Twenty-five year old Cathal Twaddle, a native of Trillick-a-Curry, will represent Longford on the international stage later this month, as one of the 32 Escorts at the Rose of Tralee International Festival.
“I started off with the Longford Rose in 2012, my cousin nominated me as an Escort,” explains Cathal.
At that stage, however, it was too late for Cathal to apply for the Festival, and he admits it was then that he put the task on his ‘bucket list’.
Two years on, Cathal took part in the Longford Rose selection night once again, but this time, his application for the Tralee event had already been submitted.
Having accompanied Audrey English in this year’s competition, Cathal laughs, “I’m Tralee ready according to Audrey”.
Admitting that the whole process was like applying for a job, Cathal explains that he first had to fill in an application form, before going through an interview process, during which his sponsors, Spirit, helped him to make an impression, with special attention paid to his suit for the occasion.
Out of almost 200 entrants, Cathal was one of a select group chosen to take part in the bootcamp in Dingle last May, which whittled entrants down to the 32 Escorts.
Now, Cathal is preparing for the Rose of Tralee International Festival, a journey which starts for him on Wednesday, August 13.
After assembly and practice, Cathal will join his fellow Escorts in waltzing lessons!
On Thursday, August 14, the Escorts will meet this year’s Roses in Limerick. On Friday, August 15, the Roses will arrive in Kerry, and each Escort will be assigned to a Rose.
Excited to be taking part in the annual event, Cathal says that his experience at the Longford Rose selection night has helped him greatly.
“I reckon that the Longford Rose is one of the best nights of the year in Longford. Grainne [Fox] and James [Duignan] do an amazing job,” Cathal states, adding that taking part in the local event has given him an insight into the role of Escort.
“It’s just keeping someone company at a time that is quite stressful,” he adds.
When asked if he has any tricks up his sleeve to impress his Rose, Cathal simply laughs, “I’ll ask my sisters and ring around the phone book!”
A fourth class teacher at Sacred Heart NS, Granard, Cathal credits Marett Smith, Francis Gray and the whole school community for their assistance throughout his application process, particularly with their help in raising the necessary sponsorship.
Adding his sincere thanks to sponsors, Spirit, Cathal concludes that the whole experience to this point has been ‘unbelievable’.
“If it stopped now and I never made it down there, I’d still have memories to last a lifetime!” he told the Leader.