Thursday 14 December 2017

Waking hours with Daithi O Se

Daithi O Se (39) is an RTE TV presenter, for 'The Today Show', 'The Rose of Tralee' and 'The Taste Of Success', among others. Originally from west Kerry, he lives outside Galway with his wife, Rita Talty, and their son, Micheal Og

Early riser: Daithi O Se. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Early riser: Daithi O Se. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Emily Hourican

I usually get up around 6am in the morning. It depends on the baby. He can wake up around 5am, have a small bottle, and will hopefully go back to sleep until about 7am. I try to go walking in the morning between 6am and 7am, or else I go back to sleep, which can happen as well. The baby gets up around 7am and I take the morning shift with him, which is a good time to get him, because he's always in great form. Then, when he's tired and cranky, I hand him back to his mother and go to work.

When I'm working on The Today Show, I usually head off around 10am down to Cork, and do the day's work. We live about half an hour outside Galway city, and it's a two-hour drive to Cork, there and back. I don't do the drive every day though, because we do five shows in four days. The last show is a pre-record.

I eat a good breakfast before I go. I have to try and eat healthy food. When you're on the road so much, it's very easy to just pull into a service station and eat bread or buns or any kind of rubbish, so I try to stay away from that.

The drive is grand. You listen to the radio, all the shows, and then you know what's happening. I use the drive into work to listen to the radio and find out what's going on, and I use the drive home to talk to people on the phone. I recently started listening to audio books as well. It was strange at first, but I'm starting to get into them.

There's something different on The Today Show each day, with stories based on what's happening in the country. There is a lot of cooking, human interest, a bit of crack; it's good fun. The night before, you have a look over what's planned for the next day, then you go into work, and, just like a newspaper, everything changes!

When I was working in RTE in Dublin, we just went into the canteen for lunch and, with huge respect to everyone who works there, canteen food is canteen food. Then we moved to RTE Cork, and the studio is right in the middle of the city, with every type of food right on your doorstep, so there is a temptation to go out for lunch every day. I give into that temptation most times, to be honest.

But I think it's good to get out for half an hour at lunchtime, for fresh air and a bit of a break, otherwise you do get cabin fever; you can get tired and fatigued. But I try to be careful with what I eat. I have an awful thing for Dime bars, with a good cup of tea. And we have so many cooking segments on the show; the best of chefs coming in - Paul Flynn, Martin Shanahan, Neven Maguire - making the best of everything. We're spoilt.

During the summer, I only work one or two days a week in Cork, and the rest of the time it's different things. There's The Rose of Tralee, of course - that's like my All-Ireland final - and the new series of The Taste of Success, so it's a nice balance. We're like cattle - in for the winter and out for the summer. Well, I won't say 'we', I'll say 'I'.

The roadshows for The Taste of Success run from eight in the morning until eight at night, in a different province every week, so that involves travelling down to wherever we are the night before, and staying in a hotel. The best thing about it is we might all meet for dinner - the mentors are Catherine Fulvio, JP McMahon, Domini Kemp and Martin Shanahan, and Paul Flynn is the judge. So we might eat and chat, but no heavy nights out. There's no temptation; they're long days.

I used to do a fair bit of MC-ing at the weekends, but then I stopped. I want to be at home with the baby and Rita, just hanging out. You get really tired if you're doing everything, and then you're not at your best. Whatever TV programme I'm doing, I'm only as good as my last show; everyone is, and I think you need to realise that. You can't do it all, and if I do, I'm going to miss Micheal Og growing up, which is the best thing of all, and I don't want that. He is just great crack; he's laughing all the time.

So these days, when we have time together, we go out walking, to parks. We took him to the Zoo last week for the first time. It's a great excuse for us to get out and do things, and we're enjoying it. I'd have an interest in what's going on all the time, and I love sitting down on a Sunday with two or three papers, getting stuck into some of them. Almost just out of nosiness, to be honest, wanting to know what's going on.

I don't get out much at night. I go into Galway city maybe once a month to meet the lads for a few drinks, or if there was a GAA game on. If Kerry were playing, or Galway, I'd go down to see that, but to be honest, I don't want to be tired in the morning. If Rita is away with the baby, I might go out. But these days it takes about three days for me to recover from any couple of pints at all. So if you go out on a Saturday night, that's Sunday, Monday and Tuesday gone. I don't want that.

If I'm working in Cork, I'm home around eight o'clock in the evening. The baby goes to bed around six o'clock, so that's why I make sure to be up early in the morning, so I have that time with him. Usually, once I'm home, I just plonk myself on the couch and chat to Rita face-to-face as opposed to on the phone all day; just catching up and kind of chilling out, watch a bit of TV, then at 10 o'clock, it's up to bed. Rita said recently, 'Are we just two weirdos, we never go out at all?' But you can't do it.

The idea of working in a job like this, and having to be seen to be going out; being in the papers, out every night - well, that's a load of rubbish.

To be honest, what other people think about me is none of my business, anyway. Rita doesn't want to do it, and the idea that I would put her under pressure to turn up at any gig, isn't on. It works for us, we're happy like this, but as they say, one fellow's floor is another fellow's ceiling!

The new series of 'Taste of Success' starts on RTE One on September 8 at 8.30pm

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