Friday, November 26, 2004

Happy Birthday!

Today, and this weekend, I would like to extend birthday congratulations to 3 friends - Frances Winston, Darren Kavanagh and Gavin Downes. Hope you all have a great time.

Frances with Martin King at the Curragh earlier this year
Skating on thin Ice

Rush hour traffic in Dublin is cat. That's why we missed the opening ceremony of Smithfield on Ice, but more of that later.

I made my way (slowly) to the RDS for the VIP evening of the annual Toys4BigBoys show. I love my gadgets and this event is just heaven. Among the highlights are the cars, the lads pad, penalty shootout and various innovations. I spotted DJ Hugh Scully, rugby player Denis Hickie, PR girls Eleanor Cullen and Aileen Eglington and former Taniste Dick Spring among the crowds. Check it out boys.

On then to Smithfield for the opening night of the outdoor ice skating rink. Just as we arrived Tara O'Connor infomed us that we had missed the ceremony. Lord Mayor Conaghan was leaving early, a busy guy no doubt, with no time to waste.

Unfortunately I cannot skate, but that never stops me from trying. Despite the fact that The Sunday Tribune's Roberta Gray took me in hand and helped me on my way, I still managed to fall. Twice. As I staggered off the ice, wet and embarrassed, I spyed Karla Elliott and Ray Senior (are they back together?), Marty Whelan and his children and boyband Zoo. As I settled down with a hot mulled wine I got chatting to Tamara Gervasoni, who told me she is joining the ranks of Social & Personal magazine as their Motoring Correspondent.

Also cutting up the ice were Fair City actors George McMahon (sporting sexy new glasses) and Killian O'Sullivan, while Sky News Ireland presenter Grainne Seoige took the wise option and looked on from the safety of the viewing area.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The annual Manly Art Auction took place in the Solomon Gallery yesterday evening. A large number of art lovers were assembled for the sale, with one painting acheiving over €25,000. With delicious canapes from Michelin star restaurant Thorntons, the evening was a resounding success.

Among those were socialite and fundraiser Norma Smurfit, who purchased three beautiful pieces. Gallery director Tara Murphy, Christine Ryall of Christies and Fergal Breen of Edelman were also present.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Hitting the high notes

Ah Christmas is round the corner. Too early though, in my opinion, but how and ever.
In order to get into the swing of things I went along to St. Patricks College Drumcondra to a very special choral recital. I had no idea Leonard Bernstein had such mad music.

My dear darling friend Rebecca Jane Higgins was on a flying visit to Dublin, so after my body was stirred by sporanos I met up with her for a few cocktails. Finishing the night in the Bubble Lounge in Renards, we set the world to rights and devised a few new plans. Everyone should have a friend like R-JH, shes a great inspiration and a good laugh too. I hope the people of Marbella, Co. Spain, appreciate her as much as I do.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Having a Ball

The weekend saw two big events take place. The wonderful Miriam Ahern hosted the annual CARI Ball in Jury's Hotel, Ballsbridge, in association with Newbridge Silverware and Mr. Steve Murphy hosted his 40th birthday.

The Cari Ball kicked off with a champagne and Smirnoff cocktail reception, which was attended by An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. RTE presenter Laura Woods did a marvellous job as MC for the evening and ensured that the guests, who included best selling author Cecelia Ahern, the gorgeous Yvonne Keating, TV presenter Laura Bermingham, Fair City's George McMahon and William and Oonagh Doyle of Newbridge Silverware, had a great time.

Plenty of champagne was consumed in Athy, Co. Kildare, as Steve Murphy threw open the doors of his beautiful home to celebrate his 40th birthday party. Among those toasting the birthday boy were the lovely Deirdre Burke, celebrity gardener Dermot O'Neill, jeweller Hugh Statham and TG4 chef Brian O'Donnell.

Life begins!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Blossoming at Catwalks '04

The hugely successful Blossom Hill Catwalks continues with unabated pace. Currently in it's 3rd season, I attended the latest Dublin event last night. Hosted in the historic Clontarf Castle, the assembled guests quaffed champagne and swapped gossip before enjoying dinner and the fashion show, with Lee Bradshaw as MC.

I was a guest of Amy Buckeridge, who is the Ireland publicist for Timberland and who was also busy with Magee who feature in the show. Joining us on Amy's table were Timberland marketing manager Niamh Lyon and her glamourous mother Helen, former Miss Ireland Yvonne Ellard, beautiful diamond importer Marie Collins and hairstylist Paul Hession.

