Where Are They Now: 'The Den' Presenters

Where Are They Now: 'The Den' Presenters

Be it pleading with Dustin to do the flap-flaps, having your name read out on the birthday roll, or forgotten classics like 'Custer's Last Stand-Up,' The Den is without question the greatest thing to have ever happened Ireland, bar none.

From 1986-2005, Dempsey's Den, The Den, DenTV and Den 2 made the Irish childhood one of the more charmed existences on the planet, despite the awkward 16:05 time slot for Pokémon wreaking havoc with after-school sports and activities.

And, though Six's Emma O'Driscoll fronted Den Tots along with Socky at the turn of the decade, The Den has actually only had four official presenters, not including summer stand-ins like Aoileann Garvaglia and Aidan Power. Speaking of whom, we felt it rude not to remind you of the roller-coaster ride of an intro for Den 2 back in the day;

We'll get to the replacement presenters at the end, but first, here are where the four main Den men ended up.

Ian Dempsey



After departing Dempsey's Den (which first introduced us to the legends that are Zig and Zag) in the summer of 1990, Ian Dempsey went on to front various other TV shows, including the pop music quiz Number 1 and three seasons of The Beatbox - a two-hour music video show simulcast on Network 2 and RTÉ 2fm. He was also the first host of the Irish version of Talkabout.

Dempsey shocked the Irish media world in July 1998 when he jumped ship from RTÉ to Today FM, and has presented his breakfast show on Today FM since September the same year.

At the turn of the decade, Dempsey appeared on The Restaurant where he dumbfounded critics with his bewildering menu of Mini Bloody Mary Burgers, JFK's Lidded Lobster Soup, Swedish Meatballs, Tagliatelle with Lightly Curried Prawns, Deeply Bitter Chocolate Mousse and a dish he called "The Bomb". Screw the critics, Ian. We would eat all of those things.

Ray D'Arcy



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D'Arcy replaced Ian Dempsey as the presenter of The Den from 1990 to 1998.

D'Arcy also presented the quiz show Blackboard Jungle at the time before presenting youth music quiz 2Phat. Outside of children's tv, the Clongowes Wood grad presented the UTV and RTÉ collaborative travel show Bon Voyage! for one season.

He has presented several once-off events, including Ireland's version of the Test The Nation franchise and the Irish Young Scientist Awards. Until 2005 he presented You're a Star, the 'talent' show established to find Ireland's entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest, before going on to host the Rose of Tralee. This is widely regarded as the darkest period of Ray D'Arcy's illustrious tv career.

Over on radio, D'Arcy took over Tim Kelly's mid-morning show in the late '90s to monumental success. On the weekend of 21–22 March 2009, someone placed nude images of the then Taoiseach Brian Cowan in both the National Gallery of Ireland and the gallery of the Royal Hibernian Academy. The artist anonymously emailed D'Arcy's show, claiming responsibility for the creation of the paintings, but not their hanging. Gardaí subsequently raided the Today FM studios and producer Will Hanafin was asked to hand over the emails, on the basis that the placing of the paintings constituted indecency, incitement and criminal damage.


Arguably D'Arcy's greatest accolade, however, was managing Rathangan in RTÉ series Celebrity Bainisteoir in 2009, although the Kildare club did crash out in the first round to Co. Down representatives Glassrumman.

Damien McCaul

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After D'Arcy's departure in 1998, The Den was renamed Den 2, and DIT graduate Damien McCall stepped up to the mark alongside Soky and Dustin. While presenting Den 2, McCall also hosted 2FM's breakfast show.


'Damo' left the Den studios in 2003, rumoured to have finally succumb to the bully tactics of Ted the Panda, who had terrorised McCaul's predecessor over the previous decade.

After his work with 2FM, McCaul continued with some freelance voiceover work before moving to Dublin's Q102 FM as a presenter in 2007.

He left Q102 after six years to host Dublin's Best Music Mix on 98FM in the capital, remaining for two years before departing a couple of months ago to further his psychotherapy studies. Damo is currently studying Psychotherapy & Counselling, and is qualified in HSE ASIST emergency suicide intervention.

He also said happy birthday to me once on Den 2. Thanks Damo!

Francis Boylan

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After departing The Den in 2005, Francie joined Ocean FM in Ireland's northwest, and has remained there for almost 9 years as both a presenter and a producer.

He currently presents The Francie Boylan Show from 11am-1:30pm, and won gold at the PPI Irish Radio Awards in the category of 'Best Magazine Programme' in 2013.

However, even Francie agreed when we cited this as the greatest moment of his career, and indeed, the greatest moment in Irish television history.

Other Presenters

Geri Maye




After her work on The Den, Maye moved to Sydney before returning to present a show on RTÉ's Lyric FM. She went on to present Winning Streak alongside Marty Whelan before being unceremoniously axed in 2013. Maye now works on The Afternoon Show on RTÉ One.

Aoileann Garavaglia

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Since her work on The Den, Garavaglia has become a renowned food writer - most notably for the Irish Independent - and has also produced food segments for both RTÉ and TV3.

Aidan Power


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Power left his role as presenter on Nickelodeon's NickL8R to co-host RTÉ's The Cafe with Laura Woods in 2004, before becoming the show's sole presenter in 2008. Power has since worked on a number of RTÉ's television programmes, including Winning Streak: Dream Ticket and The All Ireland Talent Show, while also presenting the 98fm Morning Crew alongside Clare Solan until 2012.

Power is a massive boxing enthusiast and hosted the weigh-ins for Matthew Macklin's scrap with Jorge Sebastien Heiland for Matchroom Boxing and Sky Sports last November (he invited then European champion Macklin onto The Cafe as a guest in 2009). As a personal project, he has been working on an acclaimed behind-the-scenes documentary with Dublin's lightweight contender Stephen Ormond for almost 4 years, some of which has already aired on Setanta Sports. He now co-presents the breakfast show on iRadio and you'll catch him on RTÉ's sports coverage every now and again.

Emma O'Driscoll

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See also: Where Are They Now: 'Six'

Mark Farrelly
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