Friday, December 30, 2005


As another year comes to an end so one of the biggest party nights is on the horizon, New Years Eve. Personally I think it's completely over rated with people putting too much emphasis on having the night of their lives. Just enjoy it like any other night!

In the final part of the series I asked the movers and shakers what their plans for NYE were. Seems I'm not the only one who doesn't buy into the hyperbole.

What are your plans for NYE?

"As yet undecided!"
- Caroline Morahan, TV presenter, Off the Rails.

" I hate New Year so I'm gonna be at home in bed on the stroke of midnight whilst the rest of the world goes mental."
- Daniel Sandler, celebrity make-up artist and spokesperson for Bourjois Cosmetics.

"Something wild with someone wild in a wild place somewhere in the wilderness of the Dublin suburbs!"
- P.J. Gibbons, Editor of Social & Personal, Ireland's original society magazine.

"Haven't planned anything properly so it'll just be a party with friends thrown together at the last minute. Not a fan of New Year's though because it means Christmas is well and truly over :-("
- Karen Koster, TV presenter, Ireland AM.

"I usually dread New Years Eve, as I find that it never lives up to the hype. But so long as I spend it with the wonderful Malachy Geelan, no matter what we do, or where we go, I'll be the best New Year's Eve ever!"
- Sinead Ryan, PR guru, Presence Communications.

"I come home on Dec. 31st from Italy, so I'm still open to suggestions..."
- Quentin Fottrell, writer, broadcaster and socialite.

"New Years Eve tends to be more hassle then it's worth. I like to have a dinner, at home, a friends house or a restaurant. This year has not been decided yet "
- John Compton, model agency boss, Compton Models.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Seasons Greetings!

Merry Christmas to one and all!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Chrimbo fun!

Last night's FM104 The Juice Christmas par-tay in The Clarendon was a hoot. Pictured above are Deborah Magee from TV Now magazine (our TV correspondent) and presenter Taragh Loughrey - Grant.

The party was a double celebration as Taragh announced her engagement to TV producer boyfriend Adrian Carthy. He proposed at the Rockefeller Centre in New York last week with a brilliant cut solitare diamond ring. The happy couple have been together over 2 years and met while working for TV3. Congrats!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Wishful thinking

So, what's on your Christmas wish list? Me? Thankfully I want for nothing but love and happiness for everyone (and thankfully I already have both). Oh, and maybe one of those nice Louis Vuitton iPod cases.

Talking of cases, let's find out what would my fabulous gang like for Christmas…

What's on your Christmas wish list?

"A yellow diamond ring (for my right hand) - keep wishing eh!"
- Caroline Morahan, TV presenter, Off the Rails.

"I haven't really got a list as I'm pretty happy with my lot. But there's no harm in asking Santa to come down my chimney and give me my hair back, rid me of dark circles, and transform me in to Brad Pitt. Its not much to ask, is it?????"
- Daniel Sandler, celebrity make-up artist and spokesperson for Bourjois Cosmetics.

"A Land Cruiser and crate of Alka-Seltzer."
- P.J. Gibbons, Editor of Social & Personal, Ireland's original society magazine.

"MAC make-up palettes and a few lie-ins! The early morning's are killing me! That's all I want!"
- Karen Koster, TV presenter, Ireland AM.

"Anything from the new DunnesHome at George's Street - it's like Crate & Barrel without having to go to New York! A Philip Stein Teslar watch from Anike in BT - I could do with it's miraculous powers! And if I really could choose anything - a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year for my family, friends and everyone!"
- Sinead Ryan, PR guru, Presence Communications.

"Spending Christmas in Lake Como with my sister, her husband and my niece."
- Quentin Fottrell, writer, broadcaster and socialite.

"Health, happiness and a fruitful and peaceful future"
- John Compton, model agency boss, Compton Models.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

2005: A retrospective

As the social year draws to a close it's time to look back on what has been a great year. I've looked back through my diary and counted that I have attended 241 parties in 2005. The final party I have to attend will be the Christmas bash for FM104's The Juice radio show - how fitting that it should be the last one (and will hopefully bring the grand total to 242).

So out of all those shindigs what was the best one? That is a nigh on impossible decision to make. Maybe the BMW 3-Series launch or the Jameson launch of the new J-Bar at Dublin Airport. Could have been the H&M opening parties, the Nokia 8800 party or the Savoy 75th Anniversary celebration. The Eurovision in Kiev had many great parties. Perhaps the Hennessey Literary Awards, the L'Oreal Colour Trophy Awards or the Nokia Young Designer of the Year Awards. Or the many fashion shows, like Ben de Lisi for the Design Centre, Nicky Wallace, the UCD show or the two DIT shows? For me, every one was as good as the other and long may they continue.

Anyhoo, enough about me. I asked a coterie of fabulous people what they thought the best party of 2005 was for them. This is the first in a 3-part series, stay tuned for more!

What was the best party you attended in 2005?

"My friend Tracey Jane Cassidy's wedding reception held in the Natural History Museum in London. Words fall short - beyond description!"
- Caroline Morahan, TV presenter, Off the Rails.

"My friend got married 2 weeks ago and her reception was the most beautiful wedding ever. She's from one of England's finest families and no expense was spared. They had a 80`s pop star sing at the disco, we drank Bolly all night, and somebody sexy gave me their number!! The rest is a total blur.....hic!"
- Daniel Sandler, celebrity make-up artist and spokesperson for Bourjois Cosmetics.

"The Social & Personal Christmas Party at Cafe en Seine; for obvious reasons!"
- P.J. Gibbons, Editor of Social & Personal, Ireland's original society magazine.

"The combined launches of Fire followed by Club XXI, a great night where we checked out the gorgeous nibbles like quail eggs at Fire, followed by lounging on the beds of Club XXI, the best way to spend a Wednesday night. Also Miss Ireland this year was a fantastic night where we whooped and hollered for the MC Alan Hughes, Ireland AM's finest compere."
- Karen Koster, TV presenter, Ireland AM.

"The launch of H&M on Mary Street - cool tunes by Poppy Lloyd, excellent canapés, delicious champagne and the first chance worldwide to purchase from the Stella McCartney range - and, for a change, a really desirable goody bag - a lovely scarf by Stella."
- Sinead Ryan, PR guru, Presence Communications.

"My birthday dinner party in L'Gueuleton!!! ;-)"
- Quentin Fottrell, writer, broadcaster and socialite.

"My Christmas party on the 15th Dec in Pal Joey's ... it was just fantastic!"
- John Compton, model agency boss, Compton Models.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Social Prague

Pop star Dara Rolins with yours truly, pictured at the Winter Snow Party in Prague last weekend.


I'm just back from Prague, where I was enjoying some pre-Christmas cheer and much needed snow (it doesn't look like we will have a white Christmas here, unlike last year). Prague is a beautiful city, not much to do, compared with cities like Paris or London. Then again who has ever compared Prague with London or Paris?

I bumped into pop sensation Dara Rolins while on a night out. She's like the Czech Republic / Slovakia's version of Samantha Mumba or Rachel Stevens, a little blonde babe whose full of energy (actually she's more like Britney Spears). She performed her latest single, a cover of Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, at a club in Prague accompanied by her troupe of dancers.

I stayed in the fabulous Hotel Josef in the old part of the city and dined in great restaurants like Escape, La Perle de Prague, Fischer Café, Chez Marcel and No Stress, all of which I highly recommend should you find yourself there.

Friday, December 16, 2005

+++ bits + pieces +++

Anyhoo, I explained to her that the social scene has been all over the place, what with it being Christmas, and I'm currently sampling the delights of Prague until next week but she still wanted her fix.

So I told her .....

- My good pal Damian McHugh won a coveted Justice Media Award last Tuesday at the, you guessed it, Justice Media Awards, which were hosted by the Law Society at a luncheon in Blackhall Place. He won it for his best selling book Buying and Selling a Home in Ireland: A Need to Know Guide which is published by First Law. My lunch companion was none other than Michael Irvine, President of the Law Society, who told me he was looking forward to a skiing trip to Italy next week. Other winners included Mary Wilson and Philip Bouchier - Hayes of RTE and Joe burns from The Sunday Times.

- The Irish premiere of the much anticipated movie King Kong took place on Tuesday evening. It's absolutely awesome and you should miss it at your peril! Among those I spotted at the opening night were Joe Elliott of Def Leopard, TV presenters Anna Nolan and Pamela Flood, with her beau Michael Sharpe, Caroline Downey, Jean Crowley of Lillies and the Galligan sisters, Kerri, Bernardine and Leona (who have just moved into the fab new penthouse in Dakota Court) with Lisa McGovern.