I was lucky enough to be seated next to the lovely Fionnuala Sherry, who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1995 representing Norway with her group Secret Garden. Her violin solo and haunting voice secured the prestigious prize and Secret Garden havn't looked back since. They have had No.1s all over the world and have sold millions of albums. Probably one of the most successful Eurovision winners ever.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Top 100

Trevor White knows how to throw a good party (I may have written that before, but it's still true). Last night an unprecedented amount of people atteded a reception in Browns Brasserie to celebrate the launch of Trevor's highly successful wee book, The Dubliner Top 100 Restaurants, in association with Santa Rita wines. The sheer volume of the crowd was evidence of the popularity of both Trevor and his magazine, The Dubliner.

Spotted enjoying the Santa Rita were the ever glamourous Mafra O'Reilly chatting to Myles McWeeney, restaurant critic Ross Golden - Bannon with Quentin Fottrell, Georgio Casari of The Unicorn and model Roz Lipsett with VIP publisher Michael O'Doherty. Also spotted were the Knight of Glin and Princess Colonna, the Spanish Ambassador H.E. Fernando Doliveira - Neves and the Italian Ambassador H.E. Dr. Alberto Schepisi (who lives in the finest ambassador's residence in Dublin).

I had to laugh at the opening of Trevor's speech: "I haven't seen so many people in the one room since the creditors meeting of Peacock Alley, and even then, Conrad Gallagher still wasn't there".

The Santa Rita People's Choice award went to CafeBarDeli, which was accepted by co-owner Jay Bourke, who was both delighted and surprised.

The Dubliner Top 100 is in good shops now.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Kiss and make-up

Today I met Barbara Daly O.B.E., make up artist extraordinaire. She was in town to launch her new cosmetics line, make-up for Tesco. Barbara has many well known clients, including Gwynth Paltrow, but her most well known would be the late Diana, Princess of Wales. She even did Diana's make-up on her wedding day.

At lunch in the Herbert Park Hotel, I sat next to her husband Laurence Tarlo, who is also her business partner and advisor. He explained that while they lead very busy lives, they divide their time between London, Dorset and Provence, thus striking the right balance for a good lifestyle. Laurence told the story of how Barbara was make-up artist to the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who had a popensity to call Barbara 'Wendy'. Whether the 'Iron Lady' forgot people's names, or just chose to rename them, we will never know.

Monday, November 15, 2004

I spent the weekend in London. My first time flying in to London City Airport, courtesy of City Jet, and I must say that it is the only way to travel there. Its close proximity to the city saves so much travel time.

I stayed in Covent Garden and partyed hard. A weekend of debauchery as it were.

Incidently, people moan about how expensive Dublin is - try London for a weekend of socialising and you'll know all about spending.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Dirty but clean

We decended on the hallowed halls of the old United Service Club last night, for another in the series of Laurent Perrier Culture Club events. Guest speaker was criticically aclaimed author DBC Pierre, whose book Vernon God Little won last years Booker Prize.

Trevor White of The Dubliner, theatre producer Bea Kelleher and style princess Andrea Dillon - Horan were among those who enjoyed a Laurent Perrier champagne reception after DBC's humourous talk.

Repairing to the Horse Shoe bar in The Shelbourne, the tone of the evening to come was set by the collective hilarity of the group I was in. Among them media personality (and he has a big personality) Brendan O'Connor and his beautiful wife Sarah Caden, PR guru Sinead Ryan and Scotland's finest Ross Robertson. DBC was last seen sitting on the hotel steps sourrounded by a gaggle of female students.

Ending the night in Renards, I was surprised, nay shocked, to bump into my old friend Orla O'Connor, who is now residing in the U.K. and is engaged to be married. That last piece of information unsettled me as Orla and I agreed to marry each other if we were still single by the age of 30. Luckily I've got another few years to go yet.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

It's social and personal with Sasha's halo...

Yet again, several great parties taking place on the one night. 5 to be precise! The evening kicked off with a special VIP night at Sasha, in their Stephens Green branch. Gorgeous Fair City star Orlaith Rafter, who is the face of Sasha, was present, modelling some fab clothes for the party season. It really is ironic - in the soap she plays sexy mechanic Robin, who is usually seen in oily overalls, yet that couldn't be further from the real life glamourous Orlaith.

