Changes made to Rose of Tralee with Carlow waiting until 2020 to send next Rose to the Dome

Offaly and Carlow will have to wait until 2020 to send their next Roses

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Shauna Ray Lacey was the nation's favourite at this year's Rose of Tralee

Huge changes have just been announced to the Rose of Tralee format, on the back of the emotional impact on Roses who fail to qualify for the television stage interviews.

Carlow Rose Shauna Ray Lacey made a lasting impression on the nation with her honest interview at this year's final. 

The Rose of Tralee International Festival has made a major change to ensure every Rose who goes to Tralee will get the full experience of chatting with Daithí Ó Sé live on RTE.

They have opted to make it a bi-annual event for almost every Rose Centre, so that only every second year, a Rose will go to Tralee to represent them and will be guaranteed to be in the TV final.

Roses representing Kerry, Cork and Dublin will continue to be selected every year.

The Midlands counties who will feature in the 2019 event includes Laois and Kilkenny. 

Offaly and Carlow will have to wait until 2020 to send their next Roses to the Tralee Dome.

In the interim years, those centres will celebrate their supporters, Roses and sponsors with a gala charity ball in aid of a local charity. 

In all 32 Roses will take part now each year instead of 66. International Rose Centres also have to wait every other year to send a Rose.

Other changes include a higher age limit, with young women aged 18 to 29 now eligible. Sponsorship has risen from €250 to €300 but the organisers are confident that with the guaranteed exposure on national television, sponsors will be eager to get involved.

Executive Chair of the Rose of Tralee International Festival is Anthony O’Gara and he said: "Moving from the Regional Festival (staged from 2004 to 2015) to bringing all our Roses directly to the Rose of Tralee International Festival for the past three years has been generally very positively received. 

"There is one challenging aspect to the new format that does not sit well with any of us and that we want to address, the selection of 32 Roses from 66 for the TV Selection. 

"Regardless of how sensitively we handle that, it is not in-keeping with our ethos or our tradition. Our focus is to celebrate and respect the passion and emotion, and indeed the time and financial investment that every Rose, her family and Centre invest with us."