Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Karl Broderick and Alan Hughes at the War of the Worlds Irish premiere last night.

Brenda Fricker pictured at last night's Irish premiere of War of the Worlds

War of the Worlds

The Savoy was packed last night for the Irish premiere of the latest Steven Spielberg flick, War of the Worlds, starring Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning. This much anticipated movie has had critics buzzing as it was not available for preview in advance of the premiere.

In attendance last night were actress Brenda Fricker, TV stars Pamela Flood and Alan Hughes, Neil Jordan and his son Daniel, Niall McCrudden, Eric McCarthy and David Kaneswaren of boyband ZOO, Neil Hannon with his wife Orla, Sinead Ryan and Malachy Geelan. No sign of the TomKat circus though.

With amazing action scenes, the movie also offers super performances from Cruise, who is back in his most suited role as hyped action hero. I'm making a prediction that the young Fanning will surely be nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award.

It's a summer blockbuster for sure.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Al fresco: Richard Kavanagh and Gavin Lambe - Murphy at The Unicorn yesterday. Actor Christopher Meloni can be seen in the background.

Mix it up: Loyd Grossman at lunch in The Cellar Restaurant yesterday.

Lunch with Loyd

The inimitable Loyd Grossman hosted a lunch on Monday afternoon in The Cellar Restaurant at the luxurious Merrion Hotel which was well attended by a variety of familiar faces. After a champagne reception in the hotel gardens, guests were treated to a gastronomic feast which included foie gras for starter followed by roasted sea bass. It was rounded off with creme bruleé and petit fours accompanied by a glass of delicious desert wine.

As I was sitting at Loyd's table I couldn't resist asking him if he had found any secrets from his time presenting Through the Keyhole! He did share some interesting little tit bits but unfortunately I'm not at liberty to divulge as the conversation was strictly off the record. A wise move Loyd.

Present and correct were FMI and top model Andrea Roche, who is busy with plans for this Friday's Newbridge Silverware sponsored Miss Ireland contest in the City West Hotel, TV3's Alan Hughes with Mary Irwin and her daughter Victoria, socialite Gavin Lambe - Murphy, Ray Shah of Big Brother fame, social diarists Joanne Hegarty and Melanie Finn and PJ Gibbons of Social & Personal magazine.

As it was a beautifully hot day a number of us including Frances Winston, Fergal Breen, Richard Kavanagh and GL-M retired to the Unicorn for a glass of vino, or 4. Among those enjoying a late lunch there included socialite Dr. Robin O'Reilly, Law and Order actor Christopher Meloni (who's in town to star in a production of "A View from the Bridge" at The Gate theatre), Simon Carmody, fashion stylist Sonia Mohlich with Alan Bruton, who has just opened another branch of his Reds hair styling emporium in the Four Seasons hotel, and publicist Sarah Jane English with Aoife Jones of O2.

Good company, good wine, good weather. Life doesn't get much better.

Celebrity style: TV presenters Grainne Seoige and Pamela Flood at the races on Saturday.

Le Weekend

It was a chock-a-block weekend of social activity, with the sun shining for good measure. On Saturday, the fashionable ladies were out in force for the Audi Pretty Polly Stakes at the The Curragh racecourse.

Guests included fashion writer Bairbre Power, Sky News presenter Gráinne Seoige and RTE presenter Pamela Flood who were judging the Best Dressed competition. Others enjoying the day included Georgina Heffernan and Grainne Sheehan, Minister John O'Donoghue TD, RTE commentator Colm Murray and former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds.


Later that evening I attended the 2nd of 3 U2 concerts at Croke Park. With over 80,000 people present, my good friend John O'Driscoll and I were lucky enough to watch the show from the comforts of the sound stage. Also there were Bono's wife Ali Hewson, Gavin Friday, Guggi and Triona McCarthy.