- Top shirt maker T.M. Lewin has arrived in Dublin. The traditional tailor, which originated in Jermyn Street, London, has opened a store on South Anne Street, just off Dublin's busiest shopping thououghfare, Grafton Street. With beautiful shirts in all shapes, sizes and colours, you'd be hard pressed not to find something you like - I picked a gorgeous blue with orange stripe, long sleeved, double cuff Royal number.

At a champagne reception, hosted by the inimitable duo of David O'Brien and Puffin Moynihan, on Wednesday morning (where talk was of the King Kong premiere the night before) were Triona McCarthy, Ross Golden - Bannon, Pamela Flood, Bryan Walshe and the lovely Glenda Gilson (picking out a Christmas pressie for Brian perhaps?).

- Phone lines and e-mails – even jungle drums - were buzzing last night as the illusive Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas were being tracked down to Killarney. Surprise, surprise no hoteliers would confirm whether the beautiful couple would be sleeping under their roofs. A case of no room at the inn maybe as since the Christmas in Killarney activities have commenced, record bed nights have been reported, but what hotel would turn down the A-listers? Or more importantly suffer their wrath by releasing details that they were staying at the hotel in the first place? I for one appreciate a bit of privacy when I’m away.

The Zeta-Jones Douglas’s are big fans of Killarney - peace and quiet, great shopping, excellent golf, ice skating as good as Central Park and all without the glare of the dreaded paparazzi. My bet is on the Killarney Park Hotel.

- Newbridge Silverware, my favourite Irish luxury brand, have just announced that Yasmin Le Bon is to be the new face of it's jewellery collection. The top model will feel right at home among the other beautiful faces of Rosanna Davison, Samantha Mumba, Andrea Roche and Keith Woods. OK, maybe not Woods, who is the face of Newbridge Home. It was speculated that none other than Naomi Campbell was to do a deal with Newbridge, but I'm sure MD William Doyle, marketing boss Phil Donnelly and the girls at Looks One PR would much prefer to deal with Miss Le Bon.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Festive Urbanites

Niamh Farrell and Andrew O'Donoghue at the Urban Outfitters Christmas party.

Urban Christmas

Dublin's edgiest fashion and lifestyle store, Urban Outfitters, hosted a Chrimbo Bash in their store on Ceclia Street, in Dublin's Temple Bar last week. The funky guests, who were greeted by store manager Andrew O'Donoghue, and included Italian Vogue model Sorcha Tunney, enjoyed some yuletide spirit with WKD Original Vodka Red (very tasty!) and Ben & Jerry's Karmel Sutra (most delicious!).

Music scene regulars Shona Murray and Mimi Duffy, enjoyed some festive fun while catching up on the latest trends that include Vivienne Westwood, Sonia Reykiel and Kartell designer furniture. Captivating singer songwriter, Jenny Lindfor performed on the ground floor while kickin' Carbon DJ's DJSilth and Graham Goodwin from Fake were on the decks on the mezzanine.

Lemme hear say ho ... ho, ho.

All I want for Christmas ....

Gorgeous socialite Nadine Wai - O'Flynn peruses the Urban Outfitters fashion section at the stores recent Chrimbo Bash.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Wedding Bells

Conrad Gallagher, the enfant terrible of the Irish culinary world (and the art and business world's come to think of it), is set to wed this week. The former celebrity chef will marry his fiancé Candice in Cape Town, where they are now based.

Gallagher, who ran restaurants Peacock Alley, Mango Toast, Lloyds Brasserie and Ocean, was once the toast of the town. When things turned sour (remember the FitzWilliam Hotel stolen art fiasco?) he moved to London and then New York, where he also had short lived restaurant success.

Happier times are on the horizon though, and the chef, who is now with the Table Bay Hotel (Cape Town's best hotel), can look forward to settling down with his bride. Past loves have included Domini Kemp (with whom he has a daughter), Karla Elliott and model Micheala Brady.

Also looking forward to a life of wedded bliss is blonde model Vivienne Connolly, who wed her fiancé, scion of the Dunnes Stores family, Mark Dunne at Ballintubber Abbey recently. The couple have been together for a few years and have a young son. She wore Vera Wang, he wore a smile. They enjoyed a lavish reception at Ashford Castle, where guests included Glenda Gilson and Brian O'Driscoll, designer Ciaran Sweeney and John Compton.

Speaking of weddings, congratulations to fashionista Ciara Elliott who picked up an award for her wedding magazine, Confetti, at the recent PPA Awards, which were hosted in the Four Seasons Hotel last Thursday.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

It's Magic!

International man of mystery Keith Barry recorded his latest TV show on Tuesday night in Spirit Dublin (as opposed to Spirit New York). It was recorded for broadcast on RTE over the festive season and was full of psychological illusions, mind control and magic. What's Christmas without a bit of magic?

Keith's star continues to rise, as the success of his MTV show 'Brainwashed' prompted loads of interest in the USA and resulted in his own prime-time show with CBS, America’s No.1 Network. He's tricked the likes of Justin Timberlake, Colin Farrell, Kelly Osbourne, Joey Fatone, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan - though some might say it's not hard to trick that lot.

I can vouch for this guy's talent as I've seen him in action. A couple of years ago I met him at Slane Castle and he performed some pretty impressive tricks for me. He made a bottle of champagne appear from an exploding balloon. The champagne disappeared pretty quickly too, if you know what I mean.

Apart from looking like a member of Westlife, Keith’s talents range from sleight of hand effects (manipulating objects such as cards, coins, etc) to mind control effects (metal bending, reading people’s minds) to the "beyond belief" (making it snow in Dublin, catching a bullet in his teeth and driving while blindfolded on a public road).

Among those in awe on Tuesday night were Jim Corr, comedian Jason Byrne, Ray D'Arcy, rugby heads Denis Hickie, Brian O'Driscoll and Gordan D'Arcy. The lovely Glenda Gilson was there too, as was Liam Cunningham, Shay Healy, Robbie Fox, property magnate Johnny Ronan, Colin Devlin, boyband Zoo, Thomas Black and glamourous TV gals Caroline Morahan and Pamela Flood.

The Conway Sisters took to the stage, much to the delight of the guests (unlike their post X-Factor performance at London club GAY, where they didn't fare as well).

Keith Barry Live with Friends will air on the 29th of this month on RTE.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Hair apparent

Melanie Morris, editor of Image magazine, pictured with James Brown at the Clairol Root Touch-Up launch in No. 10 Ormonde Quay on Thursday.

+++ bits + pieces +++

- Ray D'arcy and his team over at Today FM launched their latest project on Wednesday night, in association with Meteor. A pictorial book entitled 'Us' chronicles a typical day in Ireland, namely the 1st of October 2005. It was the brainchild of Ray and created by the listeners of his show who sent in over 20,000 photos. The book contains 2,000 of these and is a riotous display of fun and laughter, sadness and meloncholy - an emotional rollercoaster if you will. Proceeds are in aid of ChildLine and it's available in bookstores now (be quick though, it's selling fast).

- What has your boss organised for the christmas party? Whatever it is I'm sure it's not a patch on the Christmas party that Sinead Ryan and Joanne Byrne of Presence Communications have organised for their company. The PR princesses have taken their workforce to New York for a long weekend of pre-Chrimbo shopping. Nice!

- Celebrity hair stylist James Brown is a country lad at heart, or so he tells me. He was in Dublin yesterday to launch Clairol's new Root Touch-Up product at a lunch in swanky No. 10 Ormonde Quay. James, who is based in NYC, built a house in Galway sometime ago and spends as much time possible there, where he has a number of horses. He'll even fly over for a day if he can!

- "Ich bin ein Berliner", so said JFK. Will model Andrea Roche be saying that too this weekend? She is travelling over to Berlin tomorrow to attend the European Film Academy Awards as a special guest of Jameson, who continue to support the arts. Flying the flag for Ireland at the ceremony will be Mark O'Halloran, who wrote and starred in Adan & Paul. He is up for the European Screenwriter Award.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Socialites & Personalities

Andrew Rudd and Micheál Burke with publisher PJ Gibbons pictured at the Social & Personal bash last night.

S&P Top 100

A hot contender for my party of the year accolade goes to the Social & Personal Top 100 Party People of the Year bash which was hosted by dashing publisher PJ Gibbons last night in Café en Seine. The guest list was a veritable who's who of Irish society, turned out in their most glamorous threads (the Christmas theme called for OTT Glam).

The judging panel of socialite Richard Kavanagh, PR guru Joanne Byrne, restaurateur Ronan Ryan, model Gail Kaneswaran and columnist Jason O'Callaghan had a difficult task selecting the top 100 from a prospective list of over 700 champagne quaffing, canapé scoffing, dancing, prancing par-tay people.

The top 5 Party People of 2005 are….

