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Lads are ‘shear’ class in making the cut to be a Rose of Tralee Escort

32 lads from 16 counties are ‘shear’ class in making the cut to be a Rose of Tralee Escort this August

SHEEP shearing and turf cutting are among the new skills that are necessary for 32 young men who have made the grade to be Rose Escorts at the Rose of Tralee International Festival from 14-18 August.

Gardaí, Hydrotherapists, Postmen, Teachers and Accountants were among the group who made it through the rigours of the Rose of Tralee Boot Camp for Escorts last weekend.

The Rose of Tralee International Festival’s Communications Manager, John Drummey, said: “The Rose Escorts spent 48 hours in picturesque Kenmare, County Kerry where they learned to shear sheep, cut turf, build a dry stone wall, peel spuds and make poitín. It was not because the ladies love Milk Tray but because the lads prefer Roses. Nearly 200 men aged between 21 and 30 applied to become Escorts at this year’s Rose of Tralee International Festival and following a detailed interview process, the final 32 were selected to take part in a Boot Camp weekend in Kenmare to help them prepare for a busy week in Tralee.”

The lads had to carry out a range tasks including cycling, horse-riding, abseiling, kayaking, ironing and sewing in order to prove they will have the stamina to be a Rose Escort.

This year’s Rose Escorts enjoyed Boot Camp activities, supported by Kerry County Council, Bonane Community Development Council, Kenmare Marketing Action Group and Kerry Civil Defence. Some of the activities were staged on Molly Gallivan’s Farm while Beara Outdoor Adventure coordinated the abseiling and kayaking events. Accommodation was sponsored by the luxurious Kenmare Bay Hotel.

Oonagh Doyle of Newbridge Silverware, lead sponsor of the Rose of Tralee International Festival, said: “We are delighted to extend our lead sponsorship of the Rose of Tralee International Festival to the Escort of the Year. It is a natural fit for our brand since we continue to be associated with a host of Irish ambassadors. Indeed, our Gents Style Collection is a favourite amongst our male consumer. We wish each individual Escort a most enjoyable and memorable Festival experience.”

On Monday night 17th August, one of the 32 Escorts will be announced as the Newbridge Silverware Escort of the Year for 2015 and he will walk away with a wonderful prize including a silver-plated cutlery canteen personalised with his family crest and a cheque for €1,000.

The 2014 Escort of the Year, Conor Walsh from Cappamore, Co Limerick, said: “Having been selected as the Escort of the Year was nothing short of a great honour. The opportunity to represent a fantastic group and to accompany our Rose of Tralee, Maria Walsh, at numerous events has been a brilliant experience. I've travelled to Belarus and countless reunions while also working closely with a fantastic Rose of Tralee Team who couldn't have done any more for me. I’ve made memories and friendships that will be cherished forever.”

The 2015 Rose of Tralee International Festival will take place in Tralee from 14-18 August when a full line-up of free and affordable entertainment is planned including concerts featuring Nathan Carter, Hometown, Sharon Shannon, Damien Dempsey, Riptide Movement, Hudson Taylor, televised selections presented by Dáithí Ó Sé, Fashion Show, three parades, two fireworks displays and an Air Show.

23 Roses are Tralee-bound

THE names of the 23 Roses who will travel to Tralee for the 2015 Rose of Tralee International Festival were announced last night at the end of the last ever Regional Festival in Co Laois.

There were are a couple of firsts for some regions - Elysha Brennan (22) from Bettystown, Co Meath became the first ever Meath Rose to make it through to Tralee and Shannon Kelahan-Pierson (21), the first ever Southern Carolina Rose, will also travel to Tralee in August.

56 Roses from the USA, Canada, Ireland, Britain, Germany, Luxembourg and the Middle East were treated to a four-day festival in County Laois complete with Civic Reception, Classic Car Parade, Music & Street Market Festival and the Laois County Fleadh.

