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Inside the 2024 Rose Escort Bootcamp 

This year’s Benetti Menswear Rose Escorts spent a weekend in Kerry where they undertook a number of physical and mental challenges to prepare them for the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee, Co Kerry, this August.

Corkmen topped the list of Rose Escorts for this year’s Festival with six making the shortlist of 32 chosen after a gruelling Rose Escort Bootcamp in Co Kerry, while teaching is the most popular profession among the group.

The men, who already came through an interview process in May that saw hundreds apply for a chance to be part of this year’s Festival in Tralee, had to conquer a number of team-building exercises and endurance challenges before they could graduate as official Benetti Menswear Rose Escorts. This year’s Bootcamp was again supported by Kerry County Council who helped put together a packed programme of activities throughout the Kingdom of Kerry.

To prove they have the necessary stamina to take on the Festival and a week with the Roses, the lads had to carry out a range of activities under the watchful eye of Sean O’Connor of Beachfit Games, featuring fence climbs, sledgehammers, tyre flips and more before a cool-off session in Banna Strand. Rose Escorts need to be prepared for any Rose emergency and were tested by Kerry Fire and Rescue Service with fireman lessons to be sure they can take the heat this August!

But it’s not all gruelling challenges, as Rose Escorts are expected to look dapper in a tuxedo at the drop of a hat, ironing skills were put to the test at the Meadowlands Hotel in Tralee (and we’re delighted to tell their mammies they passed with flying colours!) The Meadowlands, the ‘Home of the Roses’ during Festival week, served up true Irish hospitality as they hosted the budding Rose Escorts during the Bootcamp weekend.

Next up The Ready Hub gave the men a wellness and teambuilding session to remember with an energy-lifting session, walking on glass and the ‘arrow break’ (an ancient Fijian ritual where the point of a wooden archery arrow is placed between your throat and solid surface before being snapped.

While the Rebel County has the highest representation with six Rose Escorts, it is followed by Kerry and Dublin and Armagh with three each while one young gentleman will travel all the way from Chicago to be a part of the fun in Tralee in August.

Along several teachers in the camp, a wide range of professions feature among the profiles of this year’s Rose Escorts including a postman, a pilot, an aircraft engineer, a wedding DJ and youth justice worker.

2023 Benetti Menswear Rose Escort of the Year Tommy Cunningham, who hails from Rathangan, Co. Kildare and is a teacher in Kildare Town Educate Together National School, said: “It’s great to see this year’s Rose Escorts dive in to the Bootcamp tasks to prepare them for the Festival in August.

“The Bootcamp weekend in the Kingdom is a great team-building exercise that helps the lads to get to know each other first and help them cope with the demands of any Rose! It’s exciting to think that in just two months one of them will be the next Benetti Menswear Rose Escort of the year.”

Reflecting on his year as Rose Escort of the Year, he said: “My one piece of advice to any escort is to enjoy it all! These are the best years of our lives. Grab the opportunity with all you’ve got, and I promise you’ll make memories and stories that will last a lifetime.”

“Being the Rose Escort of the Year can mean many different things to different people. For me, it has changed my life for the better. It has given me opportunities beyond my wildest dreams, given me friends that I can lean on and cherish for a lifetime, and above all, has  undoubtedly shaped the man I am today.”

“I will be forever grateful for what this truly special festival, and the people that make it, has given to me and my family.”

The chosen men, aged between 21 to 30, will accompany the Roses in Tralee at this year’s Rose of Tralee International Festival from August 16th to 20th.

Benetti Menswear this year return as proud partners and sponsors of the 2024 Rose Escorts. This year’s Benetti Menswear Rose Escort of the Year will be announced live on stage on Monday 19th August in front of a packed Dome with hosts Daithí O’Sé and Kathryn Thomas. 

Tickets for the live televised nights go on sale at on Monday, June 17th at 10am

Fáilte Ireland is a proud supporter of the Rose of Tralee International Festival:

“Fáilte Ireland is pleased to support this year’s Rose of Tralee International Festival. Festivals and events present an excellent opportunity to showcase the rich heritage and unique culture that Ireland has to offer. They are also important drivers of tourism revenue across the country, particularly in areas that are outside of the traditional tourism hotspots. Developing unique and immersive visitor experiences like the Rose of Tralee International Festival play a key role in motivating both international and domestic visitors to choose a destination, while helping drive the sustainable development of the tourism sector for the county and the wider region.” – Ciara Sugrue, Head of Festivals & Events, Failte Ireland

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