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23rd Aug 2023

‘Our world just completely stopped’ Kathryn Thomas moved to tears by Clare Rose’s story

Katy Thornton

Such a powerful moment.

Rose of Tralee co-host Kathryn Thomas was moved to tears by one of the Roses’ stories on the second night of the event.

When Clare Rose Aisling O’Connor took to stage, she opened up about the loss of both of her parents in recent years and how her community came together to support her family.

“We’ve had a very tough couple of years… Our story started back in 2004,” the rose explained.

“I’m the eldest of six and mam was pregnant with number six, Oisín, and she got her first breast cancer diagnosis and at that time, the diagnosis was really bad and she wasn’t given much chance.

“With so much determination and defiance, she completely beat the odds and was with us all through our childhood and saw us grow up.

“We lived a really normal happy lovely life right up until 2018 when our world just completely stopped and we lost our dad in a tragic, tragic accident and obviously we were reeling.

“Then, in 2020, our world stopped again and mam got her second diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer this time and fought the most incredible fight up until 2021 when she passed away with us all around her.”

Aisling then said she and her family “wouldn’t be anywhere” without the support of her community in the wake of her parents’ deaths.

“I think when you think of the Rose of Tralee and what that means, it’s about celebrating Irishness and what it means to be Irish and they epitomise and personify that every single day,” the rose told Thomas, adding that her family have “never been alone”.

“From 2021, and I say this from the bottom of my heart, there’s been a dinner outside the gate every single day. There have been vouchers left. There’s been bags of shopping, electricity bills paid and always somebody on the end of a phone.

“We’re very much supported. We’re never alone and I know they love us as much as we love all of them.”

She added: “I think that’s what being Irish is. It’s no man left behind. It’s a community spirit. It’s truly remarkable and incredible.

“For myself and my five brothers, this experience really has given me a chance to acknowledge and thank them so deeply.”

Header image via Instagram / Rose of Tralee


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