Female Undertaker becomes cities chosen Rose
(Galway Rose Clare Ann Irwin pictured with her parents Ann and Joseph Irwin after her selection on Saturday night.)
TV audiences at this year’s Rose of Tralee competition will hear about an unusual profession from one of the finalists, as the newly selected Galway Rose is a qualified embalmer who works with her family’s well-known undertaking business.
In front of a crowd of hundreds last Saturday night, Clare Ann Irwin was chosen as Galway’s representative in the summer extravaganza down Kerry way, from a group of 24 talented and intereresting women.
Clare Ann is not only the fifth generation in the city-based family business, but the company’s first female funeral director and embalmer since its establishment in 1834.
Afterwards she said that while she acknowledged that her job is an unusual one, she hopes that she can prove to be a role model for other women who wish to work in previously male-dominated jobs
“I am so shocked as I was not expecting this at all. I have had the most wodnerful journey over the past few months with the toher 23 roses and they are some of the most amazing woen I have ever met and each of them is just as eligible for this sash as I am.
“I am so grateful and I just cannot wait for Tralee where I hope to represent Galway with this sash. I am so prvileged, so thank you to all who chose me.
“I do have an unsuual profession, but this is the message I want to get across to all women out there. I was a primary school teacher for two years and went to college for four years before that, but asll I ever wanted to do was work in the funeral industry, especially the embalming side.
“But as a woman, I was never factored in. I was always told this is not a job for a woman. But I think it is so importamnt that young girls and women in society have role models working in these industries to normalise the reality that women can do jobs that men can do.
“If you are passionate enough about it, you will succeed regardless of your gender,” she said.
Sport has always played a massive part in Clare Ann’s life, representing Connacht in hockey, and both coaching and playing with her local GAA club St Michael’s.
The event was attended by Rose of Tralee Sinéad Flanagan, London Rose Laura, Kilkenny Rose Clodagh, Laois Rose Sarah, Abu Dhabi Rose Karen and Blessington Rose Caoimhe and many Roses and Rose Escorts from previous years.
The 2022 Galway Rose Selection judges, Róisín Egenton Lawless (2022 Rose of Tralee ), Conor Walsh (2014 Rose of Tralee Escort of the Year ) and Rosie Burke (2016 Galway Rose ) assessed each entrant through individual and group interviews, as well as their stage interview with Galway Bay FM’s Ollie Turner at Saturday’s Selection Night.
This Spring, the Roses also went on a tour of the county, and visited local sponsors, attractions and supporters using Geraghty Travel, visiting the Eyre Square Centre, Galway Atlantaquaria, The Corrib Princess, Ground & Co (Salthill ), Born Fashions, The Garden at Dowlings (Athenry ), Basilico Restaurant (Oranmore ), Queen Street, Murty Rabbits, The Skeff and Barr an Chaladh. The organisers wish to thank the generous and welcoming businesses and attractions around the county.
Galway Rose Coordinator Anne Marie Doyle said MC Ollie Turner won over the crowd with his signature style of serious interviewing and hilarious anecdotes as he watched the Roses “sing, dance, play musical instruments, perform CPR, pull a pint and even turn the microphone on Ollie to interview him instead.”
“All of the Rose entrants were of exceptionally high calibre and the night was very entertaining for the audience as they were introduced to 24 inspiring women who had interesting stories which celebrated the women and their achievements and interests.
Katelyn Molloy provided entertainment while the judges made their deliberations, while Katherine Gavin, pianist, was the musical director on the night. A raffle was held with all proceeds going to MADRA.