The Rose of Tralee is based on the love song ‘The Rose of Tralee’ by William Mulchinock. 

The story behind the famous song is that of a 19th century wealthy merchant who fell in love with Mary O’ Connor his maid. Mary who was born in Tralee worked as a nanny. William describes in the song how it was love at first sight but because of the difference in social class between the two families their love affair was discouraged. William emigrated and years later returned to Tralee only to discover Mary had died of tuberculosis. He was broken hearted and expressed his love for her in the now famous song ‘The Rose of Tralee’.