‘DREAM COME TRUE’ Newport’s Claire McManamon.
A ‘dream come true’ is how a Newport native has described been chosen to represent southern California in this year’s Rose of Tralee contest.
Claire McManamon (24), who moved across the Atlantic to Orange County just over two years ago, has followed the Rose of Tralee from a young age and has now been granted the opportunity of being a competitor in the world famous pageant.
“They were the two biggest nights of the year in our house. I remember being kids with my sisters, sitting down with A4 sheets of paper getting ready for the Rose of Tralee, writing down what their dresses were like, how their tiaras were. I have always loved it and always wanted to be a rose” she said.
The Newport native moved to the States in 2015 and is enjoying life working on the Glanbia Graduate Programme, which she became part of after completing her studies in Accounting and Finance in DCU.
“I work in a bottling facility. What I do in my accountancy role is really process driven and efficiency driven. I look at a lot of data, not just costs, but efficiencies that we have in the plant and try to point out areas which we can improve on in the plant,” she told The Mayo News.
“You get fantastic experience with it, even though we are so far away from home, they love making people feel so welcome. That’s what I love about the Rose of Tralee, it’s really a part of Irish heritage,” she added.
With the Rose of Tralee taking place on August 16, the excitement is beginning to build for Claire and her family.
“I flew in on Thursday, I was in my old primary school today (Friday) and that has been the highlight so far, back in Newport NS, I remember what it was like when I was there, it has developed so much since I left in 2005, it’s amazing,” she said.
“The welcome was brilliant, I got a big bualadh bos when I walked in, loads of hugs and kisses, loads of questions and everyone wanted a look at the tiara” added Claire.
When asked about her plans for the future, she was ‘very sure and content’ on continuing her love affair with the US.
“I love home, I love my roots in Mayo but for the moment I’m definitely based in the States, its where my job has taken me, I love what I do and I just haven’t seen enough of it yet. I’m not ready to come home.
“I’ve started playing GAA. I hadn’t touched a football since my days in Burrishoole and the McManamon Cup, but I got involved and it’s been fanatastic.
“The Wild Geese is the name of my club and they have a dinner dance every year. This year they brought in the Rose selection into the dinner dance so I was actually announced as the winner at the dinner dance. It was great brcause so many of my friends were around that night too,” added Claire, who also extended her thanks to all those who have supported her throughout the competition so far.
“I’d like to thank Glanbia for sponsoring me for the competition and also to Ethiopian Airlines for flying me home directly from Los Angeles to Dublin,” she concluded.