June 2, 2023

Rose of Tralee Kirsten focusing on ‘positives’ after alleged racist abuse in Kilkenny chipper

ROSE of Tralee Kirsten Mate Maher has vowed not to let “nasty” people get her down after gardai investigated an alleged racial attack on her at a Kilkenny chipper.

The 21-year-old South Kilkenny woman, who represented Waterford in the Rose of Tralee, is half-Zambian and grew up and attended school in Mullinavat.

Shortly after being crowned Rose last August, gardai launched an investigation after two men allegedly made a verbal attack on Kirsten and her boyfriend in a takeaway on John’s Street after a night out.

Kirsten, speaking at the launch of the search for the 2019 Rose in Dublin this weekend – marking the 60th year of the competition – said she would not dwell on the incident, and instead would “focus on the positives”.

“I don’t like to give in to anything. These things happen and it’s just a fact of life – people are nasty, people are always mean and I spoke about it before the festival,” she said.

“I suppose if you focus in or dwell on that mean person or that incident that happened, my year would be very negative, whereas all these amazing other things have happened.

“That’s why I don’t particularly like to dwell on it. It went in one ear and out the other for me but I suppose a lot of people don’t get that.

“When you focus on the positives – I’ve travelled, I went over to India which really made me realise that although we do have problems over here, we’re very lucky.”

Kirsten, who works in a boutique in Tramore, has kept her day job since becoming the Rose of Tralee but deferred starting college at the Waterford Institute of Technology until she hands over the sash.

Kirsten admits she if not sure if she intends to stay in the public eye after her reign as Rose comes to an end.

“I’m not sure if I would like to stay in the spotlight. I find it hard, it’s overwhelming to think that amount of people are looking at you, so I try not to think about it at all,” she told the Irish Mirror.


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