2010 - Southern California Rose of Tralee - Sarah Felong

This August, I had the privilege of being selected to participate in the International Rose of Tralee as the Southern California Rose of Tralee 2010. It was incredibly exciting to travel to Ireland for the first time in my life and see the county from which my great-grandparents came. I was astounded by the open and friendly personalities of the Irish people who were very gracious in welcoming the International Roses. Every minute of my time at the Festival was like a dream come true. I was especially fortunate to understand how important the Rose of Tralee is to the younger generation of future Roses and escorts. My Rosebud, Ciara Delany from Co. Laois, is the sweetest and most genuine young girl along with her lovely and supportive family. I would like to thank them for all of the support that they showed me during all of the hustle and bustle of Tralee! Secondly, I need to say a great hello to Mary and Tom Deegan of Dublin who are great friends. My family certainly could not have navigated through the country without them. Lastly, I am extremely gateful to the wonderful people at Willie Darcy’s for hosting me during the Festival. I wish I could have spent more time with you all. It made the entire experience so much more meaningful to see that Willie Darcy’s was actively cheering for me, a Rose from half way across the globe. It was unbelievable to see my portrait hanging in the Pub! I felt like a true celebrity and everyone at home got a kick out of that! Thanks to Willie Darcy’s for your hospitality and friendship. My family and I loved Willie Darcy’s. It is definitely the finest establishment in all of Ireland and anyone who goes there is will be better for it. I have to say that the Murphy brothers alone should be enough enticement for any young woman to stop by and have a drink. It is my recommendation that they sign up to be Escorts for the Roses in the 2011 Festival! Again, thank you to Willie Darcy’s and its patrons for making my time as a Rose so memorable and enjoyable. Southern California has a thriving Irish community with over 5 million citizens of Irish descent. We love the Irish people here and are always eager to support all things Irish. Although Ireland, like much of Southern California community, has fallen on very tough economic times, I would like the readers of this letter to know that there is tremendous support for Ireland here in California. We know the resiliency and determination of the Irish people are confident that they will rise once more against adversity. Please remember that you have friends in the U.S. that want nothing more than for Ireland’s success. I hope that there is a prosperous Holiday Season this year and that the New Year will turn out to be one of positive movement forward for you all. Slán go foill! Sincerely, Sarah Sweeney Felong Southern California Rose 2010


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