Rose of Tralee: Heroic escort gets the heart pumping
TEXAS Rose Danielle Ybarra feels in safe hands -- the financial analyst has landed an escort who's a good man to have around in a crisis.
When Danielle (25) heard that Paddy Hogan had saved someone's life, she was hoping he'd be her escort at the Rose of Tralee international festival
Paddy -- who works as a manager at the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel -- had to put his skills to the test one night when an elderly guest suffered a heart attack.
The Laois native used a defibrillator to revive the man, who had technically died.
He administered three shocks to the man's chest, which brought him back to life, and he's still around today thanks to Paddy's efforts.
"Paddy is a hero and when I heard he had saved someone's life, I said it would be great to get him," Danielle told the Irish Independent.
"He really is the perfect escort for me, and because he'd know what to do in a high-stress situation I feel very relaxed and comfortable with him and I really do feel that I have the best escort."
Paddy was one of 30 men who learnt yesterday what it was like to walk a mile in a woman's shoes -- literally.
The pain was etched on the men's faces as they crossed the finishing line in high heels.
While the sight of grown men tottering around in six-inch heels delighted onlookers, it also had a very serious message.
They took on the challenge to raise funds for the Kerry Rape and Sexual Assault Centre.
"It's called 'Walk a Mile in Her Shoes' and the idea originated in America as a way of involving more men in the whole area of (campaigning against) sexual violence," said centre director Vera O'Leary.
The Roses also enjoyed a flutter at Tralee's greyhound track yesterday.
It was one of the more fun items on their schedule ahead of last night's fashion show.
Today they begin rehearsals for their appearance on stage with Daithi O Se, and Philadelphia Rose Beth Keeley is delighted to be first on.
"The adrenaline just gets to you, and rather than stand backstage waiting, I get to go up there and set the ball rolling," Beth said.
Queensland Rose Tara Talbot, at odds of just five-to-two, is Paddy Power's favourite to be crowned the 53rd Rose of Tralee.
The 27-year-old's father hails from Dublin and her mother is from the Philippines.
The bookies' homegrown favourite to win the contest is Wexford Rose Mary Kehoe, with odds of six-to-one. It's the first time Wexford has ever been represented in Tralee.
"I'm incredibly flattered, but if it adds another element to it for the people of Wexford, that's great," she said.