The Carlow Rose touched many viewers with her openness about becoming pregnant at 21 and her parents’ struggle with their heroin addiction.
Ten years after the Rose of Tralee was opened up to single mothers, Shauna Ray Lacey’s three-year-old daughter Emmy was in the Dome to cheer on her mammy.
The Rose said the news of her pregnancy led to her own mother giving up heroin, an addiction which had already claimed her father’s life. Both of her parents struggled with addiction when she was growing up.
“The moment I told her I was pregnant with Emmy she said ‘I wasn’t in your life but I will be in Emmy’s life’,” Shauna said.
Shauna sang Aslan’s ‘Crazy World’, which she dedicated to her late dad.
“My dad sang it to me when I was a little girl and I suppose because [although] he’s not here today, he did give me my musical abilities so I’m going to be singing that for ye tonight. It’s very special to me.”
— RTE One (@RTEOne) August 20, 2018
Shauna also chatted about her charity work, where she helps recovering addicts.
“A lot of people in Ireland follow the same paths as their parents but I’m here,” she told host Dáithí Ó’Sé.
Viewers described Shauna as an inspiration.
Seeing Shauna up there talking about being a young mother and having her life touched by addiction, she is an absolute credit to have as the Carlow Rose. This is modern Ireland and I think she is the kind of rose needed in this competition to modernise it! #Roseoftralee
— Ciara Byrne (@CiaraByrne7) August 20, 2018
Carlow Rose for the win! Finally, a Rose that connects with Modern Ireland & not the saccharine Ireland conjured by the competition. To get on that stage & talk about heroin (which has blighted the lives of many in Ireland) is a real gift #RoseOfTralee
— Declan Kavanagh (@DrDeclanK) August 20, 2018
“Every second home in Ireland is suffering from an addiction”, that’s a stark stat from the #Carlow Rose! What a seriously, honest & courageous girl talking about her family’s struggle with addiction. #RoseOfTralee @RoseofTralee_
— L. NíHéineacháin (@LaobhaoiseNihE) August 20, 2018
— neo (@YewtreeGirl) August 20, 2018
This years Carlow Rose is just one of the most fantastic representations of women in Ireland today.❤️ #RoseofTralee
— Aoife Kearns (@kearns_aoife) August 20, 2018
The Carlow rose is honestly amazing, what an inspiration #RoseofTralee
— Siún (@siun_b) August 20, 2018
Carlow Rose is a breath of fresh air and such a wonderful representation of modern Irish women. A hard-working mom who spoke in such a measured way about her family’s addictions…#firstmammyrose for the win! #RoseofTralee
— Julie Jay (@jooleyjay) August 20, 2018
The Carlow rose is the one I want to most have a pint with which really should be the criteria for winning roses. #RoseofTralee
— Brianna Parkins (@parkinsbrea) August 20, 2018
#RoseofTralee Loved the Carlow Rose what a brave and inspirational young woman and nice to see stereotypes being broken down as she’s not a typical rose she has shown so much courage in the face of her families issues and come out the other side would love her to win it.
— Aisling Prendergast (@Aislingp93) August 20, 2018