Rose of Tralee Festival begins today

Tourism Minister Pascal Donohue with the 2014 Roses

The 55th Annual Rose of Tralee Festival gets underway in Co Kerry today.

Thousands are expected to travel to the Kingdom for the five-day event.

Thirty-two Roses from across the globe will compete for the coveted title. They are set to arrive in the town shortly after 3pm this afternoon.

Texas Rose Haley O'Sullivan was last year's winner.

John Drummy, Communications Manager with The Rose of Tralee says there are lots of events planned over the coming days.

"We're celebrating 55 years this year in Tralee," he said.

"Over the course of the next five days, we expect to see maybe 200,000 people visit Tralee and enjoy the Union J outdoor concert and Kerrygold Rose Ball.

"We also have a circus, we have amusements, lots of indoor and outdoor music and entertainment, and a family town for children.

"The judging will begin in earnest on Saturday morning, with interviews with the judges, but the judging I suppose will start at the Kerrygold Rose Ball tonight in the festival dome, and that's the first official function foe everybody as far as the Rose of Tralee is concerned."

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