as long as I can remember, from when I was a little girl. It was always a very special night and mummy was always like, ‘Hopefully someday you’ll be on there’.”

Amy plays GAA with Tir Chonaill Gaels ladies and won the league, county championship and All- Britain Championship with them last year. “They’re really good,” she says of the club. “Really welcoming. It’s really good to get into sports over here when you’re away from home because it’s a really, really good way to socialise.”


Jodie Farrell, 21
From Welling, south London,
family from Dublin and Wexford
Professional Irish dancer

A graduate of the Claddagh Academy in London, Jodie has danced in Michael Flatley’s Feet of Flames in Taiwan in 2022. She describes it as a ‘life changing’ break for her. She is currently dancing in the Celtic Legends show which is a traditional Irish music show that brings Irish culture around the world.

Jodie says: “I feel like the Rose of London really embodies who I’ve grown up to be. I’ve grown up in London and I’ve always been raised that I am Irish. I really started dancing to get in touch with my culture and it’s just happened to lead on to so many amazing things in my life. It’s always been about embracing my culture, even if it wasn’t the ‘trendy thing’ to do as my mum likes to say.”


Eilíse Leydon, 23
From Manchester,
family from Kerry and Mayo
Trainee in the European Parliament

Eilíse works as a trainee in the European Parliament under the Irish delegation. This career path grew out of her passionate opposition to Brexit and she was inspired to take part in the Rose of London by 2014 Rose of Tralee and MEP Maria Walsh.

She went to University in Belfast which is where she took up Gaelic football which she continues to play in Brussels.

Eilish says: “It would really, really be a dream come true to be London Rose. When I was moving around different parts of Europe, the Irish community became something that I became really aware of and I really leaned on that support system.

“My granddad when he first moved to Manchester set up the Kerry Association to create a sense of community so it was always something that was in my blood and something that I  feel really proud to be a part of.”


Sarah Douglas, 29
From Killiney, Co. Dublin

Trained in musical theatre, Sarah is a performer and also teaches singing. She advocates for greater acceptance and awareness of cleft lip and palate which she was born with herself.

She says: “I advocate for visible differences and cleft conditions and getting the message out there getting more people aware, more educated on not being afraid of visible differences, because there’s a very negative portrayal in the media.

“I had no one to look up to and I kind of want to be that person. I want to be there to inspire and show others with visible differences and with clefts that you can do anything you want and you can be whatever you want.”


Katie O’Sullivan, 28
From Putney,
family from Clare, Kerry
and Galway
Learning Support Assistant

As a learning support assistant in a secondary school, Katie assists and supports those who have additional needs such as dyslexia, autism and mental health issues.

Having danced from the age of three, she also runs her own school of Irish dancing called the KOS Academy of Irish Dancing. Katie was inspired to enter this year’s Rose of London after supporting her friend Abbie McMahon at last year’s final.

Katie says: “It’s a childhood dream to be London Rose. I want to do it for my nan because I almost lost her a few months ago. It would mean the world.”

Katie adds: “Every year as a young child, I always went to Ireland in the summer and I just watched it on telly. I just loved it. Especially being London Irish, it means a lot.”


Glenna Mannion, 27
From Tulsk, Co. Roscommon
Deputy manager of residential children’s home

Glenna is deputy manager of a residential children’s home for autistic children between the ages of eight and 18. She has been in London eight years now

Glenna says: “It would mean absolutely everything to be London Rose. It would definitely be a great honour, and also to represent Roscommon would be a great thing too. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was very young.

“Since I was, I’d say three years old, I’ve been watching the Rose of Tralee with my mam and dad. It was something that my mam and dad would always say, ‘Oh, you’d be great up there’. So I thought I’d give it a go this year.”


Alex Walton, 24
From Screen, Co. Wexford
Works in global commerce for a pharmaceutical company

Alex has been in London for two years and it was actually her mother who entered her for the Rose of London. She plays the drums and also has her own Guinness review page on Instagram.

Alex says: “I’m really happy to be here. I think it is any Irish parent’s dream to see their daughter do the Rose of Tralee. I’m doing it for my mam. It’s very important to the family and it’s nice to see them so happy and so excited about it.

“I work in Television Centre so that’s quite fun. I get to see a few celebs sometimes. It’s a cool spot to work and I love being there.”

Will you plays drums on the night? “That could be my talent. I do like Guinness so I could split the G.”

Mamie O’Reilly, 29
From Fore, Westmeath
Burns nurse

Mamie is a specialist burns nurse and has been in London for almost 11 years first coming for her studies.

Mamie says: “It’s lovely to get all the Irish girls, all the Irish girls together and just celebrate Irishness in London. London is my adopted home. I came over to London to train to become a nurse and I’ve stayed on so I think it’d be nice to incorporate a bit more Irishness into my second home. It would be great to represent all the Irish that are in London and particularly the forgotten Irish so they know that they’re not forgotten.”


Michaela Brady
From New York, family from Drogheda
Works for the UK Government in online safety

Michaela has been in the UK for eight years now between London and Oxford. She joined the civil service when the Online Safety Act was introduced to Parliament and has seen it throughout its passage and now its implementation.

She is a published writer and poet. She also enjoys singing traditional music. Michaela is also a figure skater hopefully going to be in her first competition ice show this year.

Michaela says: “It would be an honour to be able to represent London. I do feel a strong connection to the history of Irish people coming over to London in times of trouble as well.

“I just think London’s a fantastic city and has such a strong connection to Irish heritage that I would be honoured to be the representative for that. Part of the reason I entered it was I wanted to be more in touch with my Irish heritage. I think that it’s a really fascinating nation to be a part of and have heritage in.”


Hannah Hegarty, 23
From London,
family from Mayo and Limerick
Medical student

Hannah’s mother is from Mulranny and her father is from Limerick. She is proud of climbing to the top of Ben Nevis.

Tell us a random fact about you? “I have a pet Bird called Byrd, who likes to talk to me over the phone.”

The London Rose Ball takes place this Saturday 25 May at the Clayton Hotel in Chiswick.

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