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normality Rose of Tralee Dr Sinéad Flanagan looking forward to passing on tiara in 2022

Dr Flanagan said she is happy to act as "caretaker" of the position until the festival returns next year

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Sinead Flanagan

Sinead Flanagan

Sinead Flanagan

Rose of Tralee Dr Sinéad Flanagan admitted she is looking forward to passing on her tiara in 2022 - a firm signal that the world will be returning to some form of normality.

Dr Flanagan has served two years longer than intended as Rose of Tralee because of the pandemic.

She paid a special visit to Tralee last weekend to mark the world-famous festival, which has been cancelled for the second year in a row.

The 2019 winner will be the longest-running Rose in the 62-year history of the event, with her reign now extending from 2019 until 2022.

The Limerick Rose met with festival organisers and 19 winning Roses in Tralee to mark what would have been the festival weekend, before the pandemic sadly put paid to those plans.

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Sinead Flanagan

Sinead Flanagan

Sinead Flanagan

Dr Flanagan said she is happy to act as "caretaker" of the position until the festival returns next year.

"I am honoured to continue in the role as the reigning Rose of Tralee.

"I have really enjoyed my time as the Rose of Tralee and I look forward to being back in Tralee next year to hand over the crown," she said.

As a doctor, she knows more than most about the devastating effects of Covid-19 and of the need to continue to halt the spread of the disease.

She said that, while honoured to have served as Rose of Tralee for so long, being able to hand over her crown to the 2022 winner will be a signal of the world returning to some form of normality.

Festival chief executive Anthony O'Gara said the second cancellation was a major disappointment.

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The event is worth an estimated €15m to the greater north Kerry economy each year.

"Our focus is to come back with a bang next year," he said.

"I am conscious that we can't call it yet but unless something very untoward happens, we are determined to have our festival next year, even if it is not possible to include all our centres.

"We are quietly putting together a plan to improve our offering and make the festival more exciting."

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