The Derby

Sunday saw a heat wave decend upon The Curragh as the Philip Treacy hats kept the rays away at the Budweiser Irish Derby. Among the guests in the Horse Racing Ireland box were Alan Hughes and Debbie O'Donnell of TV3, songwriter Karl Broderick, Paul Collins of Today FM, Tamso Doyle and Eithne Donlon of The Irish Times. Editor of VIP Magazine Emer O'Reilly - Hyland looked amazing in a purple number. She and husband Ken are expecting their first child in September

Question of the day: Which well known TV presenter was not allowed into the VIP hospitality area? When the security guard declared that he was 'just doing his job' the celebrity retorted with 'well I've just given this event 2 days of coverage on TV' before storming off.

Love me tender: RTE newsreader Anne Doyle is looking pretty in pink at the races on Sunday as she is seranaded by Elvis whilst Marilynn Munroe looks on.

Soaking up the sun: Geraldine Mahony relaxes at the champagne bar at The Budweiser Irish Derby on Sunday.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Terry de Havilland's beautifully customised shoes for the Clarks 'Soul of Africa' campaign.

Culture Vulture

The magnificently restored No. 15 St. Stephen's Green was the location for the last in the series of the Laurent Perrier Culture Club events last night. Internationally renowned designer John Rocha was the guest speaker, delivering a humourous and insiteful account of his professional life.

As well as being well known for his clothing lines, Rocha is now getting more involved in interior design since the success of his collaboration with the Morrison Hotel a few years ago. He is currently working on new apartment developments in Bristol and Budapest.

Run in conjunction with The Dubliner magazine, the events have been a huge success, with past speakers including authors DBC Pierre and The Hon.Toby Young, artist Louis Le Broquy, musician Gavin Friday and broadcaster Janet Street - Porter.

The inimitable editor of The Dubliner, Trevor White, gave an endearing introductory speech to Rocha, paying homage to the talented designer.

Enjoying the Laurent Perrier champagne reception (in John Rocha Waterford Crystal glasses, of course) were Odette Rocha and Maureen Ryan, Ciarán Coleman, the ever glamourous Anne Boylan, Stephen O'Carroll and Suzanne O'Dea from Edelman, solicitor Graham Duggan, journalist Frances Winston with Jamie Plenderleith and restaurant critic Ross Golden - Bannon, who is celebrating his birthday tonight with a bash in the Odessa Club.

You can bring a whore to culture but you can't make her think, as they say in the best bars around the world.

New Shoes

One of the world's most recognised shoe makers, Clarks, opened their latest concept store on Dublin's Grafton Street yesterday morning. Featuring a clean, white, streamlined shopping environment, which above all else provides a backdrop for showcasing their products.

A new range of footwear supporting Clarks 'Soul of Africa' project were also unveiled. Founded in December 2003 by Lance Clark (6th generation of the Clark family), 'Soul of Africa' enables those affected by AIDS to learn a skill a help themselves, something they are rarely given the opportunity to do. The scheme teaches women of the village how to make shoes, from cutting the pattern to the finsl stiches. The shoes will be sold for €45 in Ireland, with all profits going to 'Soul of Africa'.

Also unveiled yesterday were a specially commissioned array of celebrity customised shoes. Joanna Lumley, Terry de Havilland, Tracey Emin, Shaun Leane, Antoni & Alison and Red or Dead all put their own marks on Clarks shoes. In return Clarks donated €3,000 to the 'Soul of Africa' fund for each pair.

Claire Lalor, Penny Brooks and Caroline Kennedy were among the guests at the event.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Model work

The atmosphere was electric as the assembled guests all tried to catch a glimpse, shake a hand or have a word with supermodel Linda Evangelista at last night's party in the Odessa Club. Looking rather unassuming, but also like a radiant goddess, the Manchester-based supermodel wore a dark outfit which complimented beautifully her newly darkened hair style

We were there to celebrate the good work of the MAC Viva Glam V campaign, which does trojan work for AIDS charities worldwide. Linda presented a cheque for €20,000 to the Dublin AIDS Alliance earlier in the evening.