1. Cecelia Ahern (author)
2. Robbie Keane (footballer)
3. Gráinne Seoige (broadcaster)
4. Brendan Gleeson (actor)
5. Kian Egan (Westlifer)

Unfortunately Cecelia was unable to attend the event as she was promoting her latest book in the UK, but the Taoiseach's daughter was represented by her mother Miriam and sister Georgina.

Others making the list included Former Miss World Rosanna Davison, A1 Team Ireland boss Mark Kershaw, John McKibbon, William Doyle of Newbridge Silverware, Stephen Gately, Hazel Kaneswaran, Debbie O'Donnell of TV3, DJ Hugh Scully, Colin Farrell, Glenda Gilson, Samantha Mumba and yours truly!

Model Andrea Roche caused a stir with the paparazzi as she arrived with her fiancé PJ Mansfield, her new rock of an engagement ring glistening in the flash bulbs. Smiling for the cameras, the happy couple (who are both on 'the list') have not yet set a date for the wedding.

Also enjoying the night were Amy Buckeridge and singer Fionnuala Sherry of Secret Garden, Leann De Cerbo and Marie - Louise Kenny, Niall McCrudden, Laura Slattery, Astrid Brennan and Corinna Field, agents Sean Montague and Brendan Scully with actor and dancer Kevin Ryan, who has just returned from L.A. where he was working on The Fast & The Furious 3. He will also be participating in some of MTV's productions next year. Watch that space (you know how talented I am at making predictions).

TV presenter Alan Hughes told me what a fantastic time he had in London at the X-Factor last weekend (Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell are lovely people). Alan Amsby, gallery owner Noelle Campbell - Sharpe, the original party girl Terry Keane, Sinead Ryan and Malachy Geelan, Dara Boyd, a blooming Amanda Brunker and Danielle Hayes with her new husband Jean - Luc Laydevant were all full of festive spirit.

Party veteran Peter Stringfellow, who opens his Dublin lap-dancing club soon, popped in to say hello and the elusive celebrity chef Jean - Christophe Novelli also made an appearance.

Jason O'Callaghan, there with girlfriend Etain Boyd, informed me that he is becoming a partner in Eddie Irvine's Cocoon bar, where he plans to open Ireland's first media club. Also in party mood were Lisa Harrison, Joanne Rochford, Niall O'Farrell of Blacktie, Cindy Caffola, Peter Mark's Gary Kavanagh, Elisabeth Fitzpatrick, model Dearbhla Hogan, designer Virginia Macari, with her sister Sonia, and Mitch Healy.

A plethora of guests retired to Lillies for more dancing and drinking till the early hours, where every table in the member's bar was occupied. Not bad for a wet Tueday night in Dublin - but then again, it was a very Social and Personal night.

Winter wonderland

Actor Kevin Ryan with Sean Montague pictured at the Social & Personal Top 100 Part People bash last night in Café en Seine.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Milano @ 10

Champagne flowed in Milano restaurant on Dawson Street last night as the eatery celebrated it's 10th birthday. As one of Ireland's favourite and popular restaurants, Milano's is synonymous with good food and stylish surrounds. Last night the place was turned into a club as revellers danced till late into the night to the sounds from Extreme Rhythym and The Camembert Quartet - I always think that's just a posh name for The Cheesy Four! They're very good, honestly.

Over the years the place has seen celebrities dine at various outlets to include Gwyneth Palthrow, Kevin Spacey, Christy Moore, Gabriel Byrne, Pierce Brosnan, Brian McFadden, Sharon & Jim Corr, Stephen Rae, Sinead O’Connor, Des Bishop to name but a few.

Anyway, those of you in the know will be aware that Milano itself is an institution when it comes to pizzas, and off course their famous dough balls. It's part of the Pizza Express chain, but hey, Milano sounds much more cosmopolitian.

Dining on the famous pizza at last night's do were models Sarah McGovern and Roz Lipsett, Wynn and Shirley Beere, Gavin Lambe - Murphy and Richard Kavanagh, who is gearing up for the Social & Personal party tonight. Also there was Louise Osbourne, who is married to Louis Osbourne. She is looking forward to spending Christmas in Thailand with her super-star DJ husband.

Elaine Roddy, TV presenter Laura Woods (who will present Winning Streak while Derek Mooney is busy with You're a Star), Dermott Doran with his son Dean and stylist Cathy O'Connor were also there.

Milano has restaurants in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway and for the rest of the week each venue will be holding it’s own party night to celebrate 10 years in Ireland. The newest branch opens in Dundrum at Christmas - as if we didn't have enough reasons to hang out in the southern suburb of Dundrum.

+++ bits + pieces +++

- Olivia Morahan is set to leave her position in Burrell Marketing & Publicity to set up her own consultancy. As well as managing her sister, TV star Caroline Morahan, she will offer a PR and media relations service under the guise of Morahan Media. After 3 years in Burrell, Olivia is looking forward to branching out on her own and will be fully established from early January.

- Jean Butler and Cuan Hanly are leaving Ireland. The talented duo (she was the original lead in Riverdance, he is a fashion designer) are getting ready to move to New York, where Cuan has just been appointed Creative Director of the fahion brand Penguin. The husband and wife team have been living in the country for some time and are looking forward to city life once again.

- TV producer Dylan Owens had a last minute panic hours before his wedding, which took place at Barberstown Castle at the weekend. No, he didn't have second thoughts, but rather he mislaid the trousers of his wedding suit, which was designed by Nicky Wallace. After frantic 5am calls the situation was resolved and the nuptuals went ahead without a hitch.

- Robbie Fox wants an early night! The boss of top celebrity nightspot Renards has let it be known to members that he will not entertain latecomers. A notice posted in the club asks members not to arrive after 3am as he doesn't want to be in the position of refusing entry.

- My very best wishes go out to Fidelma Kelly who was involved in an awful car accident last week. Thankfully Fidelma, who works with top cosmetics firm Clarins, was not seriously injured in the smash, which occurred in Co. Louth, but will be out of action for a while.

- Former Rose of Tralee Tamara Gervasoni is currently in Africa on a humanitarian trip with aid agency GOAL. Tamara, who is in Sudan, decided to embark on the mission at the last minute and will be away for the next number of weeks helping with food distribution and healthcare.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Joining the Q

Trying to secure a dinner reservation on Friday evening for Saturday night is a near impossible task, especially in a moneyed city like Dublin. We just can't wait to part with our cash in return for overpriced food in trendy surroundings. With no room at the inn, socialite Quentin Fottrell was without venue for his birthday dinner at the weekend.

Ever the helpful friend though, I managed to book a table for 10 at 8pm on a Saturday night. It's the first time I have been thankful for the 'no reservation' policy that French restaurant l'Gueuleton operates. As I waited to put my name down for a table I was made aware of my prime position of 4th in the queue (me queuing, can you imagine!). In no time at all said queue stretched the entire length of the block. It was like the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld.

After a quick aperitif in Brooks Hotel (did I mention they have a new screening room there?), we ate like queens in l'Geuleton. Hilary Cahill, Peter O'Grady, Alan Whelan, Caroline and Olivia Morahan and Olivia's husband Fergal Noonan, Micheál Burke and I all joined in to celebrate the joy of Quentin's birthday.

Peter was wearing the same jumper as the birthday boy, albeit in a different colour.
"The brighter one is a much smaller size", declared Peter of his one.
"Yeah, 5 years ago, maybe!" quipped Quentin.

It's not unlike Q to be witty but on Saturday night he was on fire. We rounded off our night in Renards, where I also spotted rugby player Shane Byrne, Stuart Musgrave, Glenda Gilson and Today FM's Paul Collins.

Question of the night: Whose Bentley Arnage did I spot clamped on St. William Street at the weekend?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Close up

Socialite Karla Elliott and her daughter Emily at the DIT Fashion show in Vicar Street last week. Pic.: Michael Chester.

Strike a Pose

A design from the collection of Lucy Moller of NCAD, winner of the Student Design competition at the recent DIT Fashion show. Pic.: Michael Chester.

DIT Do IT again

The fabulous DIT fashion show rocked Vicar Street on Wednesday night this week for the second time this year. With this year's theme being Burlesque, students banded together to produce a magnificent event which was in aid of Make Poverty History and in association with AIB.

Collections were from Jigsaw, M&S, AWear, G-Star and My Lilly, and keeping with the theme of the show there were plenty of revealing outfits on display, in particular lingerie from Le Petite Coquette. A great collection of menswear was from Lara, Jack Jones, Louis Copeland and Persona. Evening wear was from Julien, Lipsy, Chica, Rococo and acclaimed Irish designer Ciaran Sweeney. All to a pumping soundtrack from DJ Mo Kelly, who also managed to assist the amazing performance by a group of breakdancers.

