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Large crowds greet Offaly Rose for jubilant homecoming

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Large crowds greet Offaly Rose for jubilant homecoming thumbnailProud as punch! The 2017 International Rose of Tralee Jennifer Byrne at her homecoming in Ballinahown on Saturday evening pictured with her family. Left to right her brother, Terry, sister Lorraine, her mum Mary and her dad Declan. MT35559KOG

THE Offaly Rose, now the official Rose of Tralee, returned home to Ballinahown on Saturday evening and received a homecoming like no other. "We believed in her since day one," said one onlooker, "and it's incredible - I'm delighted for her."
Winning over everyone with her beauty and her charm Jennifer remained poised, elegant and patient throughout, despite the busy schedule, the long hours and the heady emotion of it all.
Everyone in Offaly is very proud of her and they realise that she will be an excellent role model not just for the youngsters but the whole country, and will be an excellent ambassador for the county.
Over 20 of the Roses travelled to Saturday's homecoming to celebrate Jennifer's win.
Declan and Mary, Jennifer's proud parents, were over the moon about the whole event and were bubbling with energy. They pointed out the odds people placed on Jennifer to win at the betting office.
Jennifer told the crowds that winning the prestigious beauty contest "was absolutely fantastic. I can't believe the crowds which have come out."
From babies in prams, little girls in tiaras to grannies holding "Welcome Home Jennifer" signs, all waited patiently to catch a glimpse of the stunning Rose prior to her arrival in Ballinahown.
Local community groups, in conjunction with both Offaly and Westmeath County Councils, put the plans in place for the homecoming spectacular with an outdoor stage erected in the village carpark.
This was a huge event and a very proud moment for this small rural area of the county. There was a fantastic party atmosphere and loads of chat about whether people had seen Jennifer on the "telly the other night, what did they think of her party piece" and "didn't she give a great interview with Daithi O Se"?
For reports and photographs about the homecoming please see pages 10 and 11.

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