Is there a pattern to the Rose Of Tralee? Well, of course there’s a pattern – there’s the pleasant chat, the condescending approval/flirting of the host and then the party piece – but is there a pattern for picking the winner? That’s the big question. Here’s a statistical breakdown of the competition as in-depth as it is pointless to help you pick out the likely winner of this year’s event.
Blondes may have more fun, but they don’t have a whole lot of Rose of Tralee titles to their names. Presumably because promoting the cause of blondes would result in a lot more Premier League footballers coming to these shores, the judging panel have tended to go with the brunette contestants down through the years. The Rose of Tralee is not a beauty contest and the contestants are meant to be judged on personality and their ability to represent the country abroad, but it’s funny that no-one looking like GI Jane has won to date.
Now, all of the statistics that I ever come up with should come with a slight caveat, but this one in particular should come with an even bigger lump of caveat. Sadly, as a lot of the photographs from the history of the competition are in black or white, I’ve had to give an educated guess as to the hue of certain winners’ do’s. Gingers may get a raw deal from that system, but that’s a lesson for life for them really. In short, brunettes win it most of the time, blondes get the odd win and redheads are left trailling.
It won’t surprise too many people that very few ladies to have won the Rose Of Tralee opted for the ‘porn-star chic’ look. Generally it’s the wholesome, ‘girl next door’ look that prevails, although the ‘cheeky glint in the eye’ look is something that’s been on the rise lately. For the first 40 odd years of the competition, it was won almost exclusively by women whose look said less ‘Miss Universe’ and more ‘miss Sunday mass and you’ll spend all eternity in hell cleaning out the Devil’s wheelie bins’. There have been a couple of Roses who’ve had an altogether more ‘temptress’ look to them, but equally that could have more to do with a very opportune photograph and the overactive Inbetweeners-style imagination of the Paddy Power Journalists Office. A certain sexiness has crept in to the contestants in more recent times, but that’s probably just following contemporary trends. Chastity belts and monogamous relationships were popular once you know.
If you think the Jack Charlton teams of the 80s and 90s exploited the Irish Granny Rule, then you haven’t seen anything yet. The idea of nationality is abstract and open to debate, but ‘I had Irish stew once and I liked it’ seems to be enough for a lot of the contestants to claim their place on the show. Yes, in one sense having a long since deceased ancestor means you’re entitled to claim membership of the mammoth Irish diaspora spread far and wide across the globe, but in another you couldn’t be more American if you reduced an impoverished nation to rubble. That’s doing a disservice to the vast, vast majority of the people in the competition who at the very least have a parent or grandparent who would know what we’re talking about when we say ‘No Biddy! Watch out for that tractor!’
Roses from Ireland win the competition slightly less than half of the time, but you’d expect that given the number of entrants we put forward every year. In other situations we’d call it the ‘crap at the wall’ approach, but we won’t in this case and the success rate is pretty much normal for having the overwhelming bulk of the candidates. Below is a look at the various regions of Ireland that the winning Irish Roses have represented. The major population centres fare well suggesting that, despite the claims of the Sunday World on a weekly basis, life in Ireland’s cities isn’t all gangland killings and teenage pregnancies. Outside of that, there’s a pretty good geographical spread – except for the midlands – their record is terrible. Don’t be worrying about the peat bogs lads, concentrate on the standards of young lassies you’re churning out.
Internationally, it’s also very much as you’d expect with the high number of representatives from the US of A and England yielding their fair share of success. The Aussies haven’t done as well as they’d like, but maybe their inability to produce wholesome maidens fit to represent Erin on the global stage has something to do with the fact they can trace their ancestry back to a section of the Irish public so unhappy with operating within the confines of the law, several British monarch decided the other side of the world was the best place for them. Continental Europe is another area that has enjoyed a relatively minute amount of success in the Land Of The Aquadome. It’s hard to know exactly why the Europeans have done so badly in the competition, especially since they account for approximately 99% of all Aran jumper sales.
So, based on that wealth of information, the Rose of Tralee winner 2011 will look like a wholesome girl next door (possibly with a glint in her eye), have dark hair and speak with an alternating English and American accent. We’ll be on the look out for a hybrid of Sile Seoige and Madonna.
Who do you fancy … for the Rose of Tralee?
Comments and your own statistics welcome in the comments section.
– Rose Of Tralee Odds