Rose of Tralee: Business as usual — apart from the stage invader and fireball experiment

Cork Rose Denise Collins creates a fireball onstage as Rose of Tralee host Dáithí Ó Sé watches on.

The show may come with a caution going forward after some viewers found elements of the Rose of Tralee disturbing — from a stage invader who forced an ad break to parents unsettled at the possibilities offered by mixing water, washing-up liquid, and butane gas.

Up to the appearance of Lisa Reilly, the Cavan Rose, it had been more or less business as usual under the Dome — apart from Cork Rose Denise Collins demonstrating on live TV how darn easy it is to create the kind of fireball most children thought was only possible at Hogwarts.

However, shortly before 10pm, in what could have been a scene from Father Ted’s Lovely Girls competition, a man dressed as a priest ran on stage shouting “Fathers for Justice” and unfurled a banner that read “In the name of the Father”.

Members of the Twitterati pointed out that the man had got past an entire orchestra of gardaí to make it on stage.

The man responsible for the security breach is believed to be a member of fathers’ rights organisation Fathers4Justice.

Despite the Candid Camera vibe of the stunt, or maybe because of it, the Cavan Rose remained composed as the man was first bundled off, and then, when he fell, dragged off stage by two men in suits.

Cue ad break. And Twitter implosion with tweets such as “Father Jack has escaped again”, “That’s what happens when Pro10 handle the tickets”, and “See what happens when you take the poems away!”

Shortly after the festival disruption, Fathers4Justice tweeted: “Fathers4Justice just stormed #RoseofTralee.”

Some would say it was the most exciting part of the night.

Earlier, Louth Rose Megan Ferguson, 19, who professed to difficulties understanding her own accent, did her bit for the pioneer movement and in doing so, captured beautifully the feeling many of us hold in our hearts for the Rose Festival.

“If the Rose of Tralee hasn’t driven me to drink, nothing will,” she declared.

First out of the traps on the night was New Orleans Rose Shannon Marie Burke, a speech pathologist with a grá for a soft day and the Irish people, because sure we’re all very similar to what you’d find down Shannon’s way (the craic and all that).

Longford Rose Caroline Doyle giving the thumbs on her make upahead of night one yesterday.
Longford Rose Caroline Doyle giving the thumbs on her make up ahead of night one yesterday.

For the most part though, it was business as usual on night one of the festival.

The second half of the 57th International Rose Festival airs at 8pm tonight where viewership figures are likely to go stratospheric on foot of the hijinks last night.

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