Amber Crean, Luxembourg Rose 2018; Credit: Jazmin Campbell

Dublin-born Galway girl Amber Crean has been named this year’s Luxembourg Rose of Tralee.

The 16th edition of the Luxembourg Rose Ball, held on Saturday 14 April 2018 at the Parc Hotel Alvisse Dommeldange’s Salle Europe, began with a crémant reception sponsored by Bernard Massard followed by the introduction by Master of Ceremonies Jim Kent of this year’s four lovely roses: Amber Crean (winner), Christina Murphy, Niamh Carey and Stacey McKenna.

Guests were then treated to a delicious three-course meal during which the roses were interviewed by Jim Kent. First up was Dublin-born Amber Crean who lived in Wicklow and Meath before moving to Galway and, finally, to her “home away from home” Luxembourg almost four years ago. During her interview, Amber discussed her job as a financial auditor, her love of travel and her recent qualification as an emergency first responder and rescue scuba diver. Indeed, one of the entertainment highlights of the night was the moment Miss Crean had to feign CPR on one of her escorts who fake collapsed on stage, much to the audience’s amusement. Moreover, the animal-lover and Luxembourg Ladies Gaelic football coach – who was named player of the year twice in a row – also commented on what she most liked about life in Luxembourg, emphasising the country’s multiculturalism, the people and the significant Irish community.

Next, Jim Kent invited Armagh-native Christina Murphy onto the stage who first came to Luxembourg as an au-pair for a Swedish family. The Fine Art graduate also had the opportunity to showcase some of her impressive sketches of Ronnie Drew, Tom Hardy and Conor McGregor – the first of which was later announced as one of the many tombola prizes.

The third rose to be interviewed was Niamh Carey, a native of Blarney, County Cork, who first came to Luxembourg to attend the European Youth Parliament aged 16, accompanied by her mother. Having studied a Bachelor in Law and French, the 24-year old now works for the Lithuanian cabinet in the European Court of Auditors. When asked what she missed most about Ireland, Niamh mentioned her twin sister, who is studying to be a doctor back home.

Finally, Rose number 4, Stacey McKenna – also originally from Cork – spoke of her 8-month internship at Brown Brother Harriman in Luxembourg, an experience which convinced her to return to the Grand Duchy for a graduate job at Intertrust as an accountant. When asked what she liked most about Luxembourg, Stacey quirked “the weather”, since summer is normally hotter than back in Ireland. She then commented that she most missed the food back home, especially her mother’s dinners. Jim Kent also asked the young rose about her experience as a coach for the Special Olympics in the past.

Whilst the judges - Clare McGing (President), Freda Murphy and Joe O'Toole - were busy making the difficult choice of who to crown as this year's winning rose out of the four more-than-worthy young ladies, Jim Kent announced the winners of the night’s tombola, which included a total of 20 prizes, among which were return flights to Dublin, courtesy of Luxair.

Finally, it was Amber Crean who was announced as this year’s Luxembourg Rose to represent the country over the coming year and, of course, in the 2018 Rose of Tralee contest. The Galway girl was in visible surprise as she was adorned with her tiara, sash and rose bouquet, passed on to her by her predecessor, the 2016 Luxembourg Rose Síle Reidy – who actually served the role for two years when last year’s competition was cancelled.

Other highlights from this year’s Rose Ball included the awards for best Rose escort and best poster in support of the roses - which included puns like Amber is "the crean of the crop" - a competition for the “most ridiculous Trump quotes”, some fantastic Irish dancing and the random allocation of private invitations at the House 17 members’ club, the cards for which were hidden under a selection of the guests’ chairs.

The evening concluded with music and dancing along to DJ Sam Steen’s celebratory playlist.

Also present at the Rose Ball 2018 – sponsored by Baloise Assurances – was the Irish Ambassador to Luxembourg and some of the former applicants and roses from past editions, who were also honoured during the evening.

Thanks to Thérèse Collins, Geraldine Cassells and all the other members of the Roses committee, this year’s ball successfully captured the spirit of the Rose of Tralee, based on the song of the same name.