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Hello and welcome to this week’s  virtual walk.
Well, I’m down in Tralee today ahead of the upcoming QVC Rose of Tralee celebration that will air this coming Tuesday 7th – so what better than bring you on a walk through this lovely Town.
Tralee is the largest town in the County of Kerry that lies in shadow of the Slieve Mish mountains and has been settled since ancient times.
The Rose of Tralee international festival has put Tralee on the world map and has been run since 1959, but unfortunately has been postponed by the pandemic . As we arrive in the Town, we can immediately spot the importance of this event in the life of the town with large street ornaments, roses and signage.
Let’s start our walk today in one of the oldest sties in the town – Ratass Church and ogham stone. .. and yes, the name of this place sounds as its spelt !!
What’s interesting here is the ancient church that dates from the 10th century, but within it is a carved grave stone and an even older, really well preserved ogham stone that dates from 500 AD. Ogham is an ancient Irish writing, using carved lines .This particular stone was discovered here in 1975 during excavations and the inscription reads : [A]NM SILLANN MAQ FATTILLOGG – “ name of Sílán son of Fáithloga”.
Before we hit the town I see Blenerville windmill that stands on the western side of the town. The mill was built in 1800 by the Blenerhasset family who were an important merchant family from Tralee.
It’s a fine building, standing over 20 metres high. It had fallen into disuse over the years , but in recent times it’s been restored so we can visit . I have to say it’s a real iconic image and a lovely landmark.
Righto, time is ticking so we will head into town and park on Denny Street . Now, Tralee was founded by the Anglo Normans in the 12th century, and in 1587 Elizabeth the first granted the town to Edward Denny after whom this street is named.
Let’s have a look around the town. It was laid out in the 19th Century and many of the buildings that we now see were bult around 1826 and have that classical look that is usually seen in much larger towns. As the weather is nice we can see lots of people sitting out enjoying the sunshine and soaking up the atmosphere.
We will take a quick look at the county museum building before heading into the town park and the Rose walk. As I mentioned earlier the Rose of Tralee International festival has taken place here in the town since 1959.
It was Inspired by the song “ the Rose of Tralee “ and in the words of the organisers of the pageant the aim of The Rose of Tralee International Festival is a celebration of the aspirations , ambitions , intellect , social responsibility and heritage of modern young women.
The town comes alive during festival week, and the fantastic array of roses in the town park are in bloom for the occasion . There are over 35 different varieties of roses on display in the three acre garden. The number of roses are said to exceed 3,000 bushes, and I can spot a team of gardeners in the distance hard at work…. Boy, they have their work cut out for them !! The sight is amazing and the aroma of rose scent fills the air… If you are a rose grower, this is your paradise !!
Let’s stop at the life sized statue of the original Rose of Tralee Mary O’Connor and the author of the Rose of Tralee ballad William Pembroke Mulchinock sculpted by an Irish sculptor Jeanne Rynhart and unveiled in 2009.
We could spend hours here enjoying the rose garden, but I know that our time is almost up in our parking spot so we had better dash … and as we approach the car there appears what looks like a traffic warden – or is it – hovering near the car. It turns out that this is a local actor , known as Paudie the Covid Cop with his trusty pantomime horse , Sylvester . He is there to give us all a laugh and share a joke !!
So, on that cheerful note let’s finish our walk through Tralee.
Finally , for my friends who watch QVC , don’t forget to tune in to the annual Rose of Tralee celebration on Tuesday 7th September and join me and all my Irish friends as we come live by Skype from Ballyseede Castle , in Tralee.
You can see all my photos from our walk over on my facebook page – stephenwalshconnemaramarble

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