The Student Design award was hotly contested as always with daring and innovative creations from the cream of young and upcoming talent. The judging panel, who consisted of Aisling Kilduff of the DesignCentre, stylist Celia Holman - Lee and designers Aideen Bodkin and Synan O'Mahony, had a tough time deciding. However, Lucy Moller of NCAD walked away with the accolade.

Among the fashionistas out in force were stylist Roxanne Parker, Astrid Brennan, Kerri Galligan, Sean Montague and Brendan Scully of the bScene agency, publicists Sinead Ní Chonaill and Tara O'Connor, agent John Compton, Ronan Healy of Catapult (who designed an amazing stage), Frances Winston and Niall McCrudden.

Show director Louise Conlon (who with Laura Daly and Kate McDonald was responsible for the extravaganza), was delighted with the event, as were all in attendance.

The future of Ireland's fashion scene is here.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Good goods come in small packages

Brooks Hotel in Dublin hosted an intimate evening of champagne and canapés on Wednesday last to promote the Small Luxury Hotels of the World Group, of which it is a proud member. Ireland now has a membership of 8 hotels within the SLH group, with the newest addition being The G in Galway, which was designed in conjunction with Philip Treacy.

Other hotels in the collective are Glenlo Abbey in Galway, Hayfield Manor in Cork, Dunbrody Country House in Waterford, Park Hotel Kenmare, the Dunraven Arms in Adare, La Stampa in Dublin and Tinakilly Country House in Wicklow.

Between them they have collected numerous awards such as Condé Nast Traveller Top 25 Spas in the World (Park Hotel Kenmare), AA Irish Hotel of the Year (Hayfield Manor) and RAI Best Restaurant (Dunbrody House Hotel). Celebrities and well-known people such as President Mary McAleese, Pierse Brosnan, Drew Barrymore and Senator Hilary Clinton are among the guests who have stayed in the hotels.

Last night also served as a special occasion as it was the unveiling of the new screening room / mini cinema in Brooks Hotel. Stephanie Hayes told me it was the first of it's kind for a Dublin hotel, and the guests, who included Fergal Breen, Rebecca O'Neill from TV3 and Joan Scales, were the first to enjoy it.

Question of the week: Which rising star in the art world claims to be possessed by demons? The creative type really believes that bad spirits live inside their body. Bad spirits? More like paint fumes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

in association with The French Embassy, runs from 22nd November to 1st December at the IFI.

Opening Night

Francophiles, movie buffs and all-round culture vultures gathered in the IFI last night for the opening night of the Martell Cognac IFI French Film Festival. Now in it's 6th year the festival aspires to reflect the key position film occupies in French culture and the popularity of French cinema in Ireland.

For the next ten days the best in French cinema will be shown - probably the only chance to see these great movies on the big screen in the country. It is a unique chance to enjoy a diverse selection of challenging films from one of the most prolific film-producing countries in the world. Ever wonder why Hollywood remake so many great French films? Me neither, it's obvious.

The festival opened with the stylised crime thriller 36 Quai Des Orfevres, which starred Gerard Depardieu and Daniel Auteuil. At the Buena Vista International, Deirdre Farrell and Alex Ricard of Irish Distillers, who eloquently compared the art of making a movie with the art of making cognac.

Tonight sees the gala night of the festival with guests of honour HE Frédéric Grasset, French Ambassador to Ireland, and actress Virginie Ledoyen, who stars in the gala screening Saint Ange. Virginia will also partake in a Q&A session after the screening tonight.

Also attending the festival will be Bertrand Tavernier, who will be present at the screening of his new movie Holy Lola on the 28th. Following this, music composer Henri Texier, one of the great patriarchs of French jazz, will give a live concert of his score for Holy Lola. Other guests include Anne Fontaine, the Larrieu brothers and Isabelle Carré, many of whom will take part in numerous talks and discussions following the screenings of their respective films.

So, for a bit of joie de vivre get to the IFI tout de suite.

Monday, November 21, 2005

+++ bits + pieces +++

- Breffni Burke of Slattery Communications is set to marry her boyfriend, New Yorker Ari Lowenstein. The pair met at Quentin Fottrell's birthday bash two years ago and have been dividing their time between Rome and Dublin ever since. Ari proposed to Breffni last week and she will soon depart these shores to join him in Italy.

- Also recently engaged were Jim Corr, of The Corrs, and his girlfriend Gayle Williamson, who is a former Miss Northern Ireland. Despite their on-off relationship, the boy from Dundalk asked the girl from Lurgan to wed and she accepted. No date set yet, but it is sure to be a big day.

- There must be something in the water! Former Miss Ireland and top model Andrea Roche and her beau PJ Mansfield recently got engaged too. They have been dating for almost 4 years, and the announcement was widely expected. Indeed, I met her recently at the Jimmy Choo party in Brown Thomas and asked her myself. Of course she denied there were to be any announcements, but she did have a wry smile on her face.

- The Jean-Christophe Novelli mystery continues. Much speculation has been made about his association with top Dublin restaurant La Stampa and it seems nigh on impossible to eat in the restaurant while he is in the kitchen. I had dinner there on Saturday night with restaurant critic Ross Golden - Bannon and unsurprisingly we were informed that JC was not in situ. Instead the head chef was Andrew Turner from Criterion. Nonetheless the food was very good, but the service left a lot to be desired.

- Ex formula 1 driver turned international jet set playboy Eddie Irvine celebrated his 40th birthday last Friday night in his trendy bar Cocoon. Among the guests at the tightly guarded invite only bash were actor Patrick Bergin, Karla Elliott, the beautiful Crimmins triplets and rugby star Brian O'Driscoll.

Question of the week: Who was the girl who, after being rude to all and sundry, got very drunk at a recent press event? What started with her air Kissing the other guests ended with her stumbling out on the street muttering "stupid c*#*s".

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Renowned make-up artist Barbara Daly at lunch in the Herbert Park Hotel yesterday.

Eyes Wide Open

Renowned make-up artist Barbara Daly was guest at an event hosted by Tesco Ireland yesterday in the Herbert Park Hotel. Barbara, who has developed the hugely successful Make-Up range for Tesco, is the original celebrity make-up artist.

Her clients include Gwynth Paltrow, but more interestingly she was a make-up artist to Lady Thatcher and the late Diana, Princess of Wales. She also worked with Stanley Kubrick on his cult classic movie, A Clockwork Orange.

Ever with her finger on the pulse, Barbara has developed some exciting new products to compliment her range. Made up eyes is a must for this Autumn / Winter so her new Designer Eyes is a must have. It's an innovative new collection of eye shadows and mascaras to illuminate your eyes this season, whatever the weather. She's also introduced a truly magic eye wand in the shape of the Double Dimension mascara. This pioneering concept has been engineered to allow you to apply mascara to the lower lashes with precision, thanks to it's dual brush system.

I joined Barbara and her husband (and business partner) Laurence Tarlo for lunch, Carmel Higgins and Anne Boylan, Emma-Jane Power and Freda Molamphy were also among the guests. Over lunch Barbara expressed their love for Ireland and explained that they had been in the country since the weekend. She also revealed to me that they are likely to be selling their holiday home in Provence, with a possible view to purchasing one here.

For the foreseeable future though, they will remain at their Dorset home, where she is looking forward to celebrating the festive season, and has already bought an 8ft Christmas tree.

I can only imagine the size of the house!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

+++ bits + pieces +++

- I wonder who will officially open the SIAR 50 exhibition in the Irish Museum of Modern Art tomorrow night? President Mary McAleese was due to officiate, but unfortunately she was taken into hospital on Sunday night after falling ill. Thankfully, I hear Her Excellency is on the mend again, but for the next few days all of her engagements have been postponed or cancelled.

- Fashion chain store Sasha is sure to leave everybody tickled pink, as the company has just donated over €197,000 to Action Breast Cancer, a project of the Irish Cancer Society. Sasha sold a specially designed scarf during the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with 100% of the sales being donated to Action Breast Cancer.

- Melanie Morris has started her new job as Editor of popular woman's magazine Image. I met her at a recent lunch in the Conrad Hotel, to celebrate the launch of Johnson's Holiday Skin, and she was very excited about her new role. Expect great things!

- Speaking of hospital, TV3 presenter Alan Hughes made his first public appearance last week after a recent hospitalisation. He attended Brian Kennedy's book launch and was looking well and rested.

- And speaking of Brian Kennedy, I see that he is to represent Ireland in next year's Eurovision Song Contest. Brian let the news slip on Ray D'Arcy's radio show recently.


I had a wonderful weekend in London, where I stayed with my very dear friend Rebecca Jane Higgins, in her beautiful new flat in Kensington, and hung out with her partner in crime Aysha Campion - Awwad.

