RTE’S South East correspondent, Damien Tierney, will be the Wellie Race Personality on New Year’s Day in Castlecomer. Since its inception in 1981 the Castlecomer Wellington Race has become an institution on the streets of Castlecomer and a fantastic way to start any New Year.
A great boost to the town in so many ways, from the general feel good factor to the economic benefits for both the local businesses and the range of local, national and international charities that benefit from the proceeds. It is an incredibly novel event that has its roots firmly based in rural life and values.
Almost every household has some involvement in the event. Up to 600 people participate in the race while a similar number get involved in the float parade. Volunteers help out as stewards, collectors, registering participants and providing sustenance to them after their exertions.
Many well-known personalities have presided over proceedings including Jimmy Magee, Ronan Collins and Michael Caruth as well as some well-known local celebrities like Mick Dowling, Brian Cody and Jim Bolger. 2012 Personality will be RTE’s Damien Tiernan.
Originally from Newtownmountkennedy, County Wicklow where he played football for the local club, minor for the county and soccer for Bray Wanderer’s Youths, he is she son of a Garda sergeant from Leitrim and his mother is from Lisdoonvarna, co Clare, Damien has one brother and three sisters.
He did a degree in philosophy at UCD before realising he had to focus and started writing articles for local papers and college magazine managed to get into a post graduate diploma course in Galway in Journalism and worked then in the Wicklow People, Wexford People and New Ross Standard.
He got a job then copresenting Ear to the Ground with Mairead McGuiness for a year and moved into RTE newsroom, where he worked on different newsdesks before being appointed South East Correspondent in December 1996.
Living for a while in Waterford city he moved out to Passage East where he bought a small 300 year old cottage, married a local fisherman’s daughter and is now chairperson of the local development association, which has just won the top award in the Waterford Community Forum competition 2011.
He still tries to play football at Junior level for Gaultier in Dunmore East and last year actually came on as a sub for 10 minutes for the Kilkenny senior team in a challenge match in Waterford! He has covered many major stories in every part of the south east. He is married to Louise, and has two children, Isobel (9) and Sam (6).