Arklow man Jason to be Rose escort
An Arklow man has been selected as one of the 32 rose escorts for the Rose of Tralee International Festival 2019.
Jason O'Byrne from Arklow town said he is 'delighted' to have been chosen and 'looking forward to representing Wicklow' at the event in August.
The 30-year-old applied to take part earlier this year in the event. After an interview held last April, Jason was initially selected as one of the reserve rose escorts. He was invited to attend a bootcamp weekend which took place in Kerry in early June. The potential rose escorts faced a series of team-building exercises and endurance tests. These included a hike over Carrauntoohill, cliff diving, abseiling, cookery, swimming, surfing, ironing and sewing.
'Everything was so organised and it was great craic. The lads were all sitting round singing away or Irish dancing,' he said.
After the bootcamp, Jason said organisers gave him the good news. 'They said "we'd love to have you as an escort."'
A pharmaceutical scientist who works at Merck on the Vale Road, Jason is also a runner and a triathlete who took part in the recent Ironman held in Cork. He plays the tin whistle, bodhran, cajon and sings in a two-piece band called Addicted to Craic. The Arklow man also appeared as one of the singing butchers in a TV advert for Bradys Family Ham.
While the 60th Rose of Tralee International Festival officially kicks off on Friday, August 23, Jason will travel to the kingdom slightly earlier because he and some of the escorts have formed a band for the event.
'I'm delighted,' he said, thanking the local businesses who have sponsored him.