Friday 28 October 2016

Grassroots diary: Cows keeping Rose calm before the Tralee storm

Claire Mc Cormack

Published 03/08/2016 | 02:30

Monaghan Rose Pamela Allen on the family farm in Drumacruttin.
Monaghan Rose Pamela Allen on the family farm in Drumacruttin.

Rose of Tralee contestant, Pamela Allen, is preparing to teach Dáithí Ó Sé the ropes of cattle showing when she takes to the stage at this year's festival.

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The Monaghan rose, who works as a nurse in Tallaght Hospital in Dublin, has been spending "as much time as possible" on her family's dairy farm in Drumacruttin, Dunraymond, in the run up to the festivities.

The 23-year-old says being with the cows is keeping her calm.

"In the morning time before I'd go to any Rose events, I would go out and milk the cows, because it gives you time to just focus on your day because it can be stressful leading up to it," she said.

"The cows are so relaxed. They just come in they are nearly like your friends, you can just switch the radio on, start milking and just chill out with them," she said.

The former Trinity College graduate says she plans to tell charismatic host, Dáithí Ó Sé, all about her farming roots at the Rose of Tralee International Festival now celebrating its 57th year.

"I can't wait to chat to him about farming because it's something I've always been very passionate about. I will obviously be showing Dáithí on stage how to show cattle in the ring, it'll be an education for him," she laughed.

"My brother is a sheep farmer and my uncle is a big Massey Ferguson contractor so going to shows and going away on exciting trips with my father was massive part of my upbringing," she said.

Pamela, who is a member of the local Holstein Friesian YMA, says going to the local marts with her father after a week of working nights has also been therapeutic.

"It's a great way to meet people, all the other roses know how much I love it. When I moved up to Dublin first I found it really hard to get used to all the noise and the traffic because I'm so used to the peace and silence on the farm at home. The girls would be laughing at me when I'd tell them the cows were calving at the weekend but then I brought them to visit and they really enjoyed it," she said.

However, Pamela's biggest farm fear is spotting rats and mice in the loft before doing the milking. "I could be there for 10 or 15 minutes screaming my head off," she said.

The night before heading off to the Kingdom with the Roses, Pamela says she will have to say a special goodbye to the cows, particularly her show calves. "I'm excited and nervous. I won't be sleeping much in the run up to it but it will be an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity and I hope I do my friends, family and the cows proud," she said.

Trump scarecrow

Donald Trump’s scaremongering days are far from numbered as the republican US presidential candidate has been immortalised into a scarecrow in Durrow, Co Laois.

Complete with uncannily familiar golden straw used for his hair, the billionaire businessman has been a huge source of inspiration for makers entering this year’s festival, celebrating it’s 7th anniversary.

More than 100 hilarious scarecrows, including “The Enormous Turnip,” “The Runaway Bride,” “Pirates of the Carrot Peeing” “Gareth Bale” and a “Giant Giraffe” were on display for the national week long festival that ended yesterday.

Evelyn Clancy, committee member, said entrants spent months“cleverly designing” the perfect scarecrow. “We had a massive dinosaur, Noah’s Arc, a life-sized giraffe and lots of Donald Trump effigies,” she said, adding “there wasn’t a crow left in the village”.

“The standard is getting higher and higher every year, people are going to great lengths and getting very creative. There was a huge buzz all around the area. Crowds of around 19,000 came from all over the country. It was a huge effort by everyone involved and we’re already looking forward to next year,” she said.

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