2016 Rose of Tralee contestants get ready for competition

Dáithí Ó Sé returns for a seventh year running

2016 Rose of Tralee contestants get ready for competition

Daithi O Se (centre) introduces the hopeful Roses for 2016 Rose of Tralee International Festival at RTE studios in Dublin | Image: Rollingnews.ie

The official countdown to the 2016 Rose of Tralee International Festival has begun, as the 65 hopeful Roses have been revealed.

The festival gets underway Wednesday, with the semi-final and final of the Rose of Tralee competition airing Monday August 22nd and Tuesday August 23rd.

The festival celebrates 57 years this year - and the selections will be broadcast live from the festival dome in Kerry.

Dáithí Ó Sé returns as presenter for the seventh year running.

Rose of Tralee contestants pictured (left to right) Derry - Kara Foley, Down - Fainche McCormack, Armagh Meabh Lenehan, Tyrone - Genwvieve Scullion and Fermanagh - Mairead McHugh | Image: Rollingnews.ie

However, this year sees some changes to the festival.

For the first time ever, all 65 Roses who made it through the regional finals will travel to the festival dome in Tralee for the qualifying selections on August 17th and 18th.

Rose of Tralee contestants pictured (left to right) Dubai Rebecca Garnett, Luxembourg Sile Reidy, Abu Dhabi - Dearbhladh Walsh, Germany - Kari Foss and New Zealand Hannah Greally | Image: Rollingnews.ie

The 32 successful Roses will be announced on August 21st and will go on to appear in the televised selections.

They will represent centres in Ireland, Britain, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, mainland Europe and the Middle East.