As always I must let you know of some of the cool things I experienced, and don't think should be missed, should you find yourself in the U.K. capital anytime soon. On Friday night we went to Guilty Pleasures, a fantastic night in Islington, which was celebrating it's 1st birthday. It's all the music you love but may not admit to loving. Every song had the crowd going - Fleetwood Mac, Bon Jovi, The Doobie Brothers, Dolly Parton, Chas 'n Dave etc.

I spotted singer Charlotte Church and her boyfriend, rugby player Gavin Henson in the crowd. A big fan of Guilty Pleasures, Char even sang in the live karaoke, which we missed unfortunately. She is quite small in real life, but very beautiful and sweet looking. Gavin is smaller than I imagined too (for a rugby player).

At the Carling Islington Academy, this night has garnered a cult following and can only go from strength to strength. Remember School Disco? Guilty Pleasures is it's much cooler big brother.

Other places I recommend are O Satsuma for sushi in Soho and Shakespeare's Head pub on Carnaby Street for a delicious Big Ben burger. Refuel @ The Soho Hotel and LAB for cocktails. Portobello Market for amazing vintage fashion and the Borough Markets near London Bridge for food and wine. Dancing at the Shadow Lounge and, of course, no visit would be complete without dinner in Balans.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Retail therapy

Bronagh Dorian and Hilary Cahill pictured at the launch party for the new Topshop store in Dublin on Thursday night.

Topshop opens

Fashion parties continued in the capital on Thursday night as Topshop opened their new flagship store on Thursday night. Based in the landmark building previously occupied by Habitat, the new women's wear Dublin branch can now rival Oxford Circus, London, such is the extensive range.

Despite being a wet and windy evening, the clever party organisers had built a temporary outdoor shelter, complete with fresh flowers, cushioned seating and fancy lights, to accommodate the smokers among the party people.

The new swanky store incorporates a much sought after vintage clothing section, new improved changing rooms, style advisors and a designer section, with special commissioned ranges from Irish designers. It's 3 floors of retail therapy.

Among those enjoying the champagne (and 25% discount for the girls!) were stylist Roxanne Parker, TV3's Debbie O'Donnell, designer Antonia Campbell - Hughes (who is part of a the Irish designer clothing line in the store), Bronagh Dorian, Peter Loyd, Helen Cody, publisher Trevor White and singer Samantha Mumba.

Question of the night: Which veteran socialite, and life and soul of any party, arrived late and was refused entry?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Rock On

Triona 'Party' McCarthy and Matthew Kirton (of The Lancaster Bombers) pictured at the ALLSAINTS launch.

No Saints

Continuing the fashion trend, I also attended the launch party for the amazing new ALLSAINTS store in the Powerscourt Centre. Inspired by vintage clothing, rebellion and rock 'n roll, Ireland's first ever branch was kickin' last night as the party spilled out in the shopping centre and outside into the street.

Setting itself aside from the classic fashion launch, it was the lure of rock group the Lancaster Bombers (a wild performance) and the electro beats on DJs Bones & Ramsey (fantastic set!), that made this launch the perfect blend of rock and fashion. Never following trends, the brands signature style is instantly recognisable to those 'in the know'. ALLSAINTS is anti-trend. Mixing the old with the new, the pristine with the battered, graphics and tailoring, the casual with the formal, ALLSAINTS is edgy and notable for careful attention to detail.

Rock chics and fashion boys were out in force and included Tom Kennedy of Alias Tom, model Avila Lipsett and Garret Gunnigle, designer Virginia Macari and her sister Sonia, artist Darryn Lee and Maria Fusco. Nadine Wai - O'Flynn (looking fab in red fur) and Michael Kelly, agency boss John Compton and Marlon Jimenez were also rockin' and enjoying the Ketel One cocktails.

Also there were socialite Gavin Lambe - Murphy and publisher Michael O'Doherty. Have they fallen out? Gavin used to work for Michael as Editor of VIP magazine, but in this week's issue of Micheal's new Capital magazine, Gavin is featured in the Top 10 Most Annoying People in Dublin. Ouch!

I also spyed makeup artist Derek Carberry, Count Ziggy Balinsky and model Fergus Kealy, who will move into his swanky new Smithfield apartment this weekend. Beauty writer and broadcaster Triona McCarthy was also there. She has just set-up a partnership with stylist Cathy O'Connor and the duo are set to be Dublin's answer to Trinny & Susannah.

After the ALLSAINTS party a posse decamped to trendy bar Cocoon, where top model Gail Kaneswaren was hosting her ever popular Wednesday night, Chilli Funk. It's definitely become a haunt of the party posse, with the likes of Trevor Musgrave (driving a Bentley Arnage this week), Romy Carroll, Laura Cave (who celebrates her birthday next week), Nigel Linden and Ciara Carroll.

Incidently, Cocoon owner and ex-Formula 1 driver Eddie Irvine will also celebrate his birthday next week. The international playboy turns 40 and is hosting a big bash in the bar next Friday night.

I'm off to London, where I intend to have a great weekend - hope you do too.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Bags of Fun

Yours truly and my good friend Judith Giltinane at the opening party for the new Mary Street H&M store on Wednesday night.
Pic.: Sean Brady.

Shopping frenzy at H&M

Last night was a who's who of the Dublin social set as a host a familiar faces came out to play. My first port of call was to the much-anticipated opening party of the new H&M store on Mary Street, which incorporated the launch of the new Stella for H&M range by Stella McCartney.

The Stella McCartney collaberation, which follows the hugely successful autumn 2004 Karl Lagerfield collection, is for the autumn 2005 season and includes around 40 limited edition specially designed pieces. She launched her label in conjunction with the Gucci Group, but now her designs are more accessible than ever thanks to H&M, who are synonymous with affordable up-to-date fashions. Those at last night's party were the first in the world to buy this very special range.

The interior of the new Mary Street H&M is very funky, all bright colourful lights and cool wall graphics. Very bohemian, very Urban Outfitters. The store is packed to the rafters with great fashions for trend conscious girls and boys, with everything from hoodies in a variety of colours to faux fur and glitzy tops.

Guests enjoyed champagne and canapés as they made good use of the special 25%, which was available for the evening. I spotted singer and actress Samantha Mumba with an armful of clothes. She's obviously a fan. Others there included TV3 presenter Karen Koster, Roisin Ní Mhordha, publisher PJ Gibbons, Niall McCrudden, and Ruth Scott.

I bumped into Tonie Walsh, well-known DJ and club promoter, and we reminisced about the closure of HAM at The PoD last week. Ever the authority on the Irish clubbing scene, Tonie filled me in on the history of the legendary club night. Patrons included the Spice Girls, Lisa Stansfield, Boyzone (Shayne, Ronan and Stephen came down fairly regularly) and Holly Johnson. Tonie was responsible for turning The Chocolate Bar into The Abattoir (with big slices of bacon hanging from hooks over the bar and bar staff dressed in bloody aprons). HAM is dead, long live HAM!

At the launch I also spotted Richard Dins of H&M, Carol Hunt, Zoe Case and Bea Kelliher, all of whom were shaken by DJ Poppy Lloyd's eclectic mix - or was it Malachy Geelans eclectic mix? He took over the decks while she did some shopping!

Question of the night: Whose chauffeur driven Mercedes S-Class got a ticket from a patrolling Garda? Parked on a pedestrian street with no number plate on the front, the car was bound to attract unwanted attention. The couple can well afford to pay the fine, but should probably get rid of their lax driver.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Pavee Lackeen

Perry Ogden is probably most famous for his fashion photography. His work has appeared in the likes of The Face, Vogue, The Sunday Times and Harpers & Queen. A far cry from a travellers halting site in Ringsend, the setting for his debut film, Pavee Lackeen, which had it's gala screening in the IFI last night, in association with The Dubliner magazine.

Following the life of an itinerent girl, Winnie, and her family, Pavee Lackeen gives an insight to the life style of the travelling community. It tracks, among other things, the family's attempt at moving out of their mobile home and into a house, Winnie's disruptive behaviour at school, her suspension from said school and subsequent delinquency. From the beginning I was unsure as to whether I was watching a real-life documentary, a ficticious movie or a bit of both. Was it cinéma vérité, produced for our voyeuristic enjoyment? Or an exposé of the underbelly of Irish society in these prosperous times?

During a brief Q&A session after the screening, Perry tried, unsuccessfully in my opinion, to justify the elements of the movie that left me unsettled. When asked what he hoped the traveller family will get out of the movie he said he hoped that they got the house they so badly needed. He also told us that the family was on the poor scale as traveller families go.

True, it is a shame that in Dublin today, where a few months ago a house on Shrewsbury Road, Dublin 4, sold for €58million, a family can be living at the side of the road with no toilet facilities or running water. However, during the film we see that the family is indeed offered a house. It just wasn't in the area that they wanted, which was Ringsend. So they stayed by the roadside and were no further on in their quest. In fact they were evicted from their spot and moved to a less salubrious location nearby.

