The Rose of Tralee is usually immune to every passing fad, but this year it has decided to make an exception.
Host Dáithí Ó Sé had a bucket of iced water poured over his head at the end of a humid night in the Dome where the first 16 Roses made their appearance.
The ice bucket challenge is a charity craze which has swept the world and has helped to both highlight and raise funds to combat the dreaded terminal illness Motor Neurone Disease.
Challenge over and having managed to avoid electrocution, Ó Sé nominated previous hosts of the competitions, Ryan Tubridy, Ray D'Arcy and Marty Whelan, for the same experience.
Everything went smoothly in the Dome last night.
The first Scotland Rose Michelle Kelly sang Caledonia, the Sydney Rose Imelda Finnegan performed the Melbourne Shuffle, the Dublin Rose Róisín Lyons proved her prowess as a professional dancer and the Manchester Rose Mairéad Hussey showed why she was a previous All-Ireland tin whistle champion.
There was no “Daisy the cow” moment like there was two years when a cow that was due to appear on stage got a bad attack of stage fright, proving the old showbiz maxim that you should never work with animals or children.
There were no surprises either to match the blockbuster last year when the boyfriend of the New Orleans Rose Molly Molloy Gambel (24) proposed to her live on stage.
She and her beau Kyle Catlett (23) got married on May 24th in an open-air church on the shores of Mobile Bay in Alabama.
Still in the first flush of marital bliss, the all-American couple have made a popular return to Tralee.
Ms Gambel-Catlett said she had declined 11 times before saying Yes due to nerves. “It was overwhelming. I was being proposed to when I thought I was just coming on stage to do an interview,” she said.
Mr Catlett said their wedding day was the happiest day of his life.
“I was fine until I was standing on the altar. I got butterflies and I knew this was the moment I was waiting for since she said yes. I had a few tears going,” he recalled.
The couple's wedding will now be the subject of an RTÉ documentary, The Proposal, which will be broadcast on September 24th.
Rose Miriam Smyth
(24), a UCD medical student is now the favourite to be this year’s Rose of Tralee. Philadelphia Rose Maria Walsh and the
Kerry Rose Mary Hickey
are also featuring in the betting.
“I have been trying to tell the girls from the very beginning that they shouldn’t try to figure it out, there is no way to figure it out,” said the outgoing Rose of Tralee Haley O’Sullivan, from Dallas.
She put down her own victory to being a representative of the “modern Irish woman”.