Aidan and John picked as Rose of Tralee Escorts
Two Wexford men - Aidan McCabe from Adamstown and John Somers from Kilmuckridge - have been selected as Rose Escorts for the 2018 International Rose of Tralee Festival in August. Aidan (28) and John (25) made the cut following a Rose Escort Boot Camp which was held along the Wild Atlantic Way in Kerry.
The Wexford pair had already come through an interview process at the Glen Royal Hotel in Maynooth, County Kildare.
At the Boot Camp, they were required to pass a number of endurance tests and take part in team-building exercises before they could graduate as fully-fledged Rose Escorts.
The men spent three days in Kerry, undertaking tough physical tasks to prepare them for the forthcoming festival and to help them cope with the demands of a hectic social week in Tralee, according to the Rose of Tralee festival's communications manager John Drummey.
All the participants aged from 21 to 30, engaged in a range of outdoor activities including a hike over Ireland's second highest mountain, Mount Brandon, cliff diving, water-skiing, cookery, swimming, kayaking, surfing and even ironing and sewing in order to prove they will have the stamina and skills to be a Rose Escort.
During the course of the weekend, the Rose Escorts enjoyed visits to attractions in Castlegregory, Ballyheigue, , Dingle, Kerry Head and Tralee including the Offshore Surf School in Banna, Dingle Cookery School, Dingle Ocean World, the Aqua Dome in Tralee, Tralee Wetlands and Blennerville Windmill.
There are 10 farmers among this year's Escorts with a wide range of other professions also represented, including two doctors, five teachers, a nurse, a distiller and a forester. Aidan is an engineer and John is a teacher and farmer. The Escorts can look forward to a 'life-changing trip' to Kerry's capital, according to John Drummey, and one of them will be selected as the Rose Escort of the Year live on RTE 1 on Monday, August 20.
The 2018 Rose of Tralee Festival will take place from Friday, August 17 to Tuesday, August 21 but the Rose Escorts will have to be in place to welcome the Roses to Kerry from all over the world on Wednesday, August 15.
The Boot Camp activities were supported by Kerry County Council, Kerry Civil Defence and Kerry Fire Service.