FALCARRAGH’S Cillian Gallagher has an exciting few days ahead of him as he heads to Kerry to take up the role of escort at this year’s Rose of Tralee festival.
The 27-year-old is eager to find out which Rose he is paired with for the festivities which returns after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Speaking to the Donegal News Cillian said he can’t wait to meet all 33 of the International Roses as well as the other escorts.
“I can’t wait until I get to Tralee. The festival brings people together from different parts of the world to celebrate this festival and you gain friends for life out of it. I am really looking forward to that aspect of it,” he said.
“I’m also excited to see which Rose I will be paired up with. We will be spending a lot of time together as we go from event to event throughout the week. I’m really looking forward to getting involved in all of the parades. Thousands of people fill the streets and the atmosphere is meant to be electric.”
When he’s not taking part in international festivals Cillian can be seen on the pitch playing for Cloughaneely GAA and Glenea United.
He graduated from Maynooth University with a B.Sc. General Science Degree in 2017 and from NUI Galway with a M.Sc. Cancer Research Degree in 2018.
He then spent two and a half years working as a Technical Support Scientist for Abbott Diagnostics in County Longford before moving to his current position as a Quality Engineer for Medtronic in Galway City.
It was Cillian’s three younger sisters, who are massive fans of the festival, that encouraged him to apply to become an escort after seeing an advertisement.
“I didn’t have the confidence initially but my sisters have taken part in events such as the ‘August Fair Queen’ (Dunfanaghy), and the ‘An Cailin Gaelach’ (Comortas Peile na Gaeltachta), and they have had amazing experiences from them so that gave me the encouragement,” said Cillian.
“The Rose of Tralee International Festival is prestigious and I wanted to experience it first-hand for myself. To fulfil the role of a Rose Escort really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“My three sisters would have the Rose of Tralee on every year at home so it’s something I’ve always tuned in for and watched alongside them.”
The festival runs from Friday to Tuesday and by the sounds of things Cillian will have his work cut out for him.
“The role of a Rose Escort is ultimately to be there for your Rose and their family. You chaperone your Rose for the week and you have to be polite, courteous, and support your Rose in whatever way you can, even if it’s just carrying their handbag,” said Cillian.
“The Rose Escort is there to be a positive influence and a touchpoint of information for the Rose’s family about when events are on. The Roses have a very busy schedule throughout the festival as they attend various events and interviews so you are there as a support system for your Rose to ensure they are relaxed, confident, and enjoying every moment of the festival.”
This year Rathmullan’s Katie McAteer will represent county after being crowned Donegal Rose in June.
She has been on the road with two weeks of touring and events with her fellow roses before they descend on the Kingdom.
Earlier this week the Roses met the Lord Mayor of Dublin at Mansion House and visited counties Wexford, Kildare and Leitrim.