We are constantly astounded by the strength and resilience of Irish women. In this new series, we have committed to finding the most inspirational women of Ireland and giving them a say on the most relevant contemporary social issues.
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“I had two agendas this year. One was to make sure that people realised it was more than just two nights on TV. It was a 12 month ambassador role and I took that very seriously. My second was to ensure that young people felt empowered and that anything I identified with was open and transparent to them”.
Maria Walsh jokes that she doesn’t fit the typical ‘Lovely Lady’ stereotype with her short hair, tattoos and the fact that she’s the first openly gay Rose of Tralee. But, after 5 minutes in her presence it’s easy to understand why she was crowned the 56th Rose.
Maria exudes an infectious kind of confidence. She’s a lifetime pioneer and when asked if it has affected her social life she’s unfazed, “I guess I was really confident in my own skin…I never needed that crutch”.
Admirably, her highlights of the past year have been the time spent with young people sharing her story. She says, “My proudest hour was visiting schools and helping young people identify with anything they might be going through”.
Maria has achieved a lot in the past 12 months and when we caught up with her she shared some of her reflections.
Maria is now utilising her last few weeks as The Rose to complete a 242km Trek from her hometown to Tralee.
The main objective of Trek To Tralee is to encourage people to come out and join the expedition and share their stories.
Many thanks to House Dublin.
For more information and to donate to Trek 2 Tralee click here.