2016 Rose of Tralee wants to visit "every county in Ireland"

The Chicago native has made her first return visit to Ireland

2016 Rose of Tralee wants to visit "every county in Ireland"

Maggie McEldowney representing Chicago is crowned the winner of the 2016 International Rose of Tralee | Image: Domnick Walsh © Eye Focus LTD

The 2016 Rose of Tralee has said she wants to visit every county in Ireland, and become the first Rose to visit every Rose Centre throughout North America.

Maggie McEldowney was speaking on her first return visit to Ireland since being crowned.

Arriving from Chicago on Thursday, Ms McEldowney announced her plans for the coming year.

"I aim to visit every county in Ireland, become the first Rose to visit every Rose Centre throughout North America (18) and in the summer, I'm hoping to head Down Under to Australia and New Zealand."

"My superiors at work have been great in being flexible with my work schedule to allow me travel and carry out my Rose duties."

Ms McEldowney was already busy during her five-day trip to Dublin - where she received a VIP tour of the Guinness Storehouse, attended a pre-Christmas event, before being presented with her jewellery and homeware prizes from the festival's lead sponsor, Tipperary Crystal.

She also met the Mayor of Kildare, Councillor Ivan Keatley, and the acting chief executive of Kildare County Council, Joe Boland, in Naas.

She also appeared on 'The Ray D’Arcy Show' on RTÉ to promote the Marie Keating Foundation’s latest fundraising initiative.

A round of press interviews, a photoshoot for VIP Magazine, a guest appearance on TV3’s 'Seven O’Clock Show' and reconnecting with her fellow Roses at the 'Friends of A Ball' capped-off her weekend.

She also managed to squeeze in a short drive to Derry to visit family relations.

She will next travel to Kolkata, India with The HOPE Foundation in November - before returning to Ireland for the New Year to launch the search for the 2017 Rose of Tralee in January.