Story Behind the Rose of Tralee

One of our newest Learning Center ideas, the Rose of Tralee, has a lot of meaning behind it. This choker-style necklace and earring set was inspired by an elegant bridal piece, though it turned into becoming much more than a simple St. Patrick’s Day jewelry design.

This necklace had its humble beginnings in the Artbeads Learning Center craft room, drawn out as a dramatic necklace laced with antique copper components and Emerald Swarovski crystals. Designer Teri found her inspiration from a bridal fashion article which depicted a tight, layered choker with creamy white pearls and sparkling clear crystals. She imagined turning this into an old-world beauty, reminiscent of castles and princesses, and with the need for a St. Patrick’s Day idea she found her inspiration.

Once the elaborate piece was created, it was time for a name. What to call the Celtic beauty presented a challenge—until some research uncovered a classic Irish song and a popular Irish festival, both called “The Rose of Tralee.” The Rose of Tralee is a large festival in Ireland—second only to St. Patrick’s Day—and includes a beauty pageant with women from every county in Ireland, as well as women of Irish descent from around the world, competing for the title. This 52-year-old tradition takes place in Tralee, a county in Ireland. The song for which it’s named after tells the story of a man who falls for the beautiful Irish Mary, whom he lovingly calls the Rose of Tralee. It’s believed that the song is inspired by William Pembroke Mulchinock, a wealthy Protestant, out of love for Mary O’Connor, a poor Catholic maid in service to his parents. This discovery reflected the essence of this necklace perfectly, and it only seemed fitting to match the lovely design with a pair of earrings.

Photo Source:

“The moon through the valley her pale rays was shedding when I won the heart of the Rose of Tralee”. Here is a bronze sculpture depicting the real Rose of Tralee that sits in Tralee Town Park, in Ireland.

It was important to us to be able to display this design on a person, to really show how graceful and elegant the necklace looked against skin. It was a wonderful honor to wear this necklace for the website. Being of Irish descent, I am thankful to have become a part of this idea. I hope the story for this necklace doesn’t end here. I hope you will find new inspiration from it, and create your own jewelry design that captures what beauty means to you.


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  1. Reply

    Oh, what a beautiful story – and the necklace is a perfect match to both the story and the sculpture, I can see Mary O’Connor wearing it! Thanks for sharing – really beautiful…

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