2012 Northern Ohio Rose of Tralee

Ashley Speaker, 2012 Northern Ohio Rose of TraleeGreetings from Ohio, Crowley Clan! My name is Ashley Speaker. I am a 24-year-old substitute teacher, and the third great granddaughter of Denis Crowley, who migrated from Beara, County Cork, Ireland to the United States in 1870. In April, I was honored with the title of 2012 Northern Ohio Rose of Tralee, enabling me to represent Northern Ohio in the International Rose of Tralee Festival Regional Finals. This festival has been in existence for more than 50 years and is celebrated in several countries around the world. The honor has proven to be a life changing experience gaining new friends all over the world, working with charities, and becoming more connected with my Irish heritage.

I travelled to Portlaoise, Ireland to compete in the Regional Finals. There I met 53 amazing, accomplished, educated and ambitious women of Irish descent, who traveled to Ireland from all over the world. While there, I visited local government buildings, civic sites, areas of historical significance, a hospital, mentoring young girls (rosebuds), a vintage car parade, and a pub twinning. During our time there, we were judged, but it didn't feel that way, because the camaraderie among the girls took the pressure off, leaving me with a sense of only something to gain. On the last night, 23 women were chosen to move on to the International Festival in Tralee during August.

Although I was not chosen, the support of my family, friends, and the Ohio Center kept my spirits up and I know that my year as the 2012 Northern Ohio Rose will be full and rewarding. Already, I have travelled to Ellis Island in New York City for a Tourism Ireland event, where I met the managers of the Festival and members of local government, and received an invitation from the Mayo Society of Cleveland Annual Charity Ball this fall to welcome the Prime Minister of Ireland. I've been twice featured on Quinn's Irish Radio in Cleveland. I have taken Cystic Fibrosis as my charity for the year. I met inspirational families at the Cleveland Metro Parks Zoo in May 2012 for their annual fundraiser, and I look forward to continuing to support them and their mission. I continue to volunteer at my local church as a deaconess and youth coordinator, to play guitar, read, and spend time with my four year old nephew. I am so honored to represent the Northern Ohio Irish and the Crowley Clan. Please join me during this exciting year on Facebook and on our website, northernohiorose.com."

The Crowley Clan Newsletter is
compiled by Marian Crowley Chamberlain