It wouldn't be wrong to think of Eleanor Sutton as an almost accidental Offaly Rose. Though schooled and working in the country, the 26-year-old dietician who was crowned Offaly Rose in Tullamore last weekend technically lives in Tipperary. Furthermore, rather than having long-held dreams of being a Rose, Eleanor really only agreed to enter the competition as a way to meet people, having recently moved home after studying and working in the UK.
"The Moneygall Development Association asked me to enter about eight weeks ago," Eleanor, who's from between DUnkerrin and Roscrea, explained. "I just said 'yeah, that's fine'. I didn't think about what it'd be like, or what it'd be like if I won it."
The first Eleanor's colleague in Tullamore hospital knew of her entry was when she was chosen as winner last Saturday in the Bridge House Hotel in Tullamore. Eleanor admits the win also took her by surprise.
"I didn't really think of the fact that there was going to be a winner," she explained. "It was just kind of a day out. Nobody really talked about who was going to win. It was all about Saturday."
Eleanor took the title after a day of both individual and group interviews before Reveal Make-Up Salon and Training Studios and Deirdre's Hair Care stepped in for some pampering prior to on-stage appearances for the finalists.
Eleanor didn't do a party piece in Tullamore, and suspects she won't at the regional finals in Portlaoise on the June bank holiday weekend either.
"I'll be nervous enough as it is," she explained.
Looking ahead now to Portlaoise, Eleanor's main support will no doubt be her parents Billy and Paula and sisters Jenny (24) and Aoife (19). The whole county is also behind her however, hoping that for the first time an Offaly Rose will make it to Tralee in August.