Tuesday 17 September 2019

'Nobody wanted anything to do with me' - 2018 Rose of Tralee winner quips Daithi Ó Sé seen as a 'god' in Kerry

560,000 people were watching as Kirsten Mate Maher was crowned 2018 Rose of Tralee
560,000 people were watching as Kirsten Mate Maher was crowned 2018 Rose of Tralee
All smiles: Wexford Rose Emma Byrne, Kildare Rose Emer Fogarty, Cork Rose Stephanie McCarthy and Antrim Rose Orlagh McClinton with actor Eoin Burke. Picture: Domnick Walsh
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

Coming back to Tralee, the 2018 winner and Waterford Rose Kirsten Mate Maher said she got an incredible reception – but it was Daithi Ó Sé who was the real hero of the hour.

The 22-year-old said the host of the show was the main attraction at the Rose parade on Friday night in the town.

“Daithi is seen as a god down here, he is most popular man – no one wanted anything to do with me, it was all about Daithi,” she told Independent.ie. 

Kirsten has done plenty in her year as the Rose of Tralee. Casting an eye back on her time, it was the charity work she got to do that stood out the most.

“Going to Kolkata with the Hope Foundation and Chernobyl with Adie Roche [were highlights]. I am hoping to go back and visit both. It has been amazing working with the two charities this year,” she said.

As for advice to whoever gets to wear the Tipperary Crystal tiara next, staying true to yourself was key.

“Take it all in your stride, be yourself. Throughout the year I relied on past Roses, and my Rose centre. Use all the people you have around you, they’re there to support you,” she said.

“Always do your own thing and be yourself.”

In wake of her win last year, Kirsten unfortunately dealt with racism with one incident in a chipper on a night out in Kilkenny.

Having impressed on stage in the Dome with her motto of “just be sound”, it was a blow to her that something like that had happened.

However, she said she came out of that with a positive outlook.

“A lot of positivity came out of it and it opened a lot of peoples’ eyes as well – people are more aware of what goes on. Overall, although it was negative, I took the positive out of it,” she said.

Being the 2018/19 Rose was a “life-changing experience” for her, she said.

Looking to the future, she is hoping to take another year out from college to pursue more charity work and decide where to go from here.

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