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Queen of the Green in D.C. for St. Paddy's

Aoife Kelly, the 2008 International Rose of Tralee, at an Irish Embassy reception at the St. Regis Tuesday. (Amy Argetsinger/The Washington Post)Enlarge Image

All the Irish faces you'd expect turned out for the Irish Embassy's super-packed Saint Patrick's Day reception at the St. Regis -- Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Reps. Elton Gallegly (Calif.) and Peter King (N.Y.), and the just-named U.S. ambassador to Ireland, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney.

But only one wore a sash: Aoife Kelly, the reigning Rose of Tralee. Which is sort of like Miss Ireland, except open to young women of Irish descent from around the world -- but, no, not like that at all, the Tipperary occupational therapist told us.

"They look at your education, values and beliefs, and your capacity for community service, and your communication skills." Also: No swimsuit competition. But: She is very, very, very pretty.

Kelly spent her first time in D.C. promoting Irish tourism and industry. Wasn't she missing important Saint Paddy's business back home? Not so much: "In Ireland we're all Irish, more or less."

By The Reliable Source  |  March 18, 2009; 1:02 AM ET
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Great coverage of the International Rose of Tralee Festival! The Irish-American community in DC sends a Washington, DC Rose of Tralee to participate in the International Rose of Tralee Festival in Ireland every August. Women of Irish descent, ages 18-27, are eligible. For more information interested parties should visit:

Posted by: WashingtonDCRose | March 18, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

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