Hoping to make a splash in Tralee: Six Limerick men have been selected from hundreds, and made it through to boot camp in Kerry in preparion of being Rose Escorts Picture: Domnick Walsh / Eye Focus
SIX young Limerick men who proved themselves to be “perfect gentlemen” have been selected to be among the 64 Rose Escorts at this year’s Rose of Tralee.
Running from August 16, those chosen to be on hand to cater to a Rose’s every whim are Paul Fitzgerald, 23, from Pallaskenry; Gerard Horan, 26, from Adare; Brian O'Doherty, 25, from Newcastle West; Briain Og O'Sullivan, 25, from Patrickswell and Seamus Richardson, 28, from Ahane, and Patrick O’Donnell from Galbally.
Paddy Healy, a 23-year-old who works for a HR firm in Limerick, is the only Clare man travelling to the Dome as an escort this year.
After passing the interview process in April, they were put through their paces over the Bank Holiday weekend at the annual boot camp in Kerry.
They had to pass a number of endurance tests and team-building exercises before they could graduate as fully-fledged Rose escorts.
Around 200 men aged between 21 and 30 applied to become Rose escorts at this year’s Rose of Tralee International Festival and the final 64, the most ever, were selected to take part in a boot camp weekend to help them cope with the demands of a busy week in Tralee.
“They undertook a number of gruelling, yet fun, tasks to prepare them for the festival in August. It was not because the ladies love Milk Tray but because the lads prefer Roses,” joked the festival’s communications manager, John Drummey.
This year’s Limerick Rose is Kayleigh Maher, from Kilcornan, a 23-year-old NUIG student. She is currently in her final year of a Masters of Education to become a secondary school English teacher.
She succeeds last year’s Limerick Rose, Marie Hennessy and has secured her place in the famous Dome in Tralee, alongside 64 national and international Roses.
Limerick has won the Rose of Tralee crown twice in its 58-year history - in 1984 and 1994 - with Dianne Hannagen and Muirne Hurley taking home the titles.
Clare Rose Aoife Murray, from Sixmilebridge, will celebrate her 25th birthday during the week of the festival. She is a graduate of economics and sociology from the University of Limerick.