A Holly, Jolly Christmas with The Rose of Tralee

Maria Walsh and Santa crack each other up.

Maria Walsh and Santa crack each other up.

When the Philadelphia Rose Centre was established in 2002, in order to give “young Irish American women from the Philadelphia region the chance to participate in one of Ireland’s most beloved traditions,” little did they know that in 2014 they would see one of their own become the International Rose. 

So this year’s Christmas party was an extra special holiday celebration. With Maria Walsh and Santa (who sometimes goes by the name Seamus Bonner) in attendance, the Saturday Club in Wayne was rocking the season’s spirit last Sunday. There was food, music provided by Karen Boyce McCollum and the Lads (Pat Close and Pat Kildea), dancing, face painting, crafts, raffles, Newbridge jewelry for sale by Kathleen Regan and just a whole lot of fun.

The Conaghan family—Tom, Mary and daughters Sarah, Mary and Karen Conaghan Race—are the driving force behind the phenomenal success of the Philadelphia Rose program, and are supported by a devoted committee (Margaret King, Beth Keeley and Elizabeth Spellman) and volunteers who work throughout the year to bring events and activities to the Rose community.

She’s already traveled all over the world as the 2014 Rose, but on Sunday, Maria belonged to Philadelphia. She posed for pictures, danced and made the room come alive. And as she thanked everyone for attending the party, especially those with young kids, she noted “If we didn’t have young rosebuds, petals, future escorts, we wouldn’t have a future. And it’s so important that parents and teachers and aunts and uncles and grandparents bring kids here. This is how the Irish have survived for so long—we always re-invest and keep the cycle sustainable and going.”

Go ahead and enjoy the photos from the day:

Saorla Meenagh with Santa and Maria WalshThree Generations of Beautiful Women: Tara Ryan, Pat Bonner and Mary Beth Bonner RyanTom Conaghan Playing a Tune on His AccordionSarah McCollum, Face Painted and Enjoying the Craft TableSarah McCollum Drawing a Winning Raffle TicketSarah McCollum and Her Grandmother Carmel BoyceSanta and Shannon Alexander, the 2015 Mary from DungloeSanta and Niamh ReganSanta Giving out GiftsOne of the Regan Twins at the Craft TableThe Regan Cousins with Maria Walsh and SantaRegan Cousins at the Craft TableThe Philadelphia Rose of Tralee DressPatty Joyce and Her Grandson LoganPat Bonner, Tara Ryan and Mary Beth Bonner Ryan with Santa, AKA Seamus BonnerOrla ReganNiamh ReganNiamh Regan with Her Aunt Kathleen ReganMolly RaceCandy Cane Hands! Molly Race, Mary Conaghan and Lori MurphyMolly Race with Her Aunt Sarah ConaghanMolly Race and Karen Conaghan RaceMichelle and Saoirse Glennon with Maria Walsh and SantaMaria WalshMaria Walsh with Santa and Logan JoyceMaria Walsh and Sarah McCollum BestMaria WalshMaria Walsh and Santa with Orla ReganNiamh Regan with Maria Walsh and SantaMaria and Tom Conaghan Dancing to the BeatMaria and Tom Conaghan Cutting a RugMaria Walsh and SantaSanta Gets a Lift from Maria WalshMaria Walsh Trying Mightily to Give Santa a Lift!Margaret King, Maria Walsh and Michelle GlennonKaren Boyce McCollum, Singing and Dancing the Afternoon AwayKaren Boyce McCollum with Pat Close and Pat KildeaKaren Conaghan and Ira Race with Daughter MollyAnother Happy Future Rose!Fran DuffyFace PaintingEmily Weideman and Shannon Alexander, the 2015 Mary from DungloeShannon Alexander, the 2015 Mary from Dungloe, and her mom

 

Watch the video created by Mary Conaghan:

To follow Maria’s journey as International Rose, follow her on the Maria Walsh 2014 International Rose of Tralee Facebook page

And for more information on the Philly Rose Centre, check out their website: Philadelphia Rose of Tralee

Author: Lori Lander Murphy

Share This Post On