Well, I'm sorry but I feel it hard to sympathise with their situation. I'm sure many of us would love to live in the affluent area of Dublin 4, but the reality is that few of us can.

All in all, Pavee Lackeen, for which Ogden won the Best Irish Film Award at the recent IFTAs, left a bad taste in my mouth. I felt sorry for the family, but sorry that their lives have been projected onto the movie screen for our amusement and entertainment. Sorry that most of the characters didn't even get a name change. Sorry because I felt that they had been somewhat exploited.

Apart from all that the movie doesn't really tell you what you weren't already well aware of. It's long and exhaustive in places (though sometimes funny too), has no narrative and leaves many questions unanswered. Ultimately, for me, it served only the purpose of voyeurism. Which, I guess in today's world, is big business.

Joining Perry Ogden in the audience and at the drinks reception were Bono's wife Ali Hewson, looking very beautiful and unassuming, artists Louis le Brocquy, his wife Anne Madden and Guggi, who recently opened his latest exhibition in the Solomon Gallery.

Ronan Ryan of Town Bar & Grill was there, as was Odette Rocha, looking great in a twenties inspired outfit. Also present were Robert O'Byrne, actors Hilary Cahill and Eamonn Owens, Ingmar Kiang and Trevor White of The Dubliner and singer Paul Brady.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Daniel Sandler and Lesley Chivers pictured at a dinner hosted by Bourjois in Ely last night.

Ely, ely, oohhh

I hosted a (rather wild) party last Friday night, which ended up going on till late Saturday morning. I'd better not even begin to describe the activities of some of the well-known guests, as I myself shall be spreading that gossip across dinner tables for some time to come!

Anyhoo, after much weekend merriment I was delighted with a quiet start to my week. I attended a dinner last night in the wonderful Ely Wine Bar & Restaurant for celebrity makeup artist Daniel Sandler and Head of Press for Bourjois Cosmetics, the beautiful Lesley Chivers. Daniel, who acts as international makeup artist for Bourjois, was in town to meet with editor of VIP magazine Emer O'Reilly - Hyland, with whom he was doing a feature.

Ever the busy man, while he was here Daniel also managed to fit in an appearance on breakfast TV show, Ireland AM and do a slot on The Ray D'Arcy Show on Today FM. By the end of this week he'll be in New York dispensing his valuable secrets.

When I asked him what his secret to looking good after a night out was, he replied "Wayne, you know all my secrets."

Among the guests at the dinner were Bairbre Power, RTE producer Niamh Guckian - Ahern, publicist Louise Byrne, Luca Hickey of Bourjois Ireland, Colm Banville, whose father John has just won the Man Booker prize for his novel The Sea, and Frances Winston. Some of whom were thrilled to hear my stories about Friday night.

I just knew they were worth keeping to myself!

Monday, November 07, 2005

+++ bits + pieces +++

- Legendary gay club night HAM at the PoD closed it's doors last Friday night. After over 7 years at the cutting edge of music and design, the boys behind HAM, Rory O'Neill and Karim Rehmani - White, decided to finish on a high.

- The Thrills are set to make an appearance at a special event for MINI at CrawDaddy this week. The group are expected to pocket in excess of €30,000 for the performance at the MINI adventure. As MINI ambassadors, each of the 5 members of the group drive sporty MINI cars, a perfect partnership as the car manufacturer are trying to target more male drivers.

- Congrats to Mark Cagney who won the "TV Personality of the Year" award at the IFTA awards at the weekend. Mark, who co-presents the popular morning TV show Ireland AM, beat off competition from the likes of Pat Shortt of RTE and Sky News Ireland's Grainne Seoige, who has been nominated 3 times for the award and was tipped to win. Incidently, Mark was one of a number of guests at a MINI event in Italy last week.

- Jackie Brannigan, marketing manager of Nokia Ireland, is leaving the mobile firm. After 8 years there she departs at the end of the week to join Canon Ireland.

- TV3's new talk show, The Brendan Courtney Show, makes it's debut on Wednesday night. Guests for the first show are Anne Robinson, Keith Duffy, Hector and Alan Shortt. In a current radio ad campaign Brendan, who has been based in the UK for the last number of years, can be heard saying that Wednesday is "the hub of the week when even the most hardened party animal is at home". Not true Brendan! We all know that Wednesday is the busiest day on the social scene.

- Following a sensational summer of Budweiser music events including unforgettable performances by The Magic Numbers and the Kings of Leon in Dublin, the West of Ireland is set to come alive with three rocking nights of BudRising-mania. Music lovers are in for a treat, as Budweiser proudly presents performances by Mercury nominees The Zutons, the ultra funky Groove Armada and home grown legends in the making Republic of Loose at some of the best gig spots in Galway, Limerick and Castlebar November 17th – 19th.

Friday, November 04, 2005

GLM @ 30

Social stalwart Gavin Lambe - Murphy celebrated his 30th birthday on Wednesday night with a party for his closest friends and allies in Eddie Irvine's trendy bar, Cocoon. With TV crew in situ (GLM's latest accessory), the boy wonder was late for his own party as he was busy having a leisurely dinner in the Trocadero. Is being late for your own party the latest craze, as demonstrated by Fumi Giwa - Byrne last week?

Gavin's latest brainwave is to open a restaurant and, as with all good business ideas, the ball must get rolling with a reality TV documentary. I'm not too sure what the format is, but at the recent Oasis party I was interviewed by the production crew and answered such questions as: If Gavin was a food what would he be? Who Does Gavin Lambe - Murphy think he is? And, what will Gavin bring to the restaurant world? Questions we all want answers to.

Never one to miss a good photo opp, Gav recruited a homeless person and bestowed some birthday goodwill by inviting him to his shindig. A nice gesture, compared to the recent antics of another socialite, Stavros Niarchos III, in L.A.

While you never know what to expect from Gavin, one thing is you can rely on is that his birthday parties are always memorable. I recently found a picture taken at one of his past birthday bashes, which was hosted at Club Anabel in, well, I'm not sure what year it was - his true age was a closely guarded secret back then! Bubble Brothers provided the champers and it was one of the best nights I'd had that year.

Sinead Ryan and Aoife Donohue, model Gail Kaneswaren and Cindy Cafola were all there last night. Paolo Kingsley, however, was unable to attend.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Going for Gold

A Ben de Lisi creation on the catwalk of last night's Design Centre Winter Fashion Show, in association with Moet & Chandon.

Food & Fahion

Trevor White, the inimitable publisher of The Dubliner magazine, is an affable man, with a surprisingly acerbic wit. Last night he launched his latest Top 100 Restaurants guide in the stylish and dark environs of The Morrison Hotel. In his speech he made reference to being rid of "Conjob Gallagher and the invisible Frenchman" - that's Conrad Gallagher and Jean Cristophe Novelli to those of you not up on your gastro gossip.

The best selling guide is now in it's third year, and proving to be as popular as ever. New additions include Troy Maguire's l'Gueleton, Harvey Nic's new restaurant and Mackeral on Grafton Street. Old favourites like Bang, Shanahans and Odessa get better reviews.

Ross Lewis and the team at Chapter One restaurant picked up the Santa Rita wine sponsored People's Choice Award. I spotted author Marisa Mackle, Sharon Plunkett and Sinead Ni Conaill, who looked great in a black and white ensemble. Richard Kavanagh was looking refreshed after spending the weekend in Kerry at Noelle Campbell - Sharpe's Cill Riallig artist retreat.

I dashed off as quick as I arrived though, as I was late for the Design Centre Winter Fashion Show, which was taking place in the magnificent No. 15 St. Stephen's Green. This beautiful house, which was restored by Hugh O'Regan of the Thomas Read Group, looks more amazing every time I visit.

Enjoying the Moet & Chandon reception was guest of honour, internationally acclaimed designer Ben de Lisi. He'd been in Dublin since Saturday and last night's reception was his last port of call before appearing on the Ireland AM TV show this morning.

Among those guests were Debbie O'Donnell, Constance Harris, and Emily Cox. Fashion writer Bairbre Power, who was a judge for the Mr. Gay Dublin contest last weekend (and is still recovering!), loved the show. Cathy O'Connor, John McCormack (Nokia Young Fashion Designer of the Year) and Caroline Sleiman were all there, as was Jason Cook with his wife Cathriona (Jason is soon leaving Slattery Communications to go solo).

Aisling Kilduff wowed the fashionistas with the latest collection of fashion which included Jenny Packenham, Emanuel Ungaro, Philip Treacy and Julien McDonald. And of course a large selection of Ben de Lisi creations, which are available exclusively at the Design Centre. I think he was happy with the discreet "oohhs" and "aahhhs" that came from the assembled guests, who all retired for more Moet, canapés and heavenly Lindt Lindor chocolates.

