This is Ann Marie Hayes of Listowel who is this year's Kerry Rose. This is the writeup about her on the official Rose website:
Here is the story behind the song:
The Rose of Tralee
The song was written for a young Tralee girl called Mary O'Connor. It was written by William Pembroke Mulchinock.
Mary lived with her four siblings and her parents in a little thatched cabin in Brogue Lane in Tralee. Most of the inhabitants of the lane were cobblers, as was Mary’s father. Her mother was a dairymaid.
Mary went to work as a maid for the Mulchinocks, a wealthy merchant family who had a wool and drapery shop in the town. They lived in a big house and around the time Mary joined their domestic staff, the father died and his widow was living in the house with her three sons William Pembroke, Edward and Henry and her daughter Maria was married and had two small children, Margaret and then. Mary was given the position of children's maid to Margaret and Anne.
William was a dreamer and a romantic fell in love with the beautiful Mary. This was a totally unsuitable match. William was the son of a rich merchant and Mary the daughter of a poor cobbler. William was a member of the established church and Mary was a poor Catholic. Nevertheless William proposed to Mary. She told him that she would give him her answer the following day when she would meet him at the Daniel O Connell rally in the town.
A fracas took place at best rally and a man was killed. William was falsely accused. He fled the country for fear of being arrested, promising Mary that he would return and marry her. He went to India and became a war correspondent there. Why he was in India, the great famine was taking place in Ireland. When William eventually returned to Tralee a large funeral was taking place in the town. To his horror he discovered that it was Mary who had died. Williams heart was broken. Even though all he married a girl from Ballinasloe, and They had two children, he never forgot his first love. He separated from his wife and returned to Tralee where he died in 1864 at the age of 44. His dying wish was that he be buried alongside Mary O'Connor. His wish was granted. Before he died he wrote his tribute to his beloved Mary. The following is a verse that is not often sung;
In the far fields of India, mid war’s dreadful thunders,
Her voice was a solace and comfort to me,
But the chill hand and death has now rent us asunder,
I'm lonely tonight for the Rose of Tralee.
A few blasts from the past;
Anne Foley, Rose of Tralee 1967
Listowel Rose Finalists 1962
Some Roses 1966
Daithi OSé with some 2012 Roses on Wednesday last.
This photo was taken on the opening night of this year's Writers Week. Ann Marie and some local well wishers.
Yesterday in Lidl carpark