The 26-year-old executive director of a Philadelphia nonprofit serving homeless veterans was crowned the 2016 Philadelphia Rose of Tralee on Saturday night at the Radnor Hotel. The event was emceed by CBS3 consumer reporter Jim Donovan.
The latest Rose, Brigid Gallagher, has the inside scoop on what she’s in for this year. Her older sister, Colleen, was the 2007 Philly Rose. The two wrote and illustrated a children’s book and, along with running the Philadelphia Veterans’ House, Brigid Gallagher is completing her masters of art therapy and counseling at Drexel University. A graduate of West Chester University with a degree in graphic design and psychology, The new Rose is a marathoner and one of the newest members of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, the oldest Irish organization in the US, located in Philadelphia, which recently opened its membership to women.
Brigid is the middle sister of seven girls—so there may be more Gallagher Roses to come.
She competed against 11 other young, accomplished women for the title, which will take her to Tralee this summer e where she’ll be up against Roses from all 32 counties of Ireland and around the world, including Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Rose of Tralee competition is one of the most watched television broadcasts in Ireland.
Brigid replaces Mairead Comaskey, a culture specialist the The Vanguard Group in Malvern and the daughter of Irish immigrants. Philly’s 2014 Rose, Maria Walsh, was crowned International Rose of Tralee, the first Philly Rose to earn the crown since the Philadelphia Rose Center opened 15 years ago.
Also honored on Saturday night with the Mary O’Connor Spirit Award for strength, humble spirit, courage, and service to the community was Angela Mohan. A County Tryone native who played for and coached Philadelphia camogie and ladies Gaelic football teams, Angela holds a record 15 North American GAA Championship medals. She was captain of Team USA in the first-ever international ladies Gaelic football competition in Dublin Ireland in 1998.
A certified personal trainer today, she is well known for the work she does internationally developing conditioning programs for world level Irish dancers. She was recently featured in a BBC documentary, “Jigs and Wigs.” She is equally well known for her charity work. She organized “Angel’s Army” to help a friend with cancer and has raised money for the Children’s Cancer Unit of the Nemours/Alfred I. DuPont Children’s Hospital in Wilmington.
Carmel Boyce, a mother of six from County Donegal, was chosen to receive the Rosabelle Gifford Award for best dressed woman at the gala. The award is named in honor of the late Donegal native, mother of five, known for her fashionable outfits. Carmel was selected by last year’s winner, Annemarie Murray Sheehan of McDade Cara School of Irish Dance. The first recipient of the award as Olivian Hilpl of Rince Ri School of Dance.
See photos from the event here. There are some below.