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Sinead Flanagan is continuing her role as Rose of Tralee for 2020

Rose of Tralee 2019 and 2020, Sinead Flanagan, pictured with Richard Lynch at Limerick person of the year 2019 at the Clayton Hotel on Thursday February 27, 2020. Pictures: Beth Pym/ilovelimerick.

Photo taken before social distancing.

Sinead Flanagan is continuing her role as Rose of Tralee for 2020

By I Love Limerick Correspondent Sophia DiBattista


Limerick lady Sinead Flanagan has agreed to continue her role as the Rose of Tralee for 2020 until next year’s festival.

The 2020 festival has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organisers of the event felt it best to cancel this year’s event in order to abide by the public health regulations. This is the first year the festival has not taken place in its 61-year run.

Taking heed of the public health restrictions, Sinead has continued her work as a doctor in Co. Cork. The 27-year-old junior doctor from Adare will hopefully be able to attend events later in the year after the travel restrictions are lifted and the environment becomes safer.


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An update on the 2020 Rose of Tralee International Festival: The impact of Covid-19 continues to be felt worldwide and our thoughts are with all of those who have been affected by the very sad losses this pandemic is causing. These are unprecedented times for all and the health and safety of our communities remains the utmost concern. Over the past few weeks, our team have been considering how best we could safely deliver some, or all, of our 2020 Festival events. Taking into account Government guidelines, the safety of our communities and the ability to deliver a wonderful Festival; we have decided to postpone our 2020 Festival until August 2021. This is the first time in our 61 year history that the Festival has been postponed, but it is the right decision as we all play our part right now in keeping each other safe and well. The Rose of Tralee International Festival operates on a yearlong basis, in Irish communities worldwide; and we will continue to harness the goodwill of our extended Rose Family in supporting communities and charitable efforts over the next 12 months. Similarly, we will each have a role to play in restoring our communities and economies following the pandemic. We look forward to coming together in celebration, showcasing our wonderful communities; and welcoming you all to Tralee in August 2021. In the meantime, we salute the leadership and the selfless efforts of frontline and support staff everywhere; and among them the efforts by many of our Roses, Rose Escorts and wider Rose Family, including our 2019 Rose of Tralee, Dr Sinéad Flanagan. Our immediate priority is to support the health and civic authorities in doing whatever we can to keep each other safe and well, and ultimately to protect lives. #staystafe #stayhome #safelives #roseoftralee

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Sinead was crowned in 2019, making her Limerick’s third Rose as the International Rose of Tralee. The first Limerick Rose was Diane Hannigan in 1984, followed by Muirne Hurley in 1994.

The doctor is no stranger to activist work. In February 2020, Sinead traveled with 14 fellow Roses and Escorts to Belarus as medical and teaching volunteers for children with special needs through Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International charity. 

In November 2019, Sinead went to Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, to visit HOPE’s projects with street and slum children. She and her team saw the terrible conditions Kolkata’s most vulnerable children had to live in and experienced first-hand what life is like as a child in India’s second-most populous city.

sinead flannagan

2019 International Rose of Tralee Sinead Flanagan pictured in Kolkata with actor Jeremy Irons. Photo taken before social distancing.

To continue this trail of activism despite the recently canceled festival, the Rose of Tralee organisers developed a Social Distance Digital Relay, which took place on Saturday, April 18. From 7 am until 8 pm, people across the world passed a digital baton between participants and ran as much as they could in 30 minutes. The funds were donated to aid Pieta House during this trying time.

Currently, they have raised over €75,000, and the number keeps rising. People can donate here.

In light of the recent events and the unfortunate cancellation of the festival, Anthony O’Gara, executive chair of the Rose of Tralee, discussed the current concerns of the pandemic, saying, “We each have a role to play in restoring our communities and local economies following this pandemic, and we look forward to coming together in celebration in August 2021. In the meantime, we salute the leadership and the selfless efforts of frontline and support staff everywhere.”

For more information on the Rose of Tralee, click here.

For more stories on the Rose of Tralee, click here.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.