Rose of Tralee festival celebrates its 50th anniversary
Not just a beauty contest
With such impressive contestants, the Rose of Tralee is clearly not a beauty contest, and it’s about a whole lot more than competition.
In an Ireland that has changed so much in recent years and in a country whose population has spread to countries all over the world, the Rose of Tralee asks important questions: What does it mean to be Irish? Who are we today? Who were our ancestors yesterday? And who do we want to be in the world of tomorrow?
The annual famous festival is about bringing people “home,” exploring what it means to be Irish in the modern world, and more specifically, redefining the contemporary Irish woman as a strong, intelligent, sincere, confident force to be reckoned with.
The Rose of Tralee is a tribute to Irish heritage, and the Roses who hail from outside Ireland regard the festival as a celebration of their links with the country of their ancestors. Irish people from all over the world come together in Tralee to celebrate the bonds and relationships that link them to each other.
But the festival is not all about serious philosophical questions – it is also very much about fun.
Each of the Roses gets to live the life of a princess for a week. They wear beautiful clothes. A hairstylist and make-up artist are on hand at all times to make them look stunning. Crowds queue to ask for autographs. They have a handsome male chaperon to look after them. And finally, they get to appear on TV.
The importance of being a good escort
One of the most important jobs during the Festival is to find an Irish escort capable of accompanying each Rose on her hectic schedule. Not only will the escort be accompanying at the competition and the Rose Ball, he will also provide a strong shoulder to lean on at the many functions and events that the Roses will attend during the busy week. .
Every year, festival organizers comb the country to find the best exponents of Irish manhood and escort coordinator Colm Croffy explains exactly what is need to be a Rose of Tralee escort.
“To be a good escort, you need to wear a creaseless tux like you were born into it, but to be a great Escort you need to have the Bond swagger, the diplomatic touch – and critically at this event, an understanding of the timeless tradition that has stood the Rose of Tralee festival,” said Croffy
“We are hosting 50 Roses from all over the world and each will require an escort who will be ever present to guide the ladies to and from the many engagements that will take place over the five days of the Festival,” he added.
Ray is the Roses’ man
One of the most like radio personalities and broadcasters in Ireland, Ray D’Arcy will have his tux dry cleaned and ready to interview 32 Roses over the two nights of TV interview
D’Arcy, who shot to fame with puppets Zig and Zag on RTE in his early years, Ray has an easy Irish charm and good nature that has settled the nerve of many a Rose contestant over the years. Now the host of a morning radio show on Today fm, Ray’s continued involvement in the festival lends a friendly authoritative and cool presence on stage in the heat of competition.