THE allegiances of many in West Clare will be tested when the lights go up in the Festival Dome in Tralee next month, as a New Zealand Rose with impeccable West Clare connections, goes up against this year’s Clare Rose, Joanne O’Gorman.
Indeed, it has emerged that this year’s Kiwi Rose, Liza Bazalo from Wellington, has Miltown Malbay blood coursing through her veins. While Bazalo is by no mean a common West Clare name, Liza’s mother’s side of the family are Taltys, a name very familiar in Miltown, Quilty and all indeed all over West Clare.
Liza’s grandparents, Michael and Colleen Talty, left Miltown Malbay in the 1958 and settled in New Zealand. Indeed, Michael’s brother, 93-year-old Senan Talty, still lives in Miltown, in the same house where the brothers grew up, while his sister, 88-year-old Mary, also lives in Miltown.
It is expected that Liza will visit her relations at the the family home in Carhuduff, on the Hand Road outside Miltown Malbay, where the Talty family have been living for more than 400 years.
The 24-year-old lawyer is very active in the Irish community in New Zealand and holds a number of awards for her Irish dancing.
“Three of my dancing teachers were national roses. They have all been role models for me,” she said.
“I enjoy expressing my heritage through Irish dance, and cherish the time I spend with my grandparents talking about home over cups of tea. My paternal grandfather was born in Croatia, and I consider myself lucky to live in New Zealand, which is a melting pot for many cultures.
“I studied law and land planning, and work as a lawyer at Buddle Findlay. I specialise in environmental and Maori law. A particularly rewarding aspect of my work is volunteering at a centre providing free advice to people in the community.”

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