Rose of Tralee escorts reveal farming backgrounds

Several of the escorts at this year’s Rose of Tralee have farming connections. Shane Murphy from Mayo said he loves all things outdoors, and enjoys nothing more than working on the family farm.

“My longterm plan in life is to some day buy my own farm, and start my own agricultural business,” he said.

A keen sportsperson, he has played gaelic football, soccer and pool. He represented Ireland in the World Pool Championships in Blackpool.

“I am an avid American and Irish country music fan, having often travelled the length and breadth of the country to go to a country dance. It is a dream of mine to someday visit Nashville, the home of country music.”

Stephen Murray from Galway, is a Technical Agricultural Officer with the Department of Agriculture. He owns a livestock pregnancy scanning and fertility testing business, and farms at home.

I am also currently studying a livestock auctioneering course, which I will finish in September.

“I love the outdoors and spend any of my free time cycling or out on the water, swimming and kayaking with a local club.

“I also enjoy country music and put a few years’ worth of jiving lessons to good use at the weekends, which is a great opportunity to meet new people.”

Benjamin Cottrell from Cork, is a supply chain graduate who works for the Kerry Group, at its Cork site. At UCD, he completed a Bachelor in Agricultural Science and a Masters in Food Business Strategy.

He played GAA with his local club Ballinhassig and UCD, and rugby with Bandon RFC. Due to injuries, he now plays ‘lighter’ sports, like golf, and is currently training for his first triathlon. Apart from sports, he enjoys farming, outdoors activities, and music.

Another Corkonian, Gavin Farmer, who works in marketing and advertising, is a farmer by name rather than nature. However, that didn’t stop him from becoming a member of Macra na Feirme.

“My passions are: running; being active and keeping fit; and volunteering for local clubs, charities and activities. My ambitions in life are to travel and experience different cultures as much as I can. I also hope to one day have my own events management business.”

Also from the southern capital, Paudie Lucey is a mental health nurse. “I come from a farming background, and value working on the family farm when I’m at home,” he said.

He has a fondness for sport or anything to do with the great outdoors. Playing tag rugby and Krav Maga are pastimes.

“You could find me anywhere or trying different things, for example doing a mud run or playing a game of chess. I have a great appreciation of music and a huge variety of taste, be it classical to heavy metal. I love travelling, experiencing new things, meeting people and listening to people’s stories.”

Joseph Meehan, a marketing executive from Tralee, cited farming as his passion. He plays hurling with Abbeydorney GAA Club, as well as indoor soccer. He enjoys going to concerts and travelling.

Laois man, Patrick O’Reilly, is a carpenter, who farms part-time alongside his father. A Gaelic footballer who plays with Crettyard GFC, his other interests are running and soccer. He also enjoys music; sing-songs; and travelling.

Cillian Phelan, a forest inventory technician from Kilkenny, is involved with: hurling; soccer; rugby; and MMA. A member of Kilkenny Macra na Feirme, he is keen to travel, with Canada top of his list.

Ger Stephenson, a project engineer from Waterford, spent his formative years working on the farm, and in the scouts, with which he became an All-Ireland champion. A cycling enthusiast, swimmer and runner, he likes playing the guitar. He described himself as a “bit of a tree hugger”, and is a vegan.