A short distance away in the Odeon on Harcourt Street, a much anticipated party was kicking off. Hosted by PJ Gibbons, the new look Social&Personal magazine was officially re-launched. It really was a glitzy affair worthy of comparison with an international media party. Guests were greeted by a string quartet on the red carpet and enjoyed champagne cocktails and a generous goodie bag. A who's who of familiar faces, the party goers included Terry Keane, music manager Louis Walsh, designers Virginia Macari and Anthony Brennan, business man Derry O'Donovan and his stunning wife Mary and socialite Gavin Lambe - Murphy.

Publisher PJ, who cut a dash in a dapper suit (one lady likened him to F. Scott Fitzgerald's the Great Gatsby!), is doing a sterling job at the magazine, which he took over a few months ago. Just as I spotted TV presenter Amanda Brunker's new blonde curls I was out the door to the next event.

Computer games - I don't know much about them, but I'd heard about the popularity of Halo and it sequel, Halo 2, was no different. Apparently over 1.5 million copies of the X-Box game were ordered in advance. The Metropolitian Bar was jammed full of gamers playing consoles, but in the midst of the geeks I spotted stylist Roxanne Parker, the devine Sarah Devitt and journalist France Winston and Fergal Breen of Edelman.

I continued to Bruxelles, where Mr. Pussy was performing his hilarious Wednesday night show, Swan Alley, where Marie Carr was celebrating her birthday. Dave and Mairead Egan, Dermot Hayes and singer Anne Bushnell were among the well wishers. As the party continued to Lillies, I made my way home in order to polish my halo. A hectic but enjoyable night.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Terry Keane - 'The Queen of Gossip' Posted by Hello

She's back!

I have just received news that the ledgend that is Terry Keane is to return to journalism after a long hiatus. She will join Social & Personal magazine exclusively, as their Travel Correspondent and Restaurant Critic.
For those of you who don't know who Terry is - for shame!

Terry Keane was the original gossip columnist many years ago, writing for the Sunday Independent. I remember avidly reading her column from the young age of 12, facinated by this golden circle of Irish society. Despite the fact that I had little or no idea of who these fabulous people were, I still looked forward to absorbing her weekly slate, The Keane Edge.

Terry never really held back when it came to dishing the dirt, and her cutting edge remarks often ruffled the feathers of the upper echelons of society. Towards her latter years in the SIndo, she took a step back and had a team of snoops infiltrating the party network, digging the dirt for her. I recently met one of her former contributors who regaled me with a few juicy stories and spoke of her time there with much fondness.

Personally, I credit Terry Keane for inspiring me to go into journalism, and in particular to be a social diarist. While I have never written in the oft scathing style favoured by her, I do love it and believe it to be one of the best jobs in the world.

I could ramble on about this great dame, and believe me there is much to write about, but lest to say Terry Keane has had many pretenders, many indeed worthy, but most poor substitutes.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Paul Costello for Newbridge

Newbridge Silverware have just launched their new Paul Costello range of giftware. The beautifully designed gasses, vases, and bowls are a thing of simplistic style.

At an intimate champagne reception in Arnotts this evening I got to meet the talented man himself. I must admit that i am a big fan of Paul's, not only beacuse of his amazing designs but also because of his friendly attitude and all round ground personality. Admiring the range were socialite Mary Irwin, Mary O'Sullivan of the Sunday Independent and Louise Byrne of Looks 1 PR.

The best part? Paul sketched one of his designs for me, dedicated and signed it! I shall treasure it, frame it and display it with pride.
150 years of learning

I am a bit of a culture vulture - when I get the opportunity that is. I love going to gallery openings, but would hardly describe myself as an art connoisseur. Likewise, I adore the opera and similar musical performances, but do not go often enough. So, it was with a spring in my step that I went along to the National Concert Hall for the gala performance of Dream of Gerontious, at the invitation of Dr. Hugh Brady, President of UCD.

Written by Cardinal John Henry Newman and coupled with music from Elgar, Dream of Gerontious was performed to celebrate the 150th anniversary of UCD. Yes, it was on the 3rd of November 1854 that Newman opened the doors to his new college on St. Stephen's Green, an educational institution that would change the course of learning in Ireland. The man had great vision.

After the exilerating 2 hour performance by the RTE Concert Orchestra (conducted by Proinnsias O'Duinn), Our Lady's Choral Society and the UCD Choral Scholars (with solos by Alison Browner, John Elwes and Ian Caddy), guests enjoyed a private reception. Former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds and his stylish wife Kathleen looked relaxed and Cardinal Desmond O'Connell looked like retirement was treating him well. Also spotted was H.E. The British Ambassador Stuart Eldon. I spoke briefly with the Lord Mayor Micheal Conaghan, who thoroughly enjoyed the evening and thought it 'a bit different'.

