A hint of blossoming romance as Roses meet their escorts
THE identity of their escorts was only revealed yesterday but chances are it could be the start of a beautiful friendship for at least one of the 32 Roses and her escort.
Ireland's biggest international festival is also its most romantic and many a fine match was made in Tralee.
Just ask host Daithi O Se who met his fiancee Rita Talty at the 2009 pageant when she was the New Jersey Rose.
Former host Ryan Tubridy and 2005 winner Aoibhin Ni Shuilleabhain first met in Tralee and romance blossomed some time later.
But romances between the contestants and the escorts are nothing new either, says head of escorts Colm Croffy.
"I would say every three years there is a good, strong romance but the Rose may not click with her own escort and it might happen post-festival," he said.
And the romance is not just confined to the contestants and their escorts.
Reigning Rose Clare Kambamettu's brother Madhu met his girlfriend at last year's festival and ever since has been dating Virginia Costello, the head chaperone. Assistant chaperone Edel O'Connor, who represented Westmeath in 2006, is currently dating Odhran O'Mahony, who escorted last year's Tipperary Rose.
But the ultimate Rose/escort pairing was 1973 Rose of Tralee Veronica McCambridge who represented Belfast and ended up marrying her escort, Roland Blennerhasset.
All eyes will be on this year's batch in the hopes that another match will be made.
Tipperary Rose Noirin Ryan spooked festival organisers on Thursday night when she serenaded Tom Mcgillycuddy on the piano. Little did they realise they had actually been paired.
Over 900 guests attended last night's Rose Ball in the Dome which honoured the golden jubilee of Josie Ruane who was crowned Rose of Tralee 50 years ago in 1961.