Monday, September 25, 2023

Meet the final 2023 Bachelor competitors

With the Westmeath Bachelor Competition just around the corner (29 July), the six finalists hoping to claim the crown of Irelands most eligible bachelor have been revealed.

The organising committee said they are delighted with the range of talent and personality that will be on show from this year’s bachelors who hail from from Kerry, Dublin, Kilkenny and Westmeath.

The winner will have to overcome questions from star-judges Louis Walsh, Anne Doyle, Pippa O’Connor, and Brian Ormond while also performing a live talent piece on the Mullingar Arts Centre stage.

Returning to present the show will be Shane Barkey (Midlands 103 Radio Host), and Sarah Jane Foster (SJF Productions and RTÉ 2fm contributor). Last year’s winner, Kerryman Bryan Murphy, will also be returning to Mullingar to hand over the crown to this year’s champion.

The winner will receive prizes that include a holiday abroad, a trophy, the title of Westmeath Bachelor, and becoming the competition’s international and national ambassador.

Competition Director Shane Barkey said a decision was made this year to reduce the number of bachelors taking part this year down from 13 to six.

“We wanted to shorten the show, streamline it, it’s all about quality over quantity for us so we that’s why we’ve decided to make that tweak.

“It felt a bit rushed at times last year when we had 13, so now there will be much more time for the interviews and getting to know the bachelors on stage which is what it’s all about.”

The production teams, tech teams and background staff are ahead of schedule and are working hard to make the event even better than last year, continued Shane.

He said he was particularly excited with the bachelors chosen to take part this year, who are also busy preparing their talent pieces: “It’s a really strong line-up this year. We have some local guys and guys from elsewhere in the county. We have James Doyle (Protein Bor) and Fabu D (Blackpaddy) who are well known from social media so it’s exciting to have them.

“We will have stand-up, dancing, singing…people are going to be very pleasantly surprised with some of the performances,” said Shane.

The competition director added that the bachelors are already starting to make friends with one another, having been invited to Mullingar recently for a promotional photo shoot.

“They all have a group chat and they’re getting on like a house on fire. Last year’s lads are still texting each other and meeting up which is a big beauty of the whole thing,” said Shane.
This year is the second year of the Westmeath Bachelor Festivals revival, which was a hugely popular event in Mullingar in the 1980s and 1990s before petering out.

From 2024 onwards the organising committee hope to hold a week-long festival every August in Mullingar going forward, filling the gap that will be vacated by Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann once it leaves this summer.

The Westmeath Bachelor Festival will be taking part in two stages for this year only, the competition itself will be on 28 July and a musical festival will take place separately on the 8 and 9 September.

Ciaran Clarke

Ciaran Clarke is 29 and from Rosemount, Westmeath. He says: “I am currently studying to be a solicitor and I’m hoping to land my training contract soon. In the meantime, I’m working in Dublin in a legal costs firm. I entered The Westmeath Bachelor for the craic, but it’s been quite the adventure so far and I’ve met a truly great bunch of lads in the process.

Ciaran Clarke

“I have many hobbies and talents, but my overall ambition in life is to represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest. This year, I have achieved amazing things and I fully intend to use this momentum to become 2023’s Westmeath Bachelor!”

Steven Colvert

Steven Colvert is 32 and from Mullingar. He is a former international athlete and national champion who now works in finance and is based in Dublin. He says: “I was raised in Mullingar and have strong local roots. A bit of a nerd at heart.

Steven Colvert

“I’m an avid gamer and cat dad. I decided to enter the Westmeath Batchelor Competition when I heard that there was an opportunity to raise some money as the winner for a charity of choice and have a bit of fun along the way.”

John Carroll

John Carroll, 37, is from Tralee. He has entered the competition in the hopes of keeping the Westmeath Bachelor title in the Kingdom county.

He says: “I am involved in a lot of fundraising for local charities and organising fun events such as the annual 5k fun run for Kerry cancer support group, climbing Carrantuohill for Pieta house, Chairman of Causeway St Patrick’s Day Parade (helped to bring it back with friends couple years ago), registered with Volunteer Ireland (helping Ballyheigue Inshore sea rescue), annual speed dating event for Bru Columbanus charity and dressing up as Santa for the childcare Centre/senior citizens of causeway.

John Carroll

“I organise soccer every Friday night for young and old and I’m a member of Macra also. I was a Covid-19 Community Coordinator for the rural link and wheel program and got a letter of appreciation from the President of Ireland.”
As well as his extensive work for different charities John is also into exercise, park runs and has a black belt in taekwondo.

Fabu D (aka Blackpaddy)

Fabio David, 35, better known as Blackpaddy is a comedian, MC, entertainer, and actor and based in Dublin, Ireland.

Born in Nigeria, Blackpaddy channels the African man in Europe and embraces the Irish culture throughout his live sets. He quickly made a name for himself while performing on the streets of Dublin and creating viral videos which have amassed over 150 million views online.

Fabu D

He decided to follow his passion as a comedian and has been performing throughout Ireland. In his spare time, he hosts occasional weddings and has made appearances in TV shows and music videos.

John Coady

John Coady, 31, is from North Kilkenny, near a town called Castlecomer. He says: “I am the youngest in my family, my parents had five children under five at one stage! I have an Ag Science degree from Waterford IT, I work on a farm, for a funeral director and as a bookkeeper as well!

John Coady

“My great-grandmother was originally from Mullingar, her name was Margaret Lestrange and she used to work as a cook in Wilson’s Hospital school (in Multyfarnham) before she came to Three Castles in Kilkenny and married Michael Doheny.

“I would love to find out more about her and to see if there are any more of my relatives still living around Mullingar. I am looking forward to the competition and getting to know more about the other bachelors and having a good time. They seem to be a really nice, down to earth bunch of lads and I am a big fan of one of the judges, Pippa O’Connor Ormond.”

James Doyle

James Doyle, 21, is originally from Killucan but has since relocated to Leitrim. He is a social media star with more than 50m likes on TikTok thanks to his now viral and famous ‘protein bor’ catchphrase.

He says: “I just graduated from communications in DCU and have a brother (13) and a sister (10). I grew up playing the football and eventually started at the rugby which I was fairly deadly at but battled with EDs in my teens which killed my passion for sports, I then found the gym which saved me and got me to where I am today.

James Doyle

“Some random facts about me; after pints of Guinness, Tequila is my go-to drink. Two years ago, I wasn’t in the best shape, playing Call of Duty till 6am, a year on from that I’m now a MyProtein athlete and have a massive social media following, founded on the basis of the gym.

“I said I’d do the competition because I had nothing planned for the date and said the session after it would be worth making a laugh of myself singing on stage, I’m really looking forward to the night and plan to take the crown!”

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