The sun shone as the Roses bloomed for the official launch of the 2012 Rose of Tralee festival yesterday.
Kerry’s flagship pageant is heading into its 45th year of broadcasting, with the Kingdom’s own Dáithí Ó Sé presiding over the event for the third year running.
All of this year’s 32 Roses were present for the photocall and, with Ó Sé having recently tied the knot with 2008 New Jersey Rose Rita Talty, there was a decidedly matrimonial feel to events — each Rose bestowing a wedding wish on the inimitable presenter.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Ó Sé could barely contain his excitement over this year’s contest, and said he’s revelling in his new life as a married man.
“It’s like playing an All-Ireland back at home in Tralee with your own crowd there and I’m proud to be part of the whole thing.
“They’re proud of me too, so it makes it a whole lot easier knowing that the people are with you.
“It was a show that I’d watched all the way growing up, seeing Gaybo, Marty Whelan and the likes, so to be put under the same spotlight as them is a huge deal for me.
“Married life is going great. Obviously Rita was very, very lucky to marry me.
“It’s only really sinking in during the last week as we were so busy organising things around the wedding, and it only really hit us when we came home from our honeymoon, but it’s going really, really well, and all the wishes from the Roses are a lovely tribute.”
When asked about who he thought was the favourite, Ó Sé was predictably diplomatic on the issue, but New York Rose Anne-Marie Lynch is hopeful that she can bring the crown Stateside for the 11th time.
“When the opportunity came up in New York to be a part of the Rose of Tralee, I jumped at the chance,” said Ms Lynch.
“It’s worked out fantastic so far, and everyone here is amazing in their own way so it’s going to be really difficult to come out on top.”
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