All Roads Lead to Tralee for Carrigtwohill’s Karen Cashman

By Seamus Whelehan

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All eyes will be on Carrigtwohill’s Karen Cashman as she takes part in the 60th Rose of Tralee Festival later this year.  The 26 year old was recently crowned the Abu Dhabi Rose at a convention in the Dusit Thani Hotel.    The Primary School teacher was picked from 12 other ladies to represent the United Arab Emirates, 7 of whom were from Cork, including Liz O Brien from Shanagarry.

The daughter of Niall and Geraldine Cashman, Dairy and Poultry farmers near Leamlara, Karen graduated from Mary Immaculate College in Limerick with a Primary Teaching Degree in 2013. On a career break from my job in Scoil Brhide, Rathcormac, Karen says “competing in the Rose is a lifelong ambition realised”.

Having now been crowned the Abu Dhabi Rose, the East Cork woman is one of 64 Roses hoping to make the final 32 this August.  The first 16 roses will be selected a week prior to the commencement of the Festival, with the remaining 16 chosen 24 hours before the live shows on 23 August.

Speaking with The East Cork journal last weekend Karen said she was “still coming to terms” with her selection.   “I was encouraged to enter the competition in Abu Dhabi by a good friend of mine- I figured entering was just another part of pushing my boundaries, as I set out to do by moving here.”

“I have always wanted to be a Rose- I grew up watching the Rose of Tralee every August in front of the first fire of the Autumn! I loved the glamour and the style, and I loved that all of the women were proud of their Irish backgrounds and families. There is a lot of Irish heritage in my house- my mum is originally from Co. Galway, and instilled a love of traditional music and dance in all of us.”

The East Cork native sang Imelda May’s ‘Kentish Town Waltz’ on the night, and hopes to repeat the performance on the live show with Daithi O’Se at the Rose of Tralee festival.

Excited for the year ahead, Karen said she promises to do Abu Dhabi and East Cork proud!

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