Dáithí Ó Sé announced the winner of the 2013 Rose of Tralee after two days of competition, beating 31 other contestants from around the world.
The 2012 Rose of Tralee Nicola McEvoy presented the new rose Haley O'Sullivan with her sash, Newbridge Silverware tiara designed by Philip Treacy and a temporary trophy in front of nearly 810,000 TV viewers. She is the first Texas Rose to take the crown since the festival began.
Immediately after Dáithí announced the results, Haley said: “I don’t even know if I can put it into words, it’s really amazing. All the girls were so fabulous and we were all talking about how it doesn’t matter who wins. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we’d be happy for whoever it is. I genuinely did not think it was going to be me, so it was a genuine shock and I’m a little overwhelmed right now, but it’s all positive.”
Haley is 25 years old and lives in Dallas Texas. She graduated from The University of Arizona in 2010 with an honours degree in Elementary Education and is now marketing coordinator for an industrial chemical company.
Haley's Irish roots hail from both Cork and Longford. Bere Island in Cork is where her grandfather was raised and her grandmother's parents were from Cork and Longford. She is very much involved in the Irish community and served as a young leader in The American Ireland Fund. Very fitness oriented, she is also a member of Dallas’ GAA club, Fionn Mac Cumhaills where she plays midfield on the ladies football team and she also met her Monaghan boyfriend through the club.
The festival is held yearly in Tralee, County Kerry and is one of Ireland's longest running festivals. It has it roots in the resurrected local Carnival Queen which morphed into the Rose of Tralee festival in 1959 where only women from Tralee were eligible. The Rose of Tralee festival was inspired by the nineteenth century ballad. The festival then extended to include women from Kerry and it wasn't until 1967 that it was further extended to include any women of Irish birth or descent.