Philadelphia's Irish community is celebrating its newly crowned worldwide ambassador.
Irish princess Maria Walsh was crowned the Rose of Tralee at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Ireland yesterday.
The event is a multi-faceted gathering that celebrates the attributes of young Irish women.
"It really is about choosing a young woman who will be an ambassador for the Irish community internationally. It's not a beauty pageant. It's a tradition Irish people all over the world have grown up with," said Karen Race, of the Philadelphia Rose of Tralee Center.
Race says intelligence, independence, sense of adventure, community-mindedness and style are all qualities the Rose of Tralee must possess.
Walsh, who sports a pixie cut, is Boston-born and has been living in Philadelphia and working for Anthropologie since 2011.
A contingent from Philadelphia gathered at Maggie O'Neill's Pub in Upper Darby to watch the Rose of Tralee contest live as the crowning took place in Ireland during the festival's grand finale.
"It’s a highly competitive competition starting locally. It’s a wonderful accomplishment because Maria has very good traits and knowledge of her culture," said Tom Walsh of the Commodore Barry Club.
Modern young Irish women are celebrated at local and regional rose contests, leading up to Rose of Tralee festival. Irish people from across the globe come together to enjoy the five-day street carnival, games, circus, fashion show, live music and family entertainment.
More than 200,000 people attend the Irish heritage festival each year. The festival got its name from the love song by William Mulchinock.
"Maria's amazing. We've all just fallen in love with her. She's a naturally down-to-earth person and a trendsetter. We knew she was special when we met her and we are happy to share her with the whole world," said Race.