Over a million people watched it this year, so it’s almost comical when people say it’s irrelevant or not celebrating women in the right way.” Yet, just days before the festival began, Ireland attracted international indignation when a woman who had been raped was forced to give birth against her will.As one Irish commentator put it, “womanhood in Ireland remains a strictly policed construct.” Many would argue that the Rose of Tralee only reinforces this view.
The Big Short, the film adaptation of Michael Lewis' book of the same name about the causes of the financial crisis, opens in UK cinemas this weekend.
“It’s caused a bit of a scandal”, she tells me, with a slightly tired smile.
“It’s all still very much a whirlwind.” To its critics, the Rose of Tralee is nothing more than a show of pretty, giddy girls in dresses, sashes and strings of pearls, memorably parodied in Father Ted as the ‘Lovely Girls’ competition.
Then, at the end of last month, everything changed.
Walsh won one of Ireland’s oldest and most popular festivals: the Rose of Tralee - a competition to find the ultimate Irish woman, judged on beauty and talent. Just days after she was crowned, Walsh revealed to a newspaper that she was a lesbian.