Aisling Finnegan, who represented Dublin in this year’s Rose of Tralee, sat down with Rachael O’ Brien to catch up on the Rose of Tralee festival and what she has been getting up to since, including the Focus Ireland Sleepout tonight.
Why did you enter the Rose of Tralee?
“I’ve always watched the Rose of Tralee and it’s something that I thought would be an amazing experience to do but I never proactively searched for the Dublin selections.
“It was actually my friend who couldn’t speak more highly about it, he was involved a few years ago, and he got the ball rolling for me. But when I met all the girls at the first Dublin Rose meeting that’s one of the reasons I really did it because I was on the fence about it. When I met them all I realised they were the same type of people as me and I honestly just did it for the experience.”
What are some of your highlights since becoming the Dublin Rose in July?
“The highlight was definitely the support I got from everyone. I had to get one hundred thank you cards printed because of the amount of cards and good wishes from everyone all over the world.
“The support I got was unbelievable and something I still can’t get over. From a Tralee point of view the highlight was seeing my family on the Sunday before the actual filming. You only see your family for about four hours over the whole week. I got to spend about two hours with family and friends in the Meadowlands Hotel and everyone had their own area and it was nice to break away and see them.”
What was your reaction when you saw yourself on the cover of the Irish Independent?
“That was funny! I still haven’t watched back my TV night so that was the closest thing I saw to the stage. My mum and dad were ecstatic that I was on the front of the Independent so it was amazing.”
Folkster, a vintage shop located in Temple Bar supplied Aisling with her dresses. Did you get to keep any of the dresses that they gave you?
“Folkster were so good to me for lending me all of my dresses and then I got a call off them after I did my stage interview where I mentioned them. They were so happy that I talked about them that they said while I would have to give back my stage dress, I could keep all my other dresses.”
What is the Focus Ireland Sleepout and how are you involved?
“It’s a Focus Ireland [event] in conjunction with a bar in town, Sober Lane. One of the escorts for this year was sponsored by Sober Lane and he mentioned it to a group of us, and asked us would anyone be interested in doing it. I jumped on it as it is an amazing charity to fundraise for as it’s something at the moment that is so important.
“There are ten of us doing it and it’s a twelve hour sleep out from 8pm this Saturday to 8am Sunday morning. The aim is to raise €100 each, so €1000 in the end, and it’s in Ringsend Football Club this year.”
Do you have many Rose duties for the rest of the year now that Tralee is finished?
“Most of the events I’m involved in are charity events so I can manage them around work as best as I can. I go to launches and opening of events and just help out as much as I can. I suppose you make it your own year and be as proactive as you want for the year so that’s what I’m going to do.”