After the show, Triona McCarthy and I decided to go back to The Morrison where The Dubliner party was winding down - or in full swing, depending on which event you attended.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Smiling, despite the rain

Kirit and Meena Pathak of Patak's Foods, pictured leaving Jaipur restaurant on Friday after hosting a lunch to celebrate Diwali.


I had the great pleasure of celebrating the start of Diwali (pronounced Divali), the Indian Festival of Lights on Friday afternoon. This Hindu festival is celebrated throughout India and around the world to mark the beginning of the lunar New Year, which falls today.

I was a guest at a special lunch hosted in Jaipur by the charming Kirit Pathak and his beautiful wife Meena, of Patak's Foods. We dined on specially chosen dishes prepared from the Patak range, as cooked by the culinary experts in Jaipur. It truly was a sensory overload and absolutely delicious.

Having been in business for nearly 50 years, Patak's, a family owned Indian food company, is an internationally successful brand, distributing it's products to over 40 countries around the world. Renowned for creating authentic Indian food that is quick and easy to prepare, there really is no excuse for not being able to prepare an Indian banquet at home. Thanks to William Rochford of BR Marketing, the Patak's range is available in Ireland at a good food store near you.

Patak's was founded by Kirit's father in the late '50s. L.G. Pathak arrived in the U.K. from Kenya with his wife, 6 shildren and just £5. He believed there was an opportunity to sell authentic Indian food to the Indian community in the U.K. and Patak's, the food company, was born. In order make the brand name easier for European's to pronounce, the family dropped the 'h' from Pathak.

"I personally select the ingredients from around the world, whilst my wife, Meena, develops the products using traditional spice blends, the recipes for which have been handed down through the generations of our family" Kirit told me.

It's this hands-on approach that has ensured that Patak's are market leaders and that the Pathak family are so successful. Kirit, who went to school in Dublin as a child, was awarded an OBE in 1997 and Meena received one in 2002, both for services to the food industry. As well as developing and approving around 20 new recipes every year, Meena is also the author of two best selling cookbooks, Indian Cooking for Family and Friends and Flavours of India.

After lunch I bumped into Benny, who is one of the managers of Jaipur and he told me that the George's Street restaurant is on the lookout for a new premises. The building is due for development and it's time to move on up. They have also just opened in the town of Greystones to much acclaim. If it were up to me I'd want a Jaipur for every town in Ireland.

Tonight though I shall attempt to do justice to one of Meena Pathak's mouth-watering dishes. Happy Dewali.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Rock + Roll

Elaine Byrne & Andrew Rudd enjoy the Philip Stein Teslar launch party at Aniké in Brown Thomas.

Time is precious

The finely turned out doorman greeted me with a smile as I arrived at Brown Thomas for the launch of the Philip Stein Teslar timepiece at the Aniké counter. Found on the wrists of Oprah Winfrey, P.Diddy, Jack Nicholas and Jessica Alba (Madonna even has two baby-sized versions for little Lourdes and Rocco), the Philip Stein Teslar watch combines the utmost in luxury with cutting-edge technology.

Bryan Reeves, of Philip Stein Teslar, and TV presenter Kathryn Thomas officially launched the new collection in Ireland. Kathryn has just returned from her fifteenth trip abroad as presenter of travel series No Frontiers. She knows the importance of time.

Termed by wearers as the "feel good" watch, Teslar technology has cjanged the way people think about watches; it's not just about the way they look, but the way they make you feel. Teslar chips inside every watchare specially designed to help strengthen the body's own natural electromagnetic energy field. They do this by creating a unique signal associated with the earth's natural frequency and brain signals when in a calm, meditative or relaxed state. Strengthening the body's energy field may help the body resist the negative effects of daily stresses such as poor sleep habits, hectic work environments, jet-lag and constant exposure to electronic pollution. Get me one, quick!

Aniké owner Fumi Giwa Byrne was late to her own party - hey a girl has to look her best, and she did. I'm delighted to see her friendly face back in prime position on the BT floor. After a transition period of being located downstairs, the Aniké counter now has suitable neighbours like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Hermes.

Joining Fumi for tasty Kinnie cocktails and decadently delicious Lindt chocolates were producer Karl Broderick and TV3s Debbie O'Donnell, Gina Kelly and Joanne Leahy. Count Ziggy Kaminsky was there with Dr. Robin O'Reilly, Andrew Rudd, Caroline Desmond and Jim Hatton of Revive, who is off to Nerja on holiday next week.

Nearby, revellers were still enjoying the hospitality in the Round Room at the Mansion House, where Fire Restaurant were launching details of their banqueting services. Hugely popular operatic boy band G4 performed to a delighted crowd.

The Anike party posse were easy to spot with their distinctive orange goodie bags and many of them ended up in Cocoon for Chilli Funk. At Gail Kaneswaren's excellent night I spotted Eoin Higgins and Paul Trainer of The Dubliner, Sinead Ryan and Joanne Byrne of Presence, Trevor Musgrave (in a brand new Porsche 911), Anna Lavery of UIP, Gavin Lambe - Murphy, Malachy Geelan and publisher PJ Gibbons.

Question of the night: I hear rumours that a certain PR girl, after a recent launch, got 'Round' to Lillies and 'lip synced' with a member of the band that performed. I wonder if he found her 'G' spot?!

A stitch in time

TV presenter Kathryn Thomas wears a range of Philip Stein Teslar watches, now available from Aniké in Brown Thomas.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Driven to Drink

Wednesday is undoubtedly the busiest night on the Dublin social scene and I've been saying for ages now that PRs and party planners should set-up a central diary in order avoid clashing events. Too many parties spoil the socialite.

Last night there were no less than 4 parties taking place around the capital and not wishing to dilute my enjoyment of the evening I attended 2 of them. Gone are the days when I would flit from pillar to post - now good champagne and a quality goodie bag do it for me.

I was picked up in town by a chauffeur driven limo and whisked out to Monkstown for the 1st birthday celebrations of enowine, where the champers was, indeed, very good. Owners James and Yvonne Connolly were toasting the success of their revolutionary wine shop and officially opening the latest addition, the new tasting room. Comedian Pat Shortt, who is nominated for the TV Personality of the Year Award, was on hand to officiate. TV3s Lorraine Keane and author Marisa Mackle were also in attendance and looked amazing, as always.

Pat Shortt is not the only Irish comedian to have taken a liking to enowine; larger than life funnyman Karl Spain, took his first date to enowine, when filming the RTE programme ‘Karl Spain wants a Woman’. In fact, it was in enowine, that Karl met the woman whom he chose at the end of the series, following many dates with many women!

Launched last year, enowine is not just a shop; it’s a brand new concept in wine buying - the first of its kind in Ireland. The store is dotted with special state-of-the-art wine dispensers so that customers can taste before they buy. And instead of the usual offering of two or three bottles on a Saturday afternoon, enowine offer 104 different wines open for tasting at all times, every day of the week.

It works as follows: The enomatic tasting stations will allow you to buy a wine card on your way into the shop for €10 or €20 or whatever other amount you like. When you find a wine you want to try, you simply insert the card into a slot and it dispenses a tasting measure. For a cheaper wine you will be charged from 20c and for an expensive bottle, like a good Claret, from 2 euro. If you're accustomed to buying your wines by the case it's a service that could save an awful lot of tears.

After the party I got to do something I've always wanted to do. I jumped into the limo and instructed the driver to take me to Brown Thomas.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Full attention

TV presenter Ryan Tubridy and actor David Kelly pictured at the launch of Serious Fun, a new book in aid of Barretstown.

Serious Fun

I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting David Kelly, probably Ireland's greatest actor, at a reception yesterday. We were gathered in The Ark, Temple Bar, to celebrate the launch of Serious Fun, a newly published book in aid of the Barretstown, the charity which offers a fun programme of challenging activities designed to help children deal with the emotional trauma of serious illness.

David, looking dapper as always, was guest of honour at the pizza party and read excerpts from Serious Fun, which is full of stories and poems written by the children of Barretstown. He was joined on the day by RTE presenter Ryan Tubridy, who kept the children entertained - his humour crosses the generation divide!
Over delicious Domino's pizzas, there was a great buzz about the new publication from Gill & Macmillan, which is hoped to raise over 10,000. A hilarious mix of childhood humour, the reader really gets a feel of what it is like to enjoy Barretstown.

" In Barretstown it's fun to play, so many activities every day. Everybody comes from different places, and they all have a smile on their face. They all agree it's a fun place to stay. It's always been sunny and everything's funny - it's all dancey and everything's fancy and you don't need any money".

