If I was to get a euro for every-time I heard the comment “ Festival wasn’t much good to my business this week “… then I’d probably be writing this from the Bahamas!
Tralee (and a lot of people all over the world ) have just born witness to the biggest Rose of Tralee festival that has been run to date …it may not have been the best ,,,well not yet anyway ! but Boy are we on the right track . And to not take the “ helicopter view” of this great event is to do it a great disservice.
Back in the day, when I was an active retailer in Tralee (and Killarney), I was heavily involved in Tralee Chamber Of Commerce (Now Tralee Chamber Alliance ) and we commissioned a study of the Festival , where it was calculated that it was worth economically the equivalent of a 450 job facility in Tralee, As the late Bill Kirby of the Brogue would say “the Festival is worth 6 months business to the town! “ And that was 20 years ago ! We have just seen 65 Roses and their supporters visit Tralee, a 7 day festival , The semi finals now relocated to the Dome away from Portlaoise,and an additional 90 mins TV coverage in “The Road to the Dome “, not to mention so much more press coverage , local , nationally and on the international stage . And yet from some quarters , it still receives criticism! …But thats no harm …we all need (constructive ) criticism!
Take , for example , the issue of the entertainment in the Square and its effects on the public and the handful of business that operated each evening . Now I am sure that Anthony O Gara , Oliver Hurley and colleagues planned the relocation of entertainment in there , along with the fantastic Dome Cover as a positive step in the middle of town . The fact that it didnt all go to plan won’t be lost on them and guess what , changes will be made , tweaks here and there and next year will be better…. after all this is just the first year of doing this in the square , Why ? because thats the way the Festival does things ….after all its on the go for 57 years and each year is planned to be better than the last! Just ask the 1600 people at the Rose Ball last Friday Night ! Or all the fans who saw Hudson Taylor in the Square for only €15 (as opposed to Dublin for €40!)
Being originally from Galway and now active in the media world , I am in contact with a lot of people all over the country who are in awe of what the Rose of Tralee is and what people in Tralee have achieved with this . Often its the case that it takes people from outside to really appreciate WHAT WE’VE GOT. Show me another town or city in the country that gets the attention of the nation and the world, the column inches in the press, the airtime on TV and Radio and the presence on Social Media.
And when you pair that with the booked out Hotels and B&B’s , the spend on local tradesmen in readiness, the hundreds of extra staff in the Bars , Dome , Hotels, Restaurants, Bands and Musicians, Taxis …then we really have a festival worth embracing even more ! Don’t be a ‘hurler on the ditch‘ get involved , volunteer ..they need even more of the calibre of volunteers that steered Tralee through its biggest festival to date …. The Best ? …
No thats still to come!


Editor Chris Shortt comments
on this years Festival …