Mairead misses out – but local lad is top escort in Tralee!

Rose of Tralee escort of the year, John Slowey

Rose of Tralee escort of the year, John Slowey

ENNISKILLEN man John Slowey has done his county proud as he was crowned the Rose of Tralee Escort of the Year 2016. 
John’s efforts and commitment to his role as escort saw him announced as the winner of the Escort of the year competition beating the 64 other escorts. Daithi O Se announced the result live on RTE One television on Monday night in the Festival Dome and presented him with a cheque for €1,000.
“It was a huge shock when I was announced as the Escort of the Year. We had sort of heard that it was going to be down to the three of us, but when I was announced it was a total shock. To be honest, it could have been any of the escorts, so I just hope I can go on and be a good ambassador for the Rose of Tralee and do them all proud.”
The Enniskillen native who works as a pharmacist, was sponsored by Grogans Pharmacy and local Fermanagh bar Blakes of the Hollow. John was joined in Tralee by another Fermanagh man Mark McGovern and the Fermanagh Rose Mairead McHugh. 
Each of this year’s Rose Escorts accompanied two Roses over the course of the week-long Festival and John was at the side of Arizona Rose, Ciara Archer for the first three days of the Festival before escorting Sydney Rose, Brianna Parkins.
“It has been a fantastic experience, meeting all of the roses and everyone gets on really well. We have all had a great experience at the festival and we have made lifelong friends. Before we were announced, myself and one of the other nominated escorts were sitting beside each other throughout the show and we were very nervous. Once we got up on stage I was grand, there was no point being nervous as I got to the festival by being myself,” said John. 
Unfortunately, the Fermanagh Rose did not get through to the live stages of the festival after being eliminated from the process on Sunday night. The process in which the Roses were eliminated has came under scrutiny with many people complaining about the harshness of the process. But John reckons Kinawley girl Mairead McHugh can be very proud of how she represented Fermanagh as the county’s selected Rose. 
“I was talking to Mairead and she was in great spirits. This year the Roses all got to come to Tralee to take part in the festival and experienced the Rose of Tralee Festival. When my sister was the Fermanagh Rose, she did not get the chance to come down to Tralee so the process this year has benefited everyone. The only difference is that the Roses who did not make it through do not get seven minutes on TV with Daithi O Se,” John added.
 Applications are now being accepted to become Rose Escorts in 2017 and full details are available from www.roseoftralee.

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