There’s always a Twitter wag who can cut to the quick of what a lot of us are thinking: Imagine a competition where men line up in their finery to be interviewed by Gráinne Seoige and to dance a jig while their dads weep in the audience and say how much they love their Irish granny. No? Too much to imagine?
Imagine instead a man in a bubble, or a girl in a ballgown deadlifting, or a Rose having a tattoo printed on the inside of her arm under the hot lights of Ireland’s most famous dome, or a dog demonstrating the merits of positive reinforcement before peeing on stage with the shock of performing to a global audience.
If this also seems too great a stretch of the imagination, rest assured it happened.
Laura Vines, Dublin Rose, currently working at Dublin Zoo with a herd of elephants, brought Penny the dog along to demonstrate behavioural training, while red-haired Arizona Rose Kayla Gray blew us all away when she trapped presenter Daithí O’Shea in a man-sized bubble during his 10th outing as festival compere.
He repaid her by organising a tattooist to grant a life-long wish backstage where Kayla finally got the body art she always wanted.
She had no fear of getting a tattoo, she said, having undergone experimental life-saving brain surgery earlier in life, while subsequently managing to acquire more Masters and PhDs than you could shake a stick at.
Several brushes with the health service were recounted by different Roses: Abu Dhabi Rose Karen Cashman, originally from East Cork, told of her delight when her sister, having contracted an infection, underwent a successful liver transplant first time around.
Cork featured strongly: Sydney Rose Rebecca Mazza told of going to Kanturk to meet a few cousins.
“I thought I was meeting about 10 people but there was an entire pub”, she said.
Of course no global event could go by without a mention of the American President, no stranger himself to beauty pageants and lovely girls.
Asked what she thought of her president, Washington Rose Molly Eastman replied, with predictable Rose diplomacy, that he was “reflective” of the way American politics and society are going.
As usual, Twitter was on fire, with one tweeter asking: “Where is the Mexican Rose??? Has she got through Trump’s wall yet???”
Another tweeter questioned whether there were any Irish Roses taking part: “I dunno if these Roses are Irish at all... Daithi has admired all their dresses and not one has said ‘thanks, Penneys’.”
Where the escorts got their matching outfits was a matter of no consequence even though they too were pitted against one another. There was an award for Best Escort last night, but winner Jamie Flannery from Dingle will not have to wear a crown and a sash. That honour is reserved for the winner of the Rose competition whose identify will be revealed tonight.
We had to wait ‘til 10.30pm for Cork Rose Stephanie McCarthy from Frankfield. The University College Cork graduate was born on St Patrick’s Day but shares the celebrations with a twin. Her Mum’s from Dubai and her dad’s a garda sergeant in Mayfield, although he aspires to be an escort according to his daughter. Last night he was presented with slippers, a First Aid kit, make-up and snack food to help him fulfil his ambition.
- The shenanigans continue this evening at 8pm on RTE 1 television.