Every August the eyes of the Irish people turn to Tralee, Co Kerry, where a bevvy of beauties battle it out in a beauty pageant that isn’t a beauty pageant: The Rose of Tralee.
If you’re not familiar with the competition, it’s basically every pageant you’ve ever come across minus the whole World Peace waffle. Consider it a nation’s incredibly guilty pleasure.
The girls in the gúnas may be the focus of everyone’s attention but it’s the boys by their sides who are the unsung stars of the show.
Year after year, a selection of the nation’s finest young gentlemen throw themselves under the Dome in the hopes of helping the lovely girls to have the best time in Tralee. It’s no walk in the park either, with the boys being put through their paces in the selection process and Escort Boot camp long before the competition begins.
Braving the elements might seem like a simple task come August though, because when the girlos touch down in Tralee things get serious.
While you and yours are busy placing back room bets on the selection of ladies gracing the pages of your RTÉ Guides, these boys are working hard to make sure the girls are having the time of their life at events like the infamous Rose Ball.
The Escorts are, in fact, such a grand bunch of lads that the first night of the competition is partially devoted to honouring their marvellous contribution to the festivities.
Never mind that Newbridge Silver tiara/crown (which is eternally destined to wobble worryingly atop the head of whichever lovely girl it so happens to grace in a given year), the real prize in this competition is that fabulous canteen of engraved cutlery that the Escort of The Year gets to take home to mammy.
Sorted lads. Sorted.
It’s safe to say the competition just would not be the same without these brave specimens of Irish manhood so, as the pale moon starts rising above that green mountain, raise a glass (containing a mineral) to those escorts, the Bros of Tralee.
And host with the most Dáithí Ó’Sé, obviously.
The Rose of Tralee airs on RTÉ One tonight (Monday August 18th) and tomorrow night (Tuesday August 19th) from 8pm.
You can also watch the competition and a special behind the scenes show (Live from The Red Room) world-wide on RTÉ Player.