By Cara Treacy
Amy Gillen from Donegal is keen to use her year as London Rose to work within the community and help various good causes.
The Irish World caught up with Amy at the recent London Irish Vintage Day in Greenford, her first appearance since she represented London at the festival in Tralee.
Amy told The Irish World: “The experience in Tralee was absolutely incredible.
“I enjoyed every single moment of it.
“It was an incredible experience.
“And I can easily say I’ve made friends for life.
“There was a huge sense of sisterhood.
“I felt so proud to represent London, and all the people and the communities that I love and care about so much.”
An accomplished musician who released her debut album earlier this year, Amy played The Town I Loved So Well on the flute in Tralee.
Was this a highlight of the whole experience? “Of course, that was a huge highlight, speaking to Kathryn and having the opportunity to play on the Rose of Tralee stage.
“That was a dream of mine for so many years, but there were so many highlights throughout the festival.
“I do have to say that the parade in Tralee, the nighttime parade was incredible.
“The streets were lined with people. The atmosphere was electric.
“We did so many things. We did go-karting, we did kayaking, we herded sheep in heels and dresses.
“I cannot wait to see the photos from that one.”
The experience has been a “dream come true” for Amy.
“I have dreamt of the Rose of Tralee since I was tiny. So I think I was just ready to embrace every moment and just try and take it all in and just enjoy it.
“It was just so incredible to be part of it all and to make everyone proud, to make the people of London proud, Donegal proud as well.”
It was while she was onstage in Tralee that Amy mentioned charitable causes such as Irish Action Against Hunger and St Andrew’s Youth Club who she fundraised for with a night of karaoke before heading off for Tralee.
“It’s important for me to be part of those (causes).
“It’s so important for me to give back to communities that have been so supportive of me as well. I’d like to thank everyone for their support.
“I can’t wait to get back to St Andrew’s Youth Club and the Westminster Performing Arts School and see everybody that was there to support me throughout the London Rose journey.”
Róisín Wiley from New York was selected as this year’s Rose of Tralee. The 27- year- old works in marketing in Manhattan and has links to Limerick through both her parents.
Looking ahead to her time as the London Rose, Amy made mention of her hopes to continue helping and aiding the many charities she works with.
“I think there’s so many things to look forward to this year. I already have events in the calendar as London Rose. I’m looking forward to attending events over the next while and just getting even more connected in my community. I’m so looking forward to wearing the London Rose sash for the year ahead.”