Carlow's Shauna Ray Lacey takes a selfie with some of the other Roses
Carlow Rose Shauna Ray Lacey says "times are changing" and the Rose of Tralee Festival needs a "mother rose".
The 24-year-old will celebrate the festival later this month with her family and her three-year-old daughter, Emmy, who will be "with me all the way".
Speaking exclusively to Carlow Live, Shauna said: "It’s been an amazing experience - and out of the 57 Roses this year I’m the only one with a child.
"I can’t wait to make an impact in Tralee, times are changing and I feel we need a mother rose - I’m so excited. My daughter will be with me all the way and she will be taking part in celebrating the festival along with my family."
She is the daughter of Angela Ray and the late Francis Lacey. Her brother Luke Ray Lacey is a musician who was in the limelight two years ago when he was a finalist in the TV show The Voice of Ireland.
"Dad would be at the front seat bursting with pride alone side my mum," Shauna said about her father.
Shauna lives in Carlow Town with her partner, John, and works in Boylesports bookmakers as deputy manager. She says she came from a background of strong GAA ties and is a proud owner of many county medals.
She was also a member of Carlow Rowing Club and rowed all over Ireland and Wales attending regattas and has been very active in supporting initiatives and schemes around Carlow.
La Nua helps to develop personal, social and work related skills to enable them to participate in community and everyday life and HELPING PEOPLE TO GAIN CONFIDENCE TO STRIVE FOR A BETTER FUTURE my chosen charity ❤️. @RoseofTralee_ #carlowrose #addictionawarness #mycharity pic.twitter.com/kf0tp7oOs5— Shauna Ray Lacey Carlow Rose 2018 (@ShaunaCarlow) July 29, 2018
"The most interesting thing so far? Well, besides it all...And besides being crowned Carlow Rose, getting to meet so many new and interesting people from all over the world, but knocking on the doors of the local businesses in Carlow and being received with such warmth and support has really blown my mind.
"I've been to barbers, hairdresses, beauty salons, scrap metal yards, drain cleaning, photoshoots.
"It has been indescribable to say the least.
"The town has really got behind me, the support has been fantastic right across the county, my Facebook page is full of gratitude for all the local businesses that have sponsored me to represent their little county, every day is a pinch me moment, and a massive boost of confidence for me on a personal level," she added.
On her Rose of Tralee bio, Shauna says she is a strong advocate for breastfeeding and providing information to parents under her voluntary involvement with local breastfeeding groups.
At the July meeting of Carlow Municipal District, Cllr Walter Lacey wished Shauna the best of luck at the festival and acknowledged her charity work.
"I hope at the very least she will make it to the final 32 to be broadcast on television and we wish her well," he said.