Grace Kenny is Celtic and Irish Cultural Society’s nomination for this year’s Rose of Tralee contest.

Grace Kenny is Celtic and Irish Cultural Society’s nomination for this year’s Rose of Tralee contest.

Grace Kenny

We are pleased to announce that 21year old Grace Kenny from Pound Hill has been nominated by The Celtic and Irish Cultural Society to represent Crawley in the 2013 Rose of Tralee contest.

Grace’s roots are in Tullow, County Carlow. Her dad Martin now deceased and all his 8 siblings were born and grew up there before moving to Horley in Surrey for her Grandad’s work. It was a big decision for the whole family to move. Because of the economic situation in the county at that time there was very little work and Larry Kenny her Grandad took the decision like other Irish families of that era and emigrated. Her Nanny Kenny was born in Rathvilly, Carlow and Grandad is from Craanford in Wexford.  Her trips back to Ireland take in visits to family in Carrigtohill in County Cork, Bray in County Wicklow and Island in County Wexford and values her trips to Tullow to meet the last remaining member of her Grandparent’s generation, her Aunt Maggie still alive at the grand age of 96.

Grace talks about Carlow as a wonderful place to visit and recalls great trips home. “Carlow is a beautiful, little place, especially in Tullow in the Summer, it’s so serene and quiet and everyone is just so friendly.”

A former pupil of Hazelwick Secondary School Grace is studying Politics and International Relations at Portsmouth University and after graduating is looking forward to taking a year out and travel to Asia to work in an orphanage in Nepal teaching English to the children there. Following on from that she wants to return to studying to gain a master’s degree in gender politics at University College Dublin.

Away from her studies she is big into political debates, which she loves organising and getting involved in and feels it is essential for young people to be engaged in politics in providing that platform for their voice and opinions to be heard.  Volunteering is high on her list of activities in Portsmouth on helping at the local Salvation Army café a few mornings a week before classes. Summer breaks sees her helping out at a local youth wing assisting with homework, cooking and arranging fund raising activities with them.

In her spare time – as if there is any left – she follows London Irish Rugby loves to travel and experiencing different cultures, recently visiting Rome at the end of last year.

And there’s more…the great passion of her life is Irish Dancing and has been for the last 17 years!  As a senior member of her dance school she now helps each the younger members. Her trophy cabinets are bursting with her many awards won from her travels to dancing competitions across Europe. Some of the highlights have been winning 8th in the European and World W.I.D.A Championships in 2009, winning the UK Dance Challenge in 2010 and coming 2nd in the Celtic National and European Championships last year.

She says “ The pinnacle of my dancing experiences however is being part of the Celtic Colleens and getting through to the live semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2010. It was such an unbelievable experience being able to perform on live television in front of all those people doing something I love.”

On being nominated for the contest Grace said, “ I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this exciting experience. It will be such an honour representing Crawley in the Rose of Tralee contest and a fantastic opportunity for us all to celebrate the Irish culture we have in our town. I hope I can do all my friends and family here and in Ireland proud!

I’m sure you’ll all agree her credentials make her the ideal contestant in this world famous contest and all of us here in Crawley and in the Celtic and Irish Cultural Society wish her the best of luck.