Dónal O Callaghan to take part in International Rose of Tralee Festival
Former Chairperson and Club President Dónal O Callaghan is spreading his Macra wings as he takes part in the International Rose of Tralee festival as an Escort. The Rose of Tralee is celebrating it’s 59th birthday this year and it is a celebration of young women with Irish ancestry from around the globe. As an Escort, Dónal will have to put forward his finest foot to ensure his Rose has an enjoyable festival. Glanmire Macra’s Club Joint-PRO, Michael Buckley caught up with the Watergrasshill native to get some insight on his Rose of Tralee experience.
MB: So Dónal, thanks for your time. To begin why did you decide to take part in the Rose of Tralee?
DOC: I suppose it’s a massive festival and I had got a taste for being an escort from a few Macra personality competitions down over the years. So the idea was sparked by that and it was the International Rose Of Tralee Festival that stuck out for me the most. There is a fantastic prestige in being Rose Escort. So I said I would apply and see what way it went from there.
MB: Sounds good Dónal, what have you done so far to prepare for the Rose Festival?
DOC: I did an interview and a group interview back in April which was the start of everything. It went from there to Boot Camp in the wild wild West Kerry where 70 Rose Escorts were put through their paces. This was a great way to introduce all the Rose Escorts to each other and the Rose Escort Team. They took our phones off us on the Friday of the June Bank Holiday so we had no other choice but to get on with each other. We had an excellent time camping under the stars for the weekend doing various tasks and activities.. It was brilliant craic. Then I guess we waited for "the call". This is the call to see if I was one of the successful applicants and fortunately enough I got the nod.
There was an evening where a dozen Roses and Rose Escorts were invited to the Killarney Race s and I was in attendance at that which was a brilliant evening and I would like to thank the Rose Hotel and Killarney Races for inviting us down.
MB: You had a busy run in to the Rose Festival. What other preparations have you had to make?
DOC: Yeah kept going now. I guess I had to look the part which meant I needed to update the wardrobe. Under the watchful eye of my mother I went to the Suit Shop in Fermoy and Mick Murphy's in North Main St in Cork City who were brilliant in kitting me out for my week down in Tralee.
MB: The Rose Festival obviously involves a lot of commitment, as a full time farmer, how are you balancing the farm and your preparation for the Rose of Tralee?
DOC: It's busy alright. This drought has added work like feeding silage which wouldn’t be the norm this time of the year. But sure look it's just a case of finishing a little later in the evening and putting down the head and driving on .
MB: As the former Chairperson and President of Glanmire Macra na Feirme, how does the Rose of Tralee challenge compare to your past responsibilities?
DOC: Having held these positions in a booming club like Glanmire, it's been a great help to me for dealing with the responsibilities of being part of the Escort Team at the Rose of Tralee. You have to be a team player and have a common sense approach to the whole thing as well. I feel having held these positions greatly enhanced my chances of being chosen back last April through the selection process and no doubt will continue to serve me when I’m in Tralee.
MB: Great stuff Dónal, tell me what are you hoping to get from your experience as a Rose Escort?
DOC: Obviously the week of the festival 17th -21st of August will be an epic week. But really I think what I look forward to most is the friendships that will be forged from the week in Tralee with such fabulous people from the Roses , Rose Escorts and the Rose of Tralee management team . I’m looking forward to getting to know so many different people and hope to create memories that will last a life time. Also there will be a chance to travel also with these great people so that is always a great experience to come from anything you do in life.
MB: Going back to your connection with Macra na Feirme, are there any similarities between Macra and the Rose of Tralee?
DOC: I suppose if you stand back and really look at both organisations they have similarities. They both have a massive team behind the scenes to keep it alive and a lot of voluntary time given by great people who give their time. Also they celebrate young people of Irish descent. I know Macra is more national based and the Rose of Tralee has centres worldwide but they still celebrate young men and women. It’s great to be involved with two fantastic organisations!
MB: Well said Dónal, what would you say to anyone looking to take part in the Rose Festival and/or Macra in the future?
DOC: Take it on and give it your best shot. Take all the opportunities that come your way be it in Macra na Feirme or the Rose of Tralee. Don't hold back , you won’t regret it!
MB: Thanks Dónal for your time, any last thoughts you’d like to add?
DOC: Firstly I would like to thank my sponsors Cormac Tagging, Southern Milling, Goulding Fertilisers, Glanbia Agribusiness, Dan Ryan Hedge Cutting for their kindness in supporting me to get to the Rose of Tralee.
Also I would like to thank all my family and friends for their unbelievable support from the time I first said that I was interested in being an Escort to helping me with my work life balance when I take part in the Rose Festival.
Finally I would urge everybody as a family day out or a mini holiday to visit Tralee. The Rose of Tralee is happening between 17th and the 21st of August. It's a jam packed fun filled festival with heaps to do for all the family from street parades to fashion shows. Live bands to the crowning of the 2018 Rose of Tralee. See you there every body.
Best of luck to Dónal during the Rose of Tralee from all in Glanmire Macra na Feirme.
Reminder that our bowling league is open to everyone and takes place in the Leisureplex Monday at 9pm. You can find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/glanmiremacranafeirme/ or contact our secretary Gillian on 0877558026.