I congratulated David on his recent success as Grandpa Joe in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and also good news that he is to be honoured with a life time achievement award at the forthcoming Irish Film & Television Awards. I really got the impression that he was genuinely grateful for everything he has. But hey, he deserves it.

Serious Fun is available from leading book stores.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Ocean View

At the launch of Ocean View at Sapphire Cove, in the beautiful new Printworks room at the Morrison Hotel last week, guests drank the finest French Champagne selected by enowine in Monkstown and enjoyed food with a Caribbean theme.

The stunning Caribbean island of St. Lucia is the sight of these luxurious condos, being developed by a team of world class talent, many of whom spoke about their involvement with the project during the course of the evening.

Christy O’Connor Junior, fresh from his daughter’s fabulous wedding in the K Club during the weekend, told assembled guests how he fell in love with St. Lucia the first time he played golf there and was thrilled to be designing his own links course there – The Links at Ocean View. He advised people to come along to the sales launch in the Radisson Stillorgan over the weekend to get in quick, as these fantastic homes would be snapped up.

Harrison Minchew, of Arnold Palmer Golf Design in the U.S. also spoke in glowing terms about the island, and Arnold Palmer’s enthusiasm for his first Caribbean course, the Arnold Palmer Course at Sapphire Cove. The well known Florida based architects of the scheme, Craig Livingstone, was pleased with the initial response to the development, and delighted with the excitement generated by the 5 star exteriors and landscaping.

Triona McCarthy was there looking radiant and fresh from Dublin Fashion Week along with Tamara Gervasoni and Norman Pratt. Minister for Foreign Affairs Brian Cowen TD, Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey TD, the GAA’s Ger Loughnane, Sean Boylan, Christy Heffernan and commentator Michael Lyster and many serious investors talking quietly amongst themselves were also in attendance.

The young secretary of the RHA and well known portrait painter James Hanley, currently working on the inauguration painting of President Mary McAleese, Senator Eddie Bohan and many others also enjoyed the cool jazz that went on late into the evening.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Al fresco

The impressive dining area on the terrace of the newly revamped Morgan Hotel.

The Morgan

The Morgan Hotel in Temple Bar continues to go from strength tp strength. The trendy hotel has recently been given a complete facelift, with a large extension and the addition of a much welcome smoking area (with beds!) for the bar.

Glass, limestone, dark woods and leather and suede are elements that make up the sleek environment of the plush bar. Grand chandeliers and oversize gilt mirrors off-set the modern look beautifully. It's like something out of Wallpaper* magazine.

Last night The Morgan was full of beautiful people, all there to celebrate it's re-launch. Quaffing Laurent Perrier Champagne and enjoying the delicious canapés from the hotel's kitchen, guests were also offered a tour of the place, culminating in a visit to the impressive penthouse suite. With it's minimalist interior, baby grand piano and breathtaking roof terrace, the penthouse attracted much attention and was the talk of the party. As was the room with the red bathtub as it's centre piece.

Model Gail Kaneswaren, Maria Fusco, Trevor Musgrave, Virginia Macari, Gavin Lambe - Murphy, Hilary Cahill and designer Nicky Wallace were all in attendance. TV presenter Alan Hughes, who is off to L.A. and Palm Springs next week, was there with Karl Broderick and model Astrid Brennan.

As well as the boutique style hotel, The Morgan as boasts a number of apartments which can be rented for longer term stays. With Phillipe Stark inspired room interiors this is one cool place to stay.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Mind communication

Author Bret Easton Ellis and Fergal Breen pictured last night at Trinity College.

Bret Easton Ellis

Iconic writer Bret Easton Ellis was in Dublin last night as part of his publicity tour for his latest book, Lunar Park. He was guest of honour for the College Historical Society and the Department of English at a lecture in American Psycho, probably his most famous works, was the target of protests by the National Organisation of Women, who considered the novel a work of misogyny. However, it was usually the same groups who complained that didn't 'get' the wry sarcasm he so well uses.

To an almost packed theatre, Easton Ellis read from Lunar Park and also answered many questions from the audience with ascerbic wit and learned intelligence. He revealed that he was a huge fan of Robbie Williams and was currently reading his autobiography. Or maybe that was just his trademark sarcasm again.

After meeting the legendary Bret Easton Ellis, my good friend Fergal Breen and I retired to The Trocadero restaurant, a veritable institution. Also there were Louis Walsh with Kian Egan, Shane Filan, Nicky Byrne and Mark Feehily (aka Westlife), John Farrington and Victoria Bailey.

Question of the week: Which UK TV star took full advantage of a kind offer after a publicity visit to Dublin? When her sponsors couldn't keep up with her diva demands they offered to buy her a couple of pairs of shoes. She bought a pair of Gucci boots and a pair of Dior heels - at a cost of nearly €4,000!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

17 - 21 October 2005 @ The Morrison Hotel

Dublin Fashion Week

After many years of planning the much-anticipated Dublin Fashion Week has made it's debut. The brainchild of Sonia Reynolds, a former top model turned event planner, DFW plans to bring together some of Ireland's top fashion talent and showcase them to the press, buyers and customers.

Unfortunately, most Irish fashion designers have a profile in Ireland that is disproportionate to their commercial feasibility. They face difficulties in getting buyers based around the country to see their collections, and in many cases have to book expensive stands at foreign fashion weeks in order to get the opportunity to sell to these buyers. It's a tough business to be in.

Their support from indigenous buyers will be enhanced by an organised environment, in which their collections can be seen, considered and bought. The designers participating in the inaugural event are those that have shown an ability to meet commercial and manufacturing deadlines over the past number of years.

Designers participating to date include; Mariad Whisker, Joanne Hynes, Lainey Keogh, Lucy Downes, NC Kilkenny, Elva Robbins, Deborah Veale, Antonia Campbell Hughes, Helen James, Leigh Tucker, Rachel Mackay, Margaret O’Rourke (Mo Muse), Claire Ann Lawler, Vivien Walsh and Lou Lou Belle, Eilis Boyle, JH Collection, Aideen Bodkin, Caoimhe O’Dwyer, Jennifer Kinnear, Armadilo Designs and Sian Jacobs.

In the Odessa Club on Monday evening, Sonia Reynolds hosted a cocktail reception to celebrate the launch of DFW. In association with ABSOLUT, the party was well attended by people from the Dublin style stratosphere. Among them were writer and broadcaster Triona McCarthy, solicitor Barry Lyons, fashion editor Bairbre Power, writer Quentin Fottrell, designers Mairead Whisker, Rachel Mackay, Paula Marron and Ciara Silk (who, ironically, specialises in fabric printing!).

Dublin Fashion Week runs from the 17th - 21st October in The Morrison Hotel.

Monday, October 17, 2005


Ali and Robin Campbell of UB40 with Niamh Elliott, pictured in the green room after the Tubridy Tonight Show on Saturday night.

Le Weekend

I had a busy social weekend, which kicked off with celebratory drinks on Friday evening in the penthouse Sky Bar of The Clarendon, hosted by Amy Buckeridge and Darren Thompson who announced their engagement.

The happy couple recently returned from Paris, with Amy wearing an impressive rock. Among the well-wishers were Sean Montague and Brendan Scully, Greg Canty, Deirdre Waldron and Trish Fallon of the1st Option Agency, who will be busy with the upcoming Irish heats of the Ford Supermodel contest. She was quick to point out that the age limit is 24 (dashing my hopes of landing a $500,000 modelling contract in New York).

I had lunch in the Relax Café at the new Habitat store on Saturday afternoon. It was recently reviewed by Ross Golden - Bannon in the Sunday Business Post, and I concur with his findings. Well worth a visit.

Later in the evening I was at RTE for Tubridy Tonight, the chat show hosted by Ryan Tubridy. My good friends Caroline Morahan and Pamela Flood (presenters of Off the Rails) were guests, so I was there to whoop and cheer them on. Afterwards I met Ali and Robin Campbell of UB40 in the green room (which, incidentally, isn't green), who fascinated my friend Niamh Elliott and I with tales of yore, as featured in their new autobiographical book, Blood and Fire. I would love to read the unedited version of that book.

Caroline and I then continued our night at Renards with the inimitable Quentin Fottrell and his good pal Sarah Binchy. There, I spotted former Miss World Rosanna Davison with her boyfriend James Montgomery, singer Paddy Casey and model Julian Pearson.

After just 4 hours of sleep (pity me!) I was at Phoenix Park to participate in the Irish leg of the Avon Round the World Walk for Breast Cancer. I joined special guest Orla O'Shea (last year's Rose of Tralee) and Suzanne Walsh (of Channel 4's The Salon fame) and over 1,000 others in the 5km walk which raised considerable funds for breast cancer awarness charities, which Avon generously support.

The next part of the walk starts in New York this week. Ah, New York, you know I could have landed a modelling contract there if only......