Two Donegal men have made the grade after being selected to spend a week as Rose Escorts at the Rose of Tralee International Festival from 15-19 August.

Patrick Bonner from Manorcunningham and Martin Mulrennan from Letterkenny were among the group of 32 Irish lads who made it through the rigours of the Rose of Tralee Boot Camp for Escorts.

The Rose of Tralee International Festival’s Communications Manager, John Drummey, said: “The Rose Escorts spent 48 hours in West Kerry making black pudding in Annascaul, cleaning the vat in Dingle Distillery and swimming with the sharks at Dingle Oceanworld not because the ladies love Milk Tray but because the lads prefer Roses. Nearly 200 men aged between 21 and 30 applied to become Escorts at this year’s Rose of Tralee International Festival and following a detailed interview process, the final 32 were selected to take part in a Boot Camp weekend in west Kerry to help them prepare for a busy week in Tralee.”

This year’s Boot Camp activities, supported by Kerry County Council and Údarás na Gaelteachta, were staged in Dingle where the lads had to surf, cycle, carry tyres, fly kites, play tag rugby and build sand castles in order to prove they will have the stamina to be a Rose Escort.

On Monday night, August 18, one of the 32 Escorts will be announced as the Newbridge Silverware Escort of the Year for 2014 and he will walk away with a wonderful prize valued at €5,000.

The 2014 Rose of Tralee International Festival will take place in Tralee from 15-19 August when a full line-up of free and affordable entertainment is planned including concerts featuring Union J, Nathan Carter, Derek Ryan, televised selections presented by Dáithí Ó Sé, Fashion Show starring Don O’Neill, three parades, two fireworks displays and Air Show.

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