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'I'm basically the Rose Mum - I have 32 daughters for the week'


Rose of Tralee Rose chaperone Judy Costelloe

Rose of Tralee Rose chaperone Judy Costelloe

Rose of Tralee Rose chaperone Judy Costelloe

Hers is one of the most difficult jobs at the Rose of Tralee International Festival but for head chaperone Judy Costelloe, it's a labour of love.

Judy has played 'mammy' to hundreds of Roses since she joined the team in 2008. Two years before that her daughter Laura represented Kerry at the festival and her son Robbie is a former Escort of the Year.

Dealing with wardrobe malfunctions, getting girls into and out of dresses, up in the morning and back into bed at night are all part of the chaperone's role.

"I'm like any Irish mammy in that I make sure they have a good breakfast in the morning," Judy says.

"It's quite a responsible job and very demanding but it's also extremely enjoyable and uplifting. Basically, I'm the Rose Mum and it's like having 32 daughters for the week."

Judy heads up a team that also includes Edel O'Connor, the 2006 Meath Rose. Their brief is simple: make sure the girls have the most enjoyable week of their lives with memories to last a lifetime.

Like any Irish mammy, Judy is also prepared to mark their cards if they overstep the line, but she says: "They're very good and co-operative and generally, they're so tired by the end of the day they're looking forward to a good sleep."

Duties might also include offering comfort and support when someone hits a wall emotionally - it's all in a day's work for a Rose Mum.

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