CLODAGH CASSIN: ‘I traded my hockey stick for dresses and make-up – and I wouldn’t change any of it’
THIS summer I traded my hockey stick for dresses and make-up – and I wouldn’t change any of it.
At the end of March I was honoured to be selected to represent Kilkenny at The Rose of Tralee festival. But all talk of being the Rose was suspended until I had finished my final college exams.
Once the exams were out of the way (and thank God I passed them!), my new life as a Rose began in earnest. But I soon found myself in rather unfamiliar territory.
The thing I dreaded the most was all the dress shopping. My mum can attest to me losing interest in shopping very quickly so having to find ball gowns and lots of day dresses seemed like a tough task. We gave one main day, travelled around Kilkenny and Carlow, where I thankfully was able to get most of my outfits. The joy of being selected so early in the year meant I had loads of time to pick a few things up here and there and I haven’t been under pressure or stressing.
Being the Kilkenny Rose for 2019 has given me so many opportunities to go to things, to get out of my comfort zone and meet lots of amazing people. I was very lucky to be asked to don the sash for many local events around Kilkenny.
With MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre being one of the main sponsors of the Kilkenny Rose Centre, I did a fashion showcase photoshoot with them, something I have never done before, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I got to do lots of work with and spend lots of time with the Chernobyl Children that were in Kilkenny for a few weeks. They were such an amazing group of people and it was a real eye opener to how people are still affected by the disaster that struck 30 years ago.
I’ve travelled around the city on a Segway, attended race days at Gowran Park, Killarney and Galway, helped support a local boy ‘Michael’s wonder Journey’ in his fight for a diagnosis and recovery. I attended fundraisers for ‘John Needs Pembro’, who have amazingly been able to raise the funds needed to cover his lifesaving treatment and walked amongst survivors of cancer and their caregivers at the Relay for Life.
My highlight of the summer has to be the day I spent being a lady in waiting for the Amazing Princess Ellie. The day was organised by the Share A Dream Foundation and MacDonagh Junction and The Lyrath Estate Hotel kindly made all of Ellie’s dreams come true. This amazing little girl never once asked for anything and was so very thankful and grateful for all that we could do for her, as was her mother who was touched by the generosity of everyone we met that day. It was so nice to get to give Ellie a day of spoiling and pampering that she really deserved.
My Rose journey reaches its final stages today, which marks the beginning of 10 jam-packed and exciting days with my 31 Rose ‘sisters’.
It’s been a whirlwind few weeks, but unforgettable and the memories I’ve made will stay with me for the rest of my life and I am very proud to be representing my county, and my family, on the Rose of Tralee stage.
The RTE Rose of Tralee International Festival Selection Night One takes place at the Dome in Tralee next Monday, August 26, at 8pm. The 2019 Rose of Tralee will be crowned the following night.