Aoife Murray, from Sixmilebridge, the 2017 Clare Rose, has officially launched the search to find her replacement to represent the Banner County in this year’s International Rose of Tralee Festival.

As reigning Clare Rose, Aoife has fond memories of the past ten months. Despite her initial apprehensions, the little nudge of encouragement she was given to enter has resulted in one of the best years of her life.

“Looking back on my experience as the Clare Rose, it really has been the best experience of my life,” said Aoife. “I’ve been lucky enough to do so much more than I ever expected in the last year, attending over 30 events to date and with two more big trips to come.

“I was so proud to represent my family, friends and the great people of Clare. I’ve made so many amazing memories to cherish forever, with so many lifelong friends from around the world.”

She added, “Thinking back, it seemed so daunting to put myself out there in public, but I am delighted I got the little push I needed through the support of my sister and family. I can honestly say it was well worth the rewards, which are still coming thick and fast!”

Aoife is accompanying a group of Roses to Belarus aid Adi Roche in her Chernobyl Children’s orphanage. In March she will walk down 5th Avenue in the New York St Patrick’s Day parade.

“I would highly recommend all young girls from all parts of Clare to get involved in the festival because you never know what can happen once you make this your year and apply today,” she said.

Selection is open to single women of Irish ancestry or citizenship aged 18 to 27, who have not been married and who would like to represent Clare in the 2018 Rose of Tralee International Festival.

Coordinator of the Clare Rose of Tralee events, Ciarán O’Connell said: “Aoife has been a fantastic ambassador for Sixmilebridge and County Clare as a whole, and has done her family, friends and parish extremely proud. She has really put Clare on the map, not only in the Dome last August but also at the many local, national and international events and reunions she has attended as our County Clare Rose.”

Ciarán added, “This year we are reaching out to all the clubs and parishes across the county to ask you to nominate or suggest a local lady come forward and take the first step of this once in a lifetime experience.

“In return, you will have the honour of seeing your young lady proudly represent your local area, town, village or business while promoting her best qualities and gaining confidence, presence and energy in a fun environment.

“You will also get to attend a great night at the live selection event on Friday the 27th of April at The Inn at Dromoland, and possibly even in the Dome in August!”