Farmers and ‘Rebels’ dominate 2018 ‘Rose’ escort squad

Farmers and ‘Rebels’ from Co. Cork are set to dominate the make-up of this year’s highly-sought after Rose of Tralee escort contingent.

A total of 10 farmers have already been selected to be escorts – with another one on the reserve list.

In addition, a total of 11 men from Co. Cork have also been chosen to escort the lucky ‘Roses’ at this year’s international festival – taking place between August 17 and August 21.

The 10 dashing full-time and part-time farmers that made it through include:
  • Nicholas Corcoran, 24, from Co. Offaly;
  • Andrew Corrigan, 26, from Co. Carlow;
  • Shane Foran, 24, from Co. Waterford;
  • Donal O’Callaghan, 27, from Co. Cork;
  • Kieran Dunphy, 24, from Co. Waterford;
  • Colm Parke, 24, from Co. Sligo;
  • John Somers, 25, from Co. Wexford – who combines farming and teaching;
  • Paul Clabby, 25, from Co. Roscommon – who is an enterprise development officer and farmer;
  • Aidan McCabe, 28, from Co. Wexford – who is a research and development engineer and farmer;
  • And Tim O’Shea, 26, from Co. Cork – who is a Bord Bia auditor and farmer.

Boot camp

Last weekend, the annual ‘Rose of Tralee Escort Boot Camp’ took place along the Wild Atlantic Way in Co. Kerry – with AgriLand’s very own Conor Finnerty playing a vital role in ensuring that the best men were left standing for the iconic upcoming event.

The arduous process of elimination resulted in 58 men being shortlisted to accompany the ‘Roses’ in Tralee.

The lads – who already came through a tough interview process at the Glen Royal Hotel in Maynooth in April – had to pass a series of endurance tests, and team-building exercises, before they could graduate as fully-fledged ‘Rose’ escorts.

As for the winning list, Co. Cork has succeeded with the highest level of representation – followed closely by counties Kerry, Dublin and Limerick.

One young gentleman will also travel all the way from Washington DC to be a part of the festivities in Tralee.

Apart from farmers, a wide-range of other professions are featured among the winning profiles of this year’s 58 escorts – with two doctors, five teachers, a nurse, a distiller and forester among the fray.

‘Demanding’

The Rose of Tralee International Festival’s communications manager, John Drummey, said: “The ‘Rose’ escorts spent three days in Kerry where they undertook a number of gruelling, yet fun, tasks to prepare them for the festival in August.

The boot camp weekend in the Kingdom is a team-building exercise, that is also designed to help them cope with the demands of a busy week in Tralee.

“We are particularly grateful to our friends in Kerry County Council for putting together such a packed programme of activities that took place throughout the magnificent kingdom of Kerry.”

The lads, all aged 21 to 30, had to carry out a range activities including: a hike over Mount Brandon – Ireland’s second highest mountain; cliff diving; water-skiing; cookery; swimming; kayaking; surfing; ironing and sewing in order to prove that they will have the stamina to be a ‘Rose’ escort.

This year’s boot camp activities were supported by Kerry County Council and Kerry Civil Defence – under the watchful eyes of Civil Defence Officer Tom Brosnan and Kerry Fire Service.

Over the course of the weekend, the escorts also experienced the visitor facilities in Castlegregory, Ballyheigue, Banna Strand, Dingle, Kerry Head and Tralee.

Looking ahead to the year’s Rose of Tralee International Festival, one of the 58 lucky lads will also be selected as the ‘Escort of the Year’ live on RTE One on Monday, August 20.

The 2018 festival will also see a star-studded line-up of entertainment on the streets of Tralee with The High Kings, Jake Carter, Sean and Conor Price, Hermitage Green, Oasis Tribute Band, Neil Diamond Tribute Act and Rolling Stones Tribute Band all scheduled to perform.