Rose escorts put through paces in Corca Dhuibhne
EXPECT the attractions of West Kerry to feature strongly during this year's Rose of Tralee selection broadcasts thanks to the Rose Escorts 'bootcamp' in these parts.
Being fit for purpose is a key part of being a Rose of Tralee Escort and as a consequence a slew of strapping young men descended on Corca Dhuibhne to take part in the specially tailored boot-camp.
The boot-camp – which was devised by Susan Ní Churnáin of Údarás na Gaeltachta and Ann Curran of Hidden Ireland Tours – certainly put this year's Rose Escorts through their paces as they engaged in a jam-packed weekend of activities on May 10 and May 11.
The weekend kicked off in Annascaul where the group partook in a sausage making workshop hosted by Thomas and Eileen Ashe of Annascaul Black Pudding. Mixing history and culture with cookery, the group were given an account of Antarctic explorer Tom Crean's exploits followed by a Ciorcal Comhrá as Gaeilge hosted by Bernie Pháid Ní Mhuircheartaigh of 'Corca Dhuibhne ag Caint'. The group then hopped on their bikes for a cycling stage which set off from the South Pole Inn and was co-ordinated by Brian Galvin.
Arriving in Dingle they headed for the Dingle Distillery where the task set out involved cleaning out one of the large mash ton barrels under the guidance of Micheál Breathnach.
A surfing lesson with Finn McCool's Surf School, hosted by Ben Farr and a tough work out at Ventry beach under the guidance of WK Fitness gurus Mark Evans and Shane Finn followed.
Following a quick swim, the escorts headed to Páidí Ó Sé's for lunch before heading to Play at Height in Baillinaboula where they spent some time, quite literally, climbing the walls!
After paying a visit to Ó Catháin Iasc Teo, the Escorts arrived at Dingle Oceanworld to see the sharks and penguins.
On Saturday night they camped out before going on the Siúlóid na Cille walk in Dún Chaoin the following day where they also visited the school-house used during the filming of Ryan's Daughter. Pottery making in Potadóireacht na Caolóige and golf at Ceann Sibeál followed before the Escorts rounded off a busy weekend with a visit to see Fungie the Dolphin in Dingle Harbour, provided by Jimmy Flannery and Tom Sheehy.
"The Escorts thoroughly enjoyed the activities and the welcome they received on The Dingle Peninsula and vowed to return again," said Susan Ní Chúrnáin of Údarás na Gaeltachta.
"A huge míle buíochas to everyone who contributed and made the event the success it was."