A select group of judges chose 23 year old Bridget Rose Conway as Chicago’s 2013 Rose of Tralee Saturday night at the Irish American Heritage Center. Bridget is the daughter of Tim and Maureen Conway of the Beverly neighborhood on the Southside of Chicago. She attended Mount Assist High School and will be graduating from Columbia College in May with a Marketing degree.
Bridget was sponsored Saturday night by the immensely popular Irish radio program, The Skinny & Houli Show.
The Rose of Tralee International Festival is based on the love song The Rose of Tralee by William Mulchinock, a 19th century wealthy merchant who was in love with Mary O’Connor, his maid. Mary was born in Broguemaker’s Lane in Tralee and worked as a nanny. When William first saw Mary, he fell in love with her but because of the difference in social class between the two families, their love affair was discouraged. William emigrated and some years later returned to Tralee only to find Mary had died of tuberculosis. He was broken hearted and expressed his love for her in the words of the song.
Since 1959 the Festival has grown, incorporating centres from all over the world and is firmly established on everyone’s events calendar. RTÉ’s live coverage of the Rose selection has helped install the Festival in the national psyche, and it has remained their top rating show for many years, with nearly a million people tuning in for the 2006 result.
Bridget Rose Conway will travel to Ireland this summer to take part in the finals for the 2013 Rose of Tralee. Chicago wishes the best of luck to Bridget!