The “Dome” in Tralee is the traditional name given to the location of the main venue that hosts the International Rose of Tralee Festival and in particular the location from which the annual television broadcast on RTE Television occurs.

When the Rose of Tralee Festival first started, it was held within the Ashe Memorial Hall on Denny Street in Tralee. From 1974 the venue type used was indeed a circular “Dome” structure that was essentially a “Circus Big Top” construction. However in August 1983, a few days after the festival concluded, it was blown down the infamous hurricane Charlie.

Interior of Rose of Tralee Festival “Dome”.

The festival then began to use more traditional marquee type structures and one of the primary locations chosen for it was the car parks (Both front and back) of the Brandon Hotel in Tralee town centre.

High winds played havoc again in 1997, this time forcing the second night of the festival to be postponed for 24 hours after the marquee structure sustained some structural damage.

In the mid 2000’s, after the festival moved all it’s major event operations to the Fels Point Hotel, just outside the town (now called The Rose Hotel, and previously called Carlton Hotel Tralee), the use of a temporary marquee structure was retained and since then, the primary location of the “Dome” has being in the adjacent car park.

As of 2015, plans have being announced by the festival to build a permanent dome at the same location with current estimated completion dates of around 2018-2020. Initial design plans have also being released for the planned event building.

Aside from the period 1974-1983, the festival venue has not consisted of an actual “dome” or circular type structure, however the term is synonymous in popular culture as regards the main festival venue and it looks likely that the whole “dome” concept will form the central design thrust for the new permanent home of the Rose of Tralee if/when it is built in the years ahead.

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