AgriLand was hot on the heels today catching up with Rose of Tralee’s biggest star the one and only Dáithí Ó Sé. “It’s a really a exciting time for Tralee and the festival as the Rose of Tralee festival gets under way,” he said, speaking from the Rose of Tralee bus.

West Kerry man and TV presenter Dáithí Ó Sé has long be associated with the festival. He was involved in choosing the Kerry Rose of Tralee for 10 years, judging at a regional level and became host of the festival in 2010.

“I really enjoy it. It is good fun. It’s a great achievement for all involved and I still have the same excitement for the festival as I did all those years ago.”

In his years of experience, according to Dáithí there are two key features for the perfect Rose. “Firstly, warmth. The rose needs to be warm, a warm personality. And second she needs to be herself really. Those two qualities go a long way.”

The host acknowledge the contestants are under pressure but has insisted they have nothing to be afraid off! “The Roses are under huge pressure up on that stage. They are representing their families, their communities across Ireland and the world, so they are under pressure. My main job is to make sure they are in safe hands and are enjoying themselves. There will be no trick questions, it will just be like having a conversation.”

As always there is lots of glitz and glam at the festival, and it will be a smart black tuxedo for Dáithí. “I’m not sure yet if I will wear a tie or a dickie bow, we’ll see what the feel of the audience is on the night,” he quipped.

The Rose of Tralee is of huge importance to the region and to the Irish diaspora across the world. “From a financial level, it is of huge importance to Tralee in that people from all over world come to Kerry’s biggest town. And secondly for Ireland. The Rose of Tralee has never been as relevant as it has been the past couple of years. It is the biggest thread that ties the Irish diaspora together and it encompasses all decades. It is very important part of our Irish heritage and no other country in the world has this thread with its diaspora.”

And the escorts, God bless, the are in for a tough grilling. “Yes they are always the butt of a few jokes during the TV show but in fairness they are very easy targets. They put themselves on a pedestal and I knock them down, all in a fun way! Of course they get a small bit of credit, they do work very hard during the festival week so fair play to them.”

And does he have a winner, a favourite Rose in mind? “My wife Rita is the only Rose I speak about!”