THE Donegal family of the new Rose of Tralee are celebrating today. Elysha Brennan may have been representing Co. Meath at the annual event in Kerry but he roots are firmly in Donegal. Her mother Christine (nee O’Donnell is from Glenties) and grandmother is Annie Boyle from Loughfad. She still has aunts and cousins in the south of the county. The new Rose of Tralee is also a niece of Mr Martin McGettigan who is President of the Donegal Association in Dublin. Martin’s wife Ann is a sister of Elysha’s father Donal.
The 22-year-old Meath Rose and medical student was crowned to a standing ovation in the Dome. “Oh my goodness. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’ve never experienced a feeling like this,” Elysha told the Dome after an emotional embrace with her fellow Roses. And I’ve never had such big shoes to fill after Maria Walsh, you’ve had an incredible year.”
Elysha had wowed the judges with her rendition of ‘Bright Blue Rose’. Elysha was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma weeks before her repeat Leaving Cert began but has been in remission for the last two years. She is the first Meath Rose to win the title and the first representing an Irish county to be crowned Rose in seven years.
There was further Donegal interest as Deirdre Ward represented Abu Dubai. She grew up in Bruckless and her father Joe is from Arranmore Island. The Philadelphia Rose Mairead Comaskey is the daughter of Breda Harley from Trentagh.