Tonight the Foundation Day Dinner takes place in O'Reilly Hall. The black tie event will be attended by President Mary McAleese, who is guest of honour, as a well as many UCD supporters, business leaders and alumni.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The birthday banquet (taken with the fab Nokia 7250)

Happy 180th Birthday!

That grand old dame of St. Stephen's Green, The Shelbourne Hotel, celebrated it's 180th birthday this year. Over the last month the hotel has hosted a variety of events in honour of this great milestone. Last night saw the culmination of the celebrations with a lavish party in the Great Room.

I love The Shelbourne. It has a certain style and grace about the place that other hotels can only imitate. Many a long day I have spent in either the Horse Shoe or the Shelbourne Bar (the latter being my preference, though many would disagree), where we would discuss lifes loves and labours. It really is a smorgasbord of Dublin society and one should never be surprised at who might be sitting at the next table, be it famous musician, politician or journalist.

The chefs were out in force with a banquet fit for a king - Eastern, Italian and Japanese dishes followed by a sumptuous chocolate fountain and decadant profiteroles (pictured above, thanks to my trusty Nokia). The invitation requested 'Lounge Suit' and there were certainly plenty of suits in attendance. Among those enjoying the hospitality were former Ireland international player Packie Bonner, style guru Leann De Cerbo, model Roz Lipsett and fashion correspondent Bairbre Power.

Question of the night: Which property magnate owned the new chauffer driven Mercedes Maybach parked outside? This D4 resident is one of the first in the country to take delivery of the €400,000 dream machine.
Posted by Hello

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Edge of Reason

Ah, Bridget Jones, I remember you well. It's not often that I get the chance to read the original literary offering before seeing the big screen version, but Bridget is an exception. Granted, I think the original books are funnier than the films but I guess it would be impossible to include every joke and humourous incident.

Last night saw the Irish premiere of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Indeed as Paddy Kelly of UIP informed us, we were seeing the film a full week before it's UK premiere - a rare occurance.

There was a traffic jam on the red carpet as FMI and top model Andrea Roche was posing for the paparazzi. She knows how to work the lense. Inside the theatre I seemed to have been seated in the RTE TV section - ID presenters Laura Woods and Steve Curran in front, presenter Ray D'arcy to my left and Afternoon Show presenter Anna Nolan behind me.

The movie itself is very funny. Hugh Grant plays the cad Daniel Cleaver with tradmark ease and Paul Nicholls makes a brief appearance too. Bridget is such a lost cause but a heroine to so many girls - inspiration comes from the strangest of places I suppose.

At the Rat Pack inspired after party in Lobo at the Morrison, guests enjoyed rather generous glasses of chardonnay (Brid's fav) and an even more generous free bar. Moving and shaking were Ray Shah, Alan Hughes of Ireland AM, Derek Mooney chatting to Judith Giltinane, Tara O'Connor with Elaine Roddy and the lovely Katie French.

Question of the night: Which well known presenter did not introduce his late arriving guest to the people he was with? Was he embarrassed by what his 'friend' worked at?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The Italian Job

Tamara Gervasoni pictured at the Newbridge Silverware 70th Birthday celebrations (using Nokia)

I received an e-mail from Tamara Gervasoni last week. It was her final day in her PR job at Burrell and she was thanking all and sundry for their help and assistance. Tamara, just in case you have been living abroad for the last 3 years, was crowned Rose of Tralee in 2002. After a shaky year, in which she battled an eating disorder, she came out on top and appeared in Celebrity Farm. Since then she has been flirting with the media world and been working for NewsTalk 106. Lady O'Reilly has even named a race horse after her.

I had a brief conversation with her recently and she told me she has landed a few gigs and hopes to be joining 98fm in the near future. That's what I adore about Tamara - her 'get up and go' attitude. Watch that space.

Monday, November 01, 2004

While I was in Belfast enjoying myself, the Irish Film & Television Awards ceremony took place in Dublin's Burlington Hotel on Saturday night. Otherwise known as the IFTAs, the event attracted a few big names, such as Pierse Brosnan, Andie McDowall and John Cleese as well as a plethora of Irish stars.

Last year I did not enjoy the night, so I was not too bothered about missing it this year. Seems like I was right, judging by the report that Henry McKeen delivered on NewsTalk106 fm.

Congrats to TV3's Claire Byrne who won TV Personality of the Year.