ROSE DUTY: Ciaran O’Donnell from Aghadoe (far right) with fellow Rose of Tralee Escorts Shane Walsh from Kilkenny and Conor Howlin from Wexford. Photo: Domnick Walsh
By Sean Moriarty
Killarney man Ciarán O’Donnell is one of 32 young men who made the final 32 Escorts chosen to tend to the needs of Roses at this year’s Rose of Tralee International Festival, from August 23-27.
40 men took park in the popular, yet testing, Boot Camp along the Wild Atlantic Way in Kerry last weekend, after which the final 32 were shortlisted.
The Agahdoe man was inspired to enter the competition after watching last year’s Rose of Tralee on television and being coxed into it by family and friends.
“Like everyone, I grew up watching it on television and my friends and family always said I would be good at it,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “I was watching last year’s final and applied there and then as it’s the 60thanniversary and it was something I just wanted to be involved in.”
The Escorts, who already came through an interview process in April, had to pass several endurance tests and team-building exercises before they could graduate as fully-fledged Rose Escorts.
“It was an action packed weekend. The highlight for me was climbing Carrauntoohil, despite being a Killarney man and being active, I was glad of the support of the lads for that task,” he added.
“At the start of the weekend, I would have been anxious to meet so many new people but I am so glad I did. Thanks so much to my employer and sponsor Zenith Technologies Limited, Cork Company of the Year 2019, for all their help and support so far.”
Two other Kerry men Jamie Flannery from Dingle and Chris Kelly from Tralee also made the final cut.