The Rose of Tralee got off to a dramatic start when the 32 contestants vying to win the international pageant held in Kerry managed to drop the show’s host, Daithi O’Se.

The 56th International Rose of Tralee selection will be broadcast live from the Festival Dome from 8pm on Monday and Tuesday (Aug 17 & 18) on RTÉ, Ireland’s national broadcaster. The host who returns to our screens for the sixth year running, will interview the 32 hopefuls over the two nights.

The launch of the festival officially took place at RTE’s HQ in Dublin. Among the 32 roses there are ten from  Ireland, nine from the US, six from Australia, two from Britain and one each from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Germany, New Zealand and Canada.

The winner will take over from Ireland’s most high-profile Rose, Maria Walsh, last year’s winner, from Philadelphia.

Rose of Tralee chief executive Anthony O’Gara told the Irish Times that she is a “force of life. We have never come across anybody like her. Maria was a person who never stopped.

“She would start at 6am in the morning and keep going. She flew over for one day events in Ireland. She was in Dublin Airport lounge 56 times and she held down a job for eight months in Philadelphia.”

Walsh was also the first gay Rose of Tralee, coincidentally during the year in that marriage equality passed in Ireland.

He added “From our point of view she was a godsend because she shattered all the nonsense as talked about in relation to the Rose of Tralee.”

The Rose of Tralee takes place on Monday and Tuesday of next week. It will be available internationally on RTE Player International.