Tonight, the first evening of the Rose of Tralee festival competition will take place.
Half of the hopeful roses will take to the stage, to be interviewed by host Daithi O’Shea.
Tomorrow evening, the rest of the Roses will have their time to shine in the spotlight.
Tonight, they Roses representing Abu Dhabi, Arizona, Boston & New England, Cork, Dublin, Germany, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Mayo, Meath, Melbourne, New York, South Australia, Sydney, Washington DC and Western Canada will showcase their talents this evening.
Here’s what you need to know about tonight’s contestants:
Abu Dhabi Rose – Karen Cashman
The Abu Dhabi Rose is 27-year-old primary school teacher Karen.
Originally from Cork, Karen took the leap and moved to Abu Dhabi last year to pursue her teaching career.
Karen adores public speaking and the performing arts, and hopes her role in the competition will help to strengthen Irish and Abu Dhabi relations.
Arizona Rose – Kayla Gray
27-year-old Kayla Gray discovered her Leitrim roots via an ancestry DNA test, and began her journey to discover more about her Irish heritage.
The American researcher has both brains and beauty, and working in the organ donation field.
She became interested in laboratory research after surviving an experimental surgery as a teen to treat a brain condition called chiari malformation.
Boston & New England – Rose Tanya Stanley
Tanya hails from Boston, but spent most of her childhood in Ireland – with her parents being from Dublin and Donegal respectively.
The 22-year-old is currently studying psychology, and hopes to use her education to help those living with mental disorders.
Cork Rose – Stephanie McCarthy
Stephanie McCarthy is a Neuroscience graduate from University College Cork, who is currently studying for a masters in Pharmaceutical Technology from Griffith College Dublin.
As well as juggling her studies, Stephanie is also a mother of two young children.
She also enjoys fashion and modelling.
Dublin Rose – Laura Vines
Dublin Rose Laura Vines has the dream job of many, as a veterinary nurse at Dublin Zoo.
The Shankill native prides herself on not being too much of a girly girl, and currently looks after the zoo’s heard of elephants.
When she’s not looking after the zoo residents, she’s caring for her own three dogs, and enjoying hikes and yoga.
German Rose – Beatrice Beiderwieden
Beatrice is hoping to bring the German culture to the Rose of Tralee.
Beatrice’s Irish roots come from her mother, who was born and lived in Dublin before meeting her father and moving to Germany in the 80s.
The German rose enjoys golfing and playing the clarinet in her spare time.
Kildare Rose – Emer Fogarty
Emer is a talented Gaelic Football player, winning an Intermediate All-Ireland with her county in Croke Park in 2016.
Emer also has a degree in psychology from NUI Galway.
She also runs her own yoga business called Rise Yoga, promoting the mind and body benefits of the activity.
Kilkenny Rose – Clodagh Cassin
Country girl Clodagh is proud of her Irish roots.
She’s just completed a four-year Agricultural Science degree in UCD and is studying to become a science teacher.
Clodagh is a true sportswoman, trying her hand at numerous team sports before setting her sights on hockey.
Laois Rose – Sarah Bergin
Basketball player Sarah moved to Galway from her hometown of Portlaoise to pursue her studies.
She is studying to be a nurse and is in her final year at NUI Galway, while also working full time at University Hospital Galway as an intern.
The student credits her granny for her passion for nursing, saying she always wanted to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps to become a nurse.
Longford Rose – Marie Brady
Longford Rose Marie takes pride in her local community and is the Irish officer for her GAA club.
Outside of her work as a special needs assistant, she teaches music and dance to children.
Mayo Rose – Nicole Loughlin
22-year-old Nicole recently finished the final year of her degree in Mathematics and Education at NUIG.
The student is the entrepreneur behind fundraising campaign Let’s Make Today Happen, which aimed to build a primary school in Malawi.
She exceeded her funding goal and construction of the first school is underway.
Meath Rose – Meghan Byrne
The Meath Rose takes her education seriously, and studied for almost six years to complete a masters in Primary Education in 2017.
Now a full time teacher, Meg loves fitness, travel and baking.
Melbourne Rose – Jordan Balfry
28-year-old Jordan is originally from Limerick.
The forensic mental health occupational therapist set off for Melbourne in Australia in January 2018.
As well as intelligence, Jordan has strength – earning a black belt in taekwondo at just 16.
New York Rose – Elene Evangelou
Elene loves travel, fitness and music.
Elene just graduated from SUNY Cortland with a degree in Business Economics.
She was a sister of the Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority, where she learned about loyalty and bonds of true friendship.
South Australia Rose – Simone Hendrick Buchanan
Simone was born in Cork but raised in Dingle, Co Kerry.
Her mum comes from New Ross, Co Wexford and her dad is South African.
When she was 11 her family emigrated to South Australia and now she lives in Adelaide. Simone is now studying to be a primary school teacher.
Sydney Rose – Rebecca Mazza
Rebecca was originally born and raised in Perth, but now lives and works in Sydney.
She travelled to Ireland after secondary school, and volunteered as a school assistant in Waterford.
It is here that her “appreciation for Ireland’s beauty, but mostly its people, truly began”.
Washington DC Rose – Molly Eastman
Molly is a political Rose, working in the office of a US Senator.
Molly is a dual citizen of the US and Ireland.
Her mother is from a small farming town in Co Sligo where Molly enjoyed spending much of her childhood.
Western Canada Rose – Sarah O’Shea
Sarah O’Shea is a Cork native with a passion for structural engineering.
The engineer in training decided to take up roots in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 2015 when she realised she wanted a new adventure from life.
Sarah is an avid fan of outdoor sports, and makes the most of the Canadian landscape by snowboarding and hiking