Ollie Turner with the Laois Rose 2018 Grainne Hogan
Laois Rose 2019 MC is none other than Ollie Turner tells the Leinster Express what he thinks makes a good rose.
How did you get involved with the Rose of Tralee?
I started working in local radio in late 2000 and I got involved in presenting a number of local Rose selection nights which usually happened in conjunction with some kind of Festival around county Galway. Then in 2004, I was asked to present the Galway Rose selection in Ballinasloe and I’ve been a big part of the whole event ever since.
What is your earliest Rose of Tralee memory?
I have a pretty vivid memory of Gay Byrne in the last few years that he was the presenter. He always seemed to have to change someone’s shoes during the show for a dancing performance and loved it. I remember Niamh Grogan being selected in 1992 because she was a Galway girl and it was only the second time we had a Rose of Tralee. Then I met Niamh at the Rose of Tralee last year when we were judging together. What a lady!
What was your most embarrassing Rose of Tralee moment?
From time to time a Rose will look for a dance partner for her party piece and recently I’ve made sure there is at least one ‘proper’ dancer among the escorts to do the honours. Jiving wouldn’t be a strong point of mine as a couple of girls have found out to their horror in the past. Mostly my job is to either turn any potentially embarrassing moment into humour or else swiftly move on.
What makes a good Rose?
In the words of the current Rose of Tralee Kirsten Mate-Maher, “Just Be Sound”. You don’t have to look very hard to find a good Rose, she tends to stand out even when she is in the background. I think most of the better Roses have strong family values, with a naturally warm personality. It helps as well if she enjoys a good laugh!
Your most memorable performance by a Rose?
I’ve had my hand set on fire, been kung-fu kicked around the stage and heard some of the best singers you could ever imagine over the years, but it’s hard to look beyond our 2018 Rose Grainne milking the ‘cow’ on stage at the Laois selection last year!
What did you think of the Laois Rose selection night?
I enjoyed every minute of it. Grainne was a thoroughly deserving Rose and I really liked the idea of the little ‘Rosebuds’ accompanying the girls onto the stage. I got to have a little chat with each of the young future Roses before the main interviews started and it really set the scene for an enjoyable night.
What is your favourite part of the Rose Festival?
The on-stage interviews. It’s my job to make sure the girls are as relaxed as possible and enjoy their Rose of Tralee experience. I like to make sure the crowd enjoys the night with plenty of laughter but that they also listen to each girl’s unique and individual story.
What is your perfect weekend?
Checking in with the family into a nice hotel. It’s all girls in our house as my wife Therese and I have three teenage daughters, Squeezing in a round of golf in at the Heritage in Killenard (my favourite course), a nice meal with my girls, getting on stage for a Rose of Tralee selection night. And a good lie in.
The Laois Rose 2019 selection night takes place on Friday April 19 in Castle Durrow Hotel.