Tralee streets to come alive for Rose festival

More than 80 hours of free and affordable entertainment for people of all ages are promised at this year’s Rose of Tralee International Festival, from August 15 to 19.

Again, the two-night Rose selection programme, to be presented by Dáithí Ó Sé, will be covered live by RTÉ1 television, with the successor to current Rose Haley O’Sullivan to be crowned in the Festival Dome on Tuesday, August 19.

The programme will also have a strong focus on street entertainment; among the highlights will be the Union J and Walking on Cars concerts, in Denny St on August 15 and 17.

Since it started in the late 1950s, the festival has prided itself on its colourful parades, with three to be staged this year. More than 700 people will take part in the parades and spectators will grab the best vantage points to see the marching bands, floats, costumed performers, the Roses, and a host of celebrities.

The skies over Tralee will light up with two spectacular fireworks displays and the annual Skyfest Air Display on Sunday, August 17.

From the dome to Denny St and along The Mall to The Square, the public will enjoy five daily schedules of entertainment, including Nathan Carter, Derek Ryan, Brendan Shine, and Birds Amusements.

Sponsors Newbridge Silverware will send the 32 Roses off on their Rose Tour of Ireland on Sunday August 10, and they will arrive in Tralee on Friday August 15 after visits to Limerick, Roscommon, Leitrim, Kildare, and Dublin.

The Newbridge Silverware Escort of the Year will be announced on television live from the Festival Dome during part one of the Rose selection.

Meanwhile, Tralee’s hotels, restaurants, and bars are preparing for the annual bonanza, and accommodation providers are already under pressure to meet demands for beds.


Happy couple

They sparked an internet meltdown last year as viewers cheered and cringed in equal measure — and now they’re coming back to share the story of what happened next.

Rose of Tralee organisers confirmed last year’s New Orleans Rose, Molly Molloy Gambel, and her husband, Kyle Catlett, will make an appearance at the 2014 instalment of the popular event, 12 months after getting engaged on live TV.

The couple — who married in May and were the first on-air proposal in the festival’s history — were involved in a heart-stopping moment when Kyle walked on stage and popped the question to his girlfriend of 18 months. What followed were 11 “no’s”, more than a few gasps, and — eventually — one “yes”, before an ad break left some viewers unclear as to whether they were set to walk down the aisle.

The day after, Molly was keen to stress she was happily engaged, saying: “When I said ‘no, no, no, no’, I did not mean no. Would I change anything? Probably saying ‘yes, yes, yes’ would have helped.”

— Fiachra Ó Cionnaith

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