RTÉ Rose of Tralee Selection Host, Dáithí Ó Sé, said: “The Roses who have been chosen to progress to the televised selection in Tralee will be amazed by the sheer scale of the pageantry and excitement of the Festival in the Kingdom. The Rose of Tralee is a major focal point in Irish communities all over the world that draws people together. The Rose of Tralee is the single biggest thread that ties the whole Irish Diaspora together and that’s one of the reasons why the Rose of Tralee is one of the biggest festivals in the world. The event in Tralee is the culmination of a lengthy process to find the next Rose of Tralee.”

The Chief Executive of Laois County Council, Gerry Murphy, said: “It was an honour to once again host, albeit for the final time, such a prestigious event on the Irish Festivals calendar. The fun and excitement that the Roses experienced would not have been possible without the support of our local sponsors.”

The 23 Roses who have qualified for the televised selection will be joined by the Kerry, Dublin and Cork Roses as well as six Roses from Australia and New Zealand in the Dome next August.

This year’s Rose of Tralee International Festival will run from Friday 14 to Tuesday 18 August and will feature an exciting programme of entertainment for all the family.

The line-up will feature Hometown, StereoKicks, Nathan Carter, The Riptide Movement, Hudson Taylor, Sharon Shannon and the Kilfenora Céilí Band as well as the Rose of Tralee Fashion Show, Rose Ball and Televised Selection nights.

Tickets to Dome events will go on sale from on Monday 8th June, while tickets for the Street Carnival entertainment are already on sale via the website.

For more information about the Rose of Tralee International Festival, visit or follow the event on Facebook and Twitter.

Full list of Roses on Facebook:


EXTRA TV show part of bigger, better, longer Festival

EXTRA TV show part of bigger, better, longer Rose of Tralee International Festival from 2016

SEVEN days, 70 Roses, an extra night’s TV coverage on RTÉ One can only mean that the Rose of Tralee International Festival is getting bigger and from 2016 onwards it will be bigger, better and longer than ever.

More Roses, more Rose Escorts, more Rose Buds, more entertainment, more family fun and more visitors can only mean that Tralee will enjoy a major boost to the local economy beyond the €12 million that the Festival already delivers.

The Executive Chairman of the Rose of Tralee International Festival, Anthony O’Gara, said: “This is a positive development, not only for the town of Tralee but also for the Kingdom of Kerry as a whole. The people of Tralee and our Rose Centre organisers have been longing to bring all of our Roses to Tralee in August and from 2016, that dream will be realised. It’s a major, yet necessary, undertaking that will see us double our outlay in order to deliver a major windfall locally. I am confident that this bigger, better festival will have the support of the people and business community in Tralee. We expect the longer event with more participants from all over the world to attract more visitors to enjoy a week-long celebration in Tralee.”

Full details of the format for the 2016 Rose of Tralee Selection, extended Festival and extra night’s TV coverage will be announced during the summer.

From 2016 onwards, the 70 Roses selected at regional events throughout the world will travel to and enjoy one massive Festival in Tralee in August and experience much more of what Kerry has to offer.

This year, however, will mark the end of the current qualifying process which has been in place for 11 years, eight of which were in Laois.

Since 2004 the number of Rose Centres has grown to 70, therefore necessitating a qualifying event at the end of May to find the 32 Roses who would appear on the televised selection in August.

Laois will again host this year’s Regional Festival from 28th to 31st May when RTÉ presenter Dáithí Ó Sé will meet 56 Roses from all over the world with 23 Roses qualifying for the 2015 televised selection in Tralee.

The Executive Chair of the Rose of Tralee International Festival, Anthony O’Gara, said: “We are grateful to Laois County Council, Portlaoise Heritage Hotel and the people of Laois who have opened their towns to welcome the Roses, their friends, supporters and families of the Rose of Tralee for nearly a decade.”

The extension to the duration of the Rose of Tralee Festival has come a week after plans were announced to build a permanent entertainment & conference centre on the site adjacent to Fels Point Hotel, home to the Festival since 2007.

Such a development, in partnership with Kerry County Council, will provide a major boost to the local economy in Tralee and Kerry.

More information about the 2015 Rose of Tralee International and Regional Festivals are available from