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'Being an escort is no holiday, in fact it's gonna cost price of a good one'

Being an escort at the Rose of Tralee is a once in a lifetime opportunity for young Irish lads and it's a pricey experience for them with the price tag coming in at the cost of a small holiday.

Richard Cooper and Michael Murray are flying the flag for Dublin among this year's escorts.

Richard is 21 and going into his final year studying Agricultural Science at UCD and told the Herald he was delighted to be chosen but that it has cost him the price of a holiday.

"It's always been a great tradition at home where we would all have watched the Rose of Tralee at the end of the summer and I've always wanted to be an escort.

"It does cost a fair bit of money but I was lucky to get a good few sponsors and it's worth it to be involved in such a wonderful festival.

"Being an escort and being involved in the festival has been an unforgettable experience, it's something I've always wanted to do," he added.

Michael (26), who's from the Navan Road, agrees saying: "It does cost a bit to be an escort but I have great sponsors and it's almost like being a kid again with family members slipping you a few quid throughout the festival."

Of course the main part of their job is looking after their Rose which the guys are taking in their stride.

"My pockets are bulging with an emergency kit of gel pads for their feet, safety pins and plasters, I don't know what they need half of it for but my mam says they're all necessary."

Michael agrees, telling the Herald: "My jacket pocket has everything the girls could need, they're on their feet all day so they need plasters and heel grips.

"It's all part of the role."

The boys insist that there won't be any funny business with the roses as they're nothing but the utmost professionals, with Richard saying: "I'm single but I'm here to do a job which is to look after the roses and make sure they have a brilliant time."

UNMARRIED

To become an escort, you must be over 21, be unmarried, be born in Ireland or of Irish origin by virtue of one of your ancestors having been born in Ireland and you must be available for all events associated with the festival.

The Rose of Tralee Festival will conclude with then final tonight.

hnews@herald.ie

By Elaine McCahill


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