As the paparazzi congregated outside the club and the bodyguards kept a watchful eye on the proceedings inside, the Moet & Chandon flowed non-stop. Chilling out on the roof terrace were DJ Hugh Scully, fashion writer Ciara Elliott, actress Hilary Cahill and writer Quentin Fottrell, Triona 'Party' McCarthy and Darryn Lee and Eoin Higgins with Larissa Nolan. The supermodel's agent, Didier Fernandez, chatted with publicist Caroline Kennedy and Paddy Bollard.

Among those socialising around the club, and enjoying cosmopolitans, included stylists Roxanne Parker and Sonia Mohlich, model Matthew John, publisher PJ Gibbons and Gary Kavanagh of Peter Mark.

The VIVA GLAM V Lipstick and Lipgloss are the primary fund-raising products benefiting the M.A.C AIDS Fund, 100 percent of the sales of which are donated to people living with HIV/AIDS has raised over $44 million USD.

As Linda left for the Merrion Hotel the party was still in full swing, with guests still enjoying the Moet until well after midnight.

Question of the week: Which TD was not impressed by a recently written article? The young politico sent a clipping back to the journalist covered in red pen comments. He'll learn!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Ho' down

Dublin's VIPs were out in force last night supporting the 'Lillie's Bordello Barn Dance'. One of Ireland's most exclusive nightclubs, Lillies teamed up with children's charity, The Bubblegum Club, for a fundraising event with a difference. The event, brainchild of one of Ireland's top fundraisers Jackie Rafter, was organised in order to raise funds to take terminally ill children to a top holiday resort in the UK, as a direct result of proceeds raised on the night.

Supporters of the event included John Rocham, Graham Bolger and Ronan Barry. Radio presenter Tony Fenton, Richard Kavanagh, Ivano Cappola, actor Killian O'Sullivan and Dick Massey, formerly of the Commitments. Jackie Rafter made the perfect Indian in her themed outfit, whilst many a guy and gal fitted out in catchy cowboy numbers, in order to support the cause.

This event started with the popular, Chicken Skin Review, who along with line dancers got all those in attendance in form for the night's events, which included a margarita, Ketel One vodka and Red Bull reception, with a selection of country themed canapés went down a treat with all. DJ Tommy Stewart ensured all in attendance were dancing into the wee hours of the morning.

Commenting Jackie Rafter, The Bubblegum Club, said: "This was an exciting means of raising funds for the children's summer break, ensuring we can pack in as much fun for the children as is possible. Lillie's Bordello did such a great night in transforming the venue ensuring a real barn dance atmosphere."

Yee haw.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ardgillan Castle in all it's glory on Sunday night.

Music at Argillan

Argillan is the new Slane - you heard it here first. I was one of the 25,000+ who saw Moby and R.E.M. in concert on Sunday night at Ardgillan Castle in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin. What a wonderful setting! With the castle at the top of a hill which rolls gently down to the stage and the vista of the Irish Sea beyond, this venue is set to be the place for concerts in the future.

Unlike Slane it is easily and quickly accessed from the capital, everyone had a great view of the stage, traffic congestion was at a minimum and the surroundings are beautiful.

Moby's performance was excellent, with him even giving a rendition of the Father Ted classic, My Lovely Horse! A crowd pleaser if there ever was one. Actually, Moby is a huge Father Ted fan.

R.E.M. were good, but for me didn't really get a great momentum going. They did however give a special birthday mention to Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest in Burma for the last number of years. The message, which was beamed to Burma via RTE 2fm, was a touching gesture.

I may be going to see Coldplay tomorrow evening in Marlay Park, either that or meeting Linda Evangelista - tough decision to be made.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Celebrity hairstylist James Brown pictured on Friday at the launch of Clairol's Nice 'n Esay Colour Gloss Seal.

Colour me beautiful

Celebrity hair stylist, and Clairol Creative Director, James Brown paid a visit to Dublin on Friday last to launch Clairol's latest innovation. In the amazing surrounds of the €4.2 million Adelaide Penthouse apartment, guests were intorduced to Clairol's new Nice 'n Easy Colour Seal Gloss.

After a champagne reception, colour expert Laura Oakes gave an indepth lecture on the Nice ‘n Easy Colour Seal Gloss, which is a breakthrough in conditioning technology which helps to seal in beautiful colour, brilliant shine and maintain soft, silky coloured hair for up to six weeks. To date no other in-box conditioner on the market can provide this level of long lasting performance.

I've met James a number of times and each is a pleasure. It's easy to see whay he's ahead of his game, having worked with Heather Locklear, Johnny Depp, Julianne Moore, Juliette Lewis, Kate Moss, Liam Gallagher, Liv Tyler, Nicole Kidman, Patsy Kensit, Catherine Zeta Jones, Sarah Jessica Parker and Gwyneth Paltrow among others. The guy was in charge of his own team of assistants at London Fashion Week before the age of 23 - he's as good as it gets.

James believes that you have to ‘step out to bring something fresh in’ – by that he means he’s willing to experiment with new ideas before the masses are. He quietly gets on with new, subtle and natural looks, which are picked up on by others and taken to the fashion max. No surprise then that his best friend is Kate Moss, renowned for being ahead of the fashion posse when it comes to setting trends.

After the sumptuous lunch he told me that he was off to Galway for the weekend to visit family. Yet another creative force that Ireland can lay claim to!

Clairol Nice ‘n Easy Colour Seal Gloss will be available in stores nationwide from September 2005.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Happy Brithday Renards

Last night also saw celebrity nightclub Renards celebrate it's 10th birthday. Owner Robbie Fox hosted a massive pajama party for the great and the good. A large four poster bed greeted guests on arrival - and I'm sure many of them took advantage of it upon departure!

Top model Glenda Gilson looked very sexy in a short negligeé with fluffy pink mules a lá Sex and the City, as she and TV presenter Amanda Brunker presented Robbie with a specially made birthday cake.

Others on the night included publisher PJ Gibbons with Gavin Lambe - Murphy and Richard Kavanagh, Brendan O'Connor, Rolling Stones member Ronnie Wood and Trish Fallon of 1st Option.

The party went on till the wee small hours. Thankfully birthdays only come round once a year.

Derby News

In other news, I hear that the famous Budweiser marquee will not be making an appearance at next weekend's Budweiser Irish Derby. For many years the famous pavillion hosted 1,000 guests for a sumptious lunch, open bar and high tea on Derby Day. This year, guests will be entertained in the nearby Stand House Hotel.

Without a style HQ I think that the big day next weekend will be the Audi Pretty Polly Stakes on Saturday, with sponsoring the generous fashion prizes.

Bedtime: Paul Trainer and Eoin Higgins with friends outside Renards last night, celebrating the club's 10th birthday.

In the pink at the Pink Lady Seduction party at Cocoon last night.

Pretty Pink Lady

The Dublin party posse were out in force last night, head to toe in pink, to celebrate the Southern Hemisphere harvest of Pink Lady® apples. Any excuse for a party.

The uber trendy Cocoon bar, which is owned by ex Formula 1 driver Eddie Irvine, was transformed into a pink palace, in keeping with the theme of Seduction - a nod to the temptation and intrigue reminiscent of the Garden of Eden. It was difficult to spot a guest who hadn't adhered to the pink theme. With velvet drapes, lavish candelabras, weaving Pink Lady® apple tree's, a rose petal sprinkled pink carpet and layer upon layer of lusciousness throughout, it was also difficult to recognise Cocoon.

In recognition of the health benefits of apples in general (including cancer-preventing effects), Pink Lady® Apples chose to support the Marie Keating Foundation at the party and invited all guests to purchase a pink wristband on arrival.

As guests quenched their thirsts with Pink Lady® Huzzar Vodka Appletinis, TV presenter Pamela Flood selected the most seductively dressed person who was presented with an appropriately pink Italian neckpiece with white gold and diamonds sponsored by jeweller de jour, Paul Sheeran. Blonde cutie Lisa Harrison was the lucky recipient.

Looking seductive were models Astrid Brennan and Alex Fitzgerald, Joanne Byrne, VIP publisher Michael O'Doherty, Julian Benson and Derek Carberry, Alan Amsby and jewellery designer Cathriona Hanly. Hanging out in the VIP area were Gayle Killilea, Mary Carr and Jackie Lavin.

Publicist Tara O'Connor looked great in a sequined Pink Panther top as she chatted with Geraldine Mahony, Niall and Gillian Quinn and TV presenter Laura Woods were there too. I also spotted scandal-embroiled show jumper Cian O'Connor, who was making his first public appearance since waiving his right to appeal for his Olympic gold medal, which was taken away from him following the horse doping scandal.

I guess there's always one person not feeling too pink.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Ha'penny Bridge

I've been hearing a great deal about The Ha'penny Bridge musical for some time now. Indeed it has been advertisied in the national press for a number of months. My apetite was well and truly whetted, and last night satisfied as I attended the gala opening.

After a week long run in the Cork Opera House, the cast of The Ha'penny Bridge were in top form for last nights performance, which was attended by many familiar faces - you could say it was a who's who. The tag line for the show reads: 'A love torn apart in a country divided', and that's certainly what it is.

The central characters are the Cassidy family, and we see their up's and down's during the civil war in 1922. There's plenty of laughter, and a little sadness, in this tour de forceof Irish creativity. It's one musical that doesn't pander to the audience with patronising glee and I'm sure it will be a big success in the U.S. for creator Alastair McGuckian.

Terrific performances by Eileen Reid (Maggy), Annalene Beechey (Molly), Stephen Ashfield (George), John Conroy (Peadar), Flo McSweeney (Anna), Mark Lambert (Whippet) as well as a tremendous supporting cast, meant for a truly enjoyable show - the first big Irish musical ever, if I'm not mistaken.

Well known faces at the performance and after party included guest of honour H.E. President Mary McAleese and her husband Dr. Martin McAleese with daughter Emma; The British Ambassador, H.E. Stuart Eldon and Mrs. Christine Eldon; broadcasters John Bowman and Ian Dempsey; TV personalities Marty Whelan and Martin King; Senator Fergal Quinn and writers Marisa Mackle and Seamus Heaney

The arts world was well represented with Ava Astaire, daughter of Fred; George McMahon and many colleagues from Fair City; Jamie Belton and stunning girlfriend Carol Anthony; singers Hazel Kaneswaren and Chris Doran (not together though, despite their single status). Acclaimed artists Louis LeBroquy and Anne Madden were also present, as were Maxi and Linda Martin, looking glamourous as always.

The Ha'penny Bridge runs for a limited period at The Point and is well worth seeing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Little pixies: Barry Geraghty and Grainne Seoige celebrating the launch of the 2005 Race Ball.
Racing ahead

It's that time of year, when one of the most social elements of Irish society goes into full swing. Horse racing, the sport of kings, has long been a fun passtime but over the last number of years the conversation and style in the VIP areas have outrun the four legged participants.

A highlight of the Galway Races is The Race Ball, which was launched today at a photoshoot with Sky News presenter Grainne Seoige and jockey Barry Geraghty. The glamourous pair, Grainne in Peter O'Brien couture, toasted the event, which is being supported by Jacob's Creek Sparkling Rosé. The ball will be hosted in the Radisson SAS Hotel on Friday 29th of July.

The highlight of the racing calander is the Irish Derby festival, which takes place at the end of this month. On Saturday the 25th, the Audi Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh will host the biggest and most spectactualr best-dressed competition of the year: Fashion on the Turf.

The next day, Sunday the 26th sees the the biggest and most social race meet of the year, The Budweiser Irish Derby. I guess you could say it is our version of Royal Ascot, such is the level of Philip Treacy hats and Louis Vuitton bags - and that's just the boys. Only kidding, they're more into Hermés and Gucci. One of the country's premier sporting events it is a definite who's who ocassion, and this year's 140th anniversary is set to be big.

Question of the wekend: Which best friend of a super model thinks he's famous too - just by association? While well known in his own creative world, his diva behaviour is rude beyond extreme and PR people are quickly tiring of demands.

Monday, June 13, 2005
Fashion meets Music

As part of a hugely sucessful European tour, with several shows having already taken place in Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Berlin (boasting over 400 people in attendance at each event), Tommy Hilfiger launched the Hilfiger Sessions at Crawdaddy last week.

This electrifying event was certainly one music lovers couldn't afford to miss. The programme featured a professional band of four musicians headed by Derek O'Connor. They played throughout the evening, while also hosting performances by new up and coming talent, which included Laura Isibor, Peter Fagan, Key Notes, Jennifer Clarke and Urban Intelligence.

Bumpin' and grindin' on the night wereformer B*Witched singers Sinead O'Carroll and Edel Lynch, Chance to Dance presenter Caroline Morahan and participant Kevin Ryan, models Martha Christie and Gail Kaneswaren, former D-Side member Dane Guiden, TV producer Cathy O'Connor and Claire Boylan of the B Scene agency.

For those of you who haven't heard, Hilfiger Sessions is a new mucis concept, where talented performers share the spotlight with seasoned professionals in an intimate face-to-face setting. Forget standing room only!

As I have been told, music is, and always will be, the source of inspiration for Tommy Hilfiger. Rock on Tommy.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Corinna Field and Kevin Shiels at The Savoy 75th Anniversary party in The Pillar Room last night.
Happy Birthday Savoy

That grande dame of entertainment, The Savoy Cinema on O'Connell Street, celebrated it's 75th anniversary last night with a very special screening and a lavish party. As the guests arrived in black tie and ball gowns the camera flashes went off faster than George Best running to a free bar. I bumped into photographer Michael Chester, who was looking very tanned having just returned from Doha in Qatar where he was attending the Oryx Quest yacht race.

We were treated to an advanced screening of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the new Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie movie. Jam packed full of shoot-em-up action, it was the love scenes that had us wondering about the level of on-screen chemistry. This is one flick Jennifer Aniston should definitely miss.

The pace of Mr. & Mrs. Smith varies a great deal, and I think it is a little too long, but thankfully the high octane scenes substitute nicely. At some points it is very reminisant of The War of the Roses, with the rowing and the fighting and the crashing and the .... you get the picture.

Afterwards we hopped and skipped up to the historic Pillar Room venue, next to The Gate theatre, where a lavish champagne reception greeted us along with delicious food by Unique Dining. A really magical party.

Looking spectacular on the evening were Corinna Field and Kevin Shiels; former film censor Seamus Smith and his glamourous partner Shiela, who were just back from Dubrovnik where Seamus was on the juding panel of the international film festival; Hugh M. Fitzpatrick; Gay Byrne with Kathleen Watkins and Dave Fanning with wife Ursula.

Actually Dave wasn't looking spectacular. He looked more like a scruffy student than a media celebrity with his shapeless jacket, untucked shirt and loose tie. No a good look on a middle aged man Dave.

I rounded off the night in Lillies. Alway a good conclusion.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Smelling of Roses

The beautiful surrounds of the Solomon Gallery were thronged recently with people looking and feeling summery for the opening of their latest exhibition, 'Paintings and Gardens'. Celebrity horticulturist Dermot O'Neill was the guest of honour and officially marked the opening of the show.

Looking blooming amazing on the evening were TV producer Bill Hughes, Count John McCormack and Peter and Deirdre Morgan with their beautiful daughter Tess.

Among the works on show were those of Reza Macdougald, whose botanical works were admired by all. Reza's mother, Suzanne, owns the gallery, and was looking elegant as always. Another big draw were the works of Dame Elizabeth Blackadder OBE, who is also a member of the Royal Academy.

In other news, I was disheartened to discover that singer Hazel Kaneswaren and model Brian Fallon have, in fact, seperated, as I mentioned last week. The couple have said that it is by mutual agreement and they remain close. Apparently the VIP magazine 'at home with' spread was arranged months ago, and is an unfortunate coincidence.

Question of the week: Who is the multi-millionaire music legend that bought his friend a plane ticket - using his air miles? He obviously keeps the star treatment for himself.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Deborah Allen and Yvonne Kelly enjoying the BudRising BBQ at PoD on Friday evening.
Rock chick

The BudRising music festival continued on full steam over the weekend. I attended the festival club in the PoD / CrawDaddy complex on Friday evening, with the added bonus of a full BBQ. Nothing like some flame grilled food to set me up for the night.

Guest star later in CrawDaddy was the living ledgend that is Siobhán Fahey, who is formerly of Bananarama and laterly Shakespears Sister. Siobhán, who was staying nearby in The Camden Court Hotel, was spotted hanging out in the Lobby Bar, accompanied by her mum and friends, in advance of her appearance. Performing her newest solo music, Fahey's still got it as she rocked the small venue to it's core. It has also to be said that she looks amazing. A close source informed me that she is at least 46. Rock on sister, you look 20 years younger.

In attendance on the evening were TV presenter, and now London resident, Brendan Courtney, Deborah Allen and Sarah Fleming with photographer Yvonne Kelly, club promoter Ian Lambkin, Maurice Hayes, model Bruno Neville and publicist Emer O'Reilly.

BudRising wraps up tonight with performances by The La's at The Ambassador, Weezer in Vicar Street and British Sea Power in The Village, among others.

Cooking up a storm at the BudRising BBQ at PoD on Friday evening last.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Alan Amsby on The Party Limo last night.
The J-Bar has arrived

Last night's big party was in Dublin Airport where the movers and shakers flocked to for the launch of J-Bar, the trendy new watering hole that is a joint venture of Jameson and the Thomas Read Group. No luggage, no tickets, no passport - just delicious Jameson cocktails.

The night kicked off to a roaring start with a select number of guests travelling to the launch in The Party Limo, a good time on wheels. Filling up the back of the bus were Triona 'Party' McCarthy and Darryn Lee, Brendan Scully, Sean Montague and TV star Caroline Morahan, who was looking forward to travelling to the Smithwicks Cat Laughs Festival in Kilkenny this weekend.

As the karaoke talent dried up we were all treated to an impromptu performance of The Lady is a Tramp by the inimitable Alan Amsby. A show stopper if there was ever one.

At the arrivals hall in Dublin Airport the glamouros guests turned heads as they poured into the J-Bar, welcomed by the beautiful Jameson girls. Among the glam crew were singer Amy Creighton, top choreographer Julian Benson and actress Ciara O'Callaghan. The fashion crowd were well represented by model Katy French, designer Graham Cruz and celebrity makeup artist Derek Carberry with Jamie Molloy, both looking dapper in matching black and white jacket and tie combos.

This Jameson branded bar is the first of its kind in the world and both Jameson and the TR group are confident that their combined experience and unique, international, stylish characteristics will attract both Irish and international jet setters alike.

In their commitment to providing the best, Jameson commissioned internationally acclaimed mixologist John Gakuru from the prestigious Lab Bar in London (the forefront of cocktail creativity) to create new cocktails for the Irish Market. John has specially trained Irish barman Alan Kavanagh who will be mixing a dazzling array of Jameson inspired cocktails and coffees on the night including Irish Mules and Irish Sea Breezes.

Upon leaving the airport the party continued on The Party Limo, were Triona McCarthy and I proceeded to try and sing I've Got You Babe. Even if our fellow guests weren't impressed by our vocal talent they loved our quick wit. We were good for comedy value.

Later on in the night I ventured over to Rush on South William Street, where I bumped into jewellery designer Cathriona Hanly and model Roz Lipsett, who has added another talent to her collection and has become a DJ. She certainly rocks my world.

We finished off the night in Lillies, where Girls Aloud and The Hives were there along with Richard Kavanagh, publicist Roisin Tierney - Crowe, Rob McNaughton and Jayne Murphy, who looked fab in Noa Noa. After all that I think I need another trip to the airport, this time with a ticket to relax.

This evening I shall be enjoying the offerings of the BudRising music festival at PoD, where, according to the grapevine, the Scissor Sisters will be hanging out.

I'll be back on Tuesday. Y'all have a super bank holiday weekend.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Special edition Tayto pack with the Sunflower logo, captured yesterday.
Sunflower daze