Newly crowned Rose Of Tralee Kirsten Mate Maher has been subjected to racist abuse just days after her win.
The 21-year-old was enjoying a night out with friends last weekend when the incident took place.
Kirsten was in a chip shop in Kilkenny when she and was faced with racist comments by two males.
Gardaí in Kilkenny have said that they are aware of the alleged incident and that they are investigating.
The Waterford native is mixed race, with her dad Kwala originally hailing from Zambia.
A spokesperson for the Rose of Tralee festival said: “Regrettably, Kirsten has been subjected to racial abuse from people in the past and it is something that she and many others in Ireland have to deal with on a regular basis.”
Kirsten confirmed to KCLR radio that the incident had occurred and added that she embraces diversity.
“Ireland has changed so much and it’s so much more accepting. We’re all mixed and we’re all from different parts of the world. I know it’s a little bit more obvious with myself – I’ve curly hair and darker skin.”
She added: “But at the end of the day we need to see past that and realise there is no typical Irish woman.
“We’re all different and we all come in all shapes and sizes and skin colours and hair and freckles or no freckles. We’re such a diverse community, and we need to embrace that.”