Rose of Maynooth

If you haven’t heard of the Rose of Maynooth, where is this rock you have been living under? The Rose of Maynooth, as the name suggests, is a Maynooth University play on the Rose of Tralee festival held annually in County Kerry.
What started out as an idea by MSU’s own Karen Kane has blossomed into an event integrating the various clubs and societies on campus that otherwise might not get the chance to see what the others have to offer. In Karen’s words, “We really wanted to get as many clubs and socs involved as possible because we wanted to make sure everyone got to showcase their talent”.

Undeniably the clubs and societies here at Maynooth have abundant skill judging by the spectacular variation of performances last night’s event had to offer, despite a slight mishap or two with the playlist. Not that said mishap had any lasting effect on the judge’s decisions, as Maynooth’s very own judging panel of Dillon Grace, Karen Kane, and Lorna Sexton were blessed with fair graces and the affected society placed in the end!
Over the past few weeks, the 10 clubs and societies competing to win the title have been hard at work whipping their candidates into shape. And by whipping into shape I mean selecting an unrivalled song to play as the Roses and Escorts make their dramatic entrance onstage, choosing stunning outfits to psych out the competition, and most importantly –. rehearsing a unique act to blow the judges away. According to, once again, Karen Kane, the quality of the performances was “second to none”, so I think we can make the not-so-wild assumption that every act absolutely deserved to be up there onstage amazing the crowd.
Who wouldn’t want the chance to be a Rose? It’s one of the few opportunities you’ll get throughout the duration of your course to show up at the SU in a tux or evening gown without scaring the masses. From the Rose’s perspectives, the event is “sheer craic”, a “great experience for a bit of [club or society] promo”, and all round a great night to utterly doll up.

Hazel Gavigan, MAD Rose. Jordan Taylor, Escort.
Coming in first place and officially crowned the Rose of Maynooth 2017, MAD society deserved the win for their Frozen inspired song “Gay Best Friend” – amazing experience since the Rose aspires to enter the (official) Rose of Tralee in the future. “We’re really just like a theatre family here at MAD
soc, its mad craic and everyone is welcome – once you can carry the tune of Happy Birthday you’re welcome!”.

Zoe Koulianou, Dance Rose. Jordan McKenna, Escort.
Dance society were a close second with their stunning dance recital that one judge claims “nearly made me cry”. Unsurprisingly these two were nominated to represent their society because of their astounding skills. “We were just asked to do it really”.

Aoife Willett, MUCK Rose. Cian Vaugh, Escort.
The crowd went wild when MUCK placed third in the event – understandably, since according to the Rose “the secretary messaged me and told me I’d be a good candidate and “probably the best craic onstage” so I agreed – I feel like a celebrity!”. The dance off onstage was definitely one of the highlights of the night, but it meant the pair were barely still enough for me to snap a photo of one of them, let alone two.

Aubrey Clark, Busking Rose. Jack O’Driscoll, Escort.
As it’s what the society revolves around, Busking society also performed a song – a chill inducing rendition of Cherry Wine. The Rose on vocals and her Escort on guitar, these representatives were also nominated by their society. “Busking is a great society because it’s so relaxed, chilled – we’re a family of friendom”.

Niamh Devaney, Lit & Deb Rose. Damian Claffey, Escort.
Lit & Deb society presented another highlight of the show by channelling Jonah Hill and performing a poem from 22 Jump Street. The Rose is another future Rose of Tralee applicant and says the entire night was a great experience. “Lit & Deb is a good society because we debate important topics and create discussion, which is important – also, I love slam poetry!”.

Jonah Worcester, Empower Rose. Aisling Murphy, Escort.
In accordance with Rose of Maynooth tradition, one representative attends in drag and Empower soc’s Rose wore heels with more confidence than most females I know, which is saying a lot. “We wanted to challenge gender roles and personally I feel empowered in drag! Also I was an Escort last year so see this as levelling up”. However, there are no future Rose of Tralee plans at the moment.

Lauren O’Neill, Mental Health Rose. Eoin Fitzsimmoons, Escort.
Mental Health soc also performed a dance to the extremely fitting “Fight Song” that ties into the theme of their society, which involves helping those struggling with their mental health, in any mall way. “As a society we do a lot to try and distract people and get them to relax. That’s why we hold a lot of our events on a Thursday, to help at the end of a stressful week”
All in all, the Rose of Maynooth is definitely an interesting event and one worth checking out. Organised flawlessly by Aquatics, it was a spectacular night. “I just really wanna say thank you to the whole of Aquatics for carrying on the event and doing it such justice. I honestly couldn’t have been any more proud.” – Karen Kane.
Till next year, Rose of Maynooth!