Melbourne Rose Katie Casey, a contestant in this year’s Rose of Tralee, hails from a farming background. Growing up on a dairy farm in Causeway, Co. Kerry, Katie developed a strong connection to the land. In 2018, she furthered her farming experience by working on a dairy farm in New Zealand for three months. Katie’s father and brother are actively involved in dairy farming, with her brother even winning a grassland award from Teagasc. Katie, who has four older brothers, fondly recalls her childhood on the farm, where everyone had their assigned tasks. As the only girl, her responsibilities included putting out straw bedding for the calves and later feeding them. However, driving the tractors was a privilege reserved for her brothers.
Katie’s time working on the New Zealand farm proved to be invaluable. The farm, which boasted two rotary milking parlours, was much larger in scale compared to her family’s farm back home. Katie’s main role was feeding the calves, and she relished the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a different setting. Following her stint in New Zealand, Katie relocated to Melbourne, where she continued her nursing career. To fulfill the requirements for her working holiday visa, she worked on a racehorse farm in Victoria for 88 days. Katie fell in love with Melbourne, describing it as a vibrant city with a strong sense of community. She appreciates the city’s proximity to the countryside, as it allows her to indulge in her love for nature. Despite her fondness for Melbourne, Katie’s heart remains in Kerry. However, she currently has no plans to return permanently, as she is in the process of obtaining permanent residency in Australia.
Being selected as a Rose in the Rose of Tralee festival is a dream come true for Katie. She has fond memories of attending the festival as a young girl with her mother, marveling at the princess-like presence of the Roses. It still feels surreal to Katie that she has been chosen as the Melbourne Rose. She feels incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity. While the festival is a glamorous affair, Katie looks forward to returning to her farming roots and helping out on the family farm. She finds solace and joy in spending time with her family and contributing to the farm’s operations.
The Rose of Tralee festival will be broadcast live on RTÉ One on Monday, August 21, and Tuesday, August 22.