Things are looking rosy for Kirsten Mate Maher this morning, in light of her win last night.
The 21-year-old student and part-time model was crowned the 2018 Rose of Tralee.
Representing Waterford, Kirsten was a hot favourite to win the contest.
The morning after the night before - the new Rose of Tralee Kirsten Mate Maher. pic.twitter.com/FsYaQ35SG8— Ronan McGreevy (@RMcGreevy1301) August 22, 2018
The student is the third mixed-race woman to secure the title.
Before her, was 1998 winner Luzveminda O’Sullivan and Clare Kambamettu, who took the crown in 2010.
Since the humble beginnings of the show in 1959, Kirsten is the first African-Irish woman to win the competition.
The 21-year-old couldn't believe she had won as her parents joined her on stage, she confessed she was "speechless."
The Rose works in a boutique in Tramore, Co Waterford, but earlier this week she discovered that Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) was waiting for her.
Kirsten had been accepted to study Multimedia and Application Development at the university.
However, in light of her win, WIT might have to wait another year.
“I certainly did not think it would be me. I haven’t clicked any buttons yet. I might have to click on the defer button,” she explained.
“I haven’t thought this far ahead. I really haven’t. I don’t know what I am going to do yet. I’ll have to make a few plans.”
Kirsten parents met in Waterford when her father, Kwalo Mate, an army officer from Zambia, was training in the Curragh.
He bumped into his future wife while enjoying some down time in Waterford.
Despite her father returning to Zambia before her birth and not reuniting with Kirsten until she was almost two, the pair have a special bond.
“I still have the teddy bear he gave me,” she said.
The 21-year-old takes pride in her Zambian heritage but has expressed her desire for the press to not focus on the colour of her skin.
“It is something you touch off but you don’t dwell on too much. There is a lot more to me than the colour of my skin and my hair,” she said.
The student is planning to keep in touch with the culture and her Zambian relatives were even tuning into the Irish programme.
“My Dad was over in Zambia last month and he was filling them in what the Rose of Tralee is. I don’t know what they are going to think when they find out about this. They are probably all in bed now.
“I like to stay in touch with my Zambian culture. I can’t wait to go back there. It’s the first thing on the list this year.”
Congratulations to Kirsten! And well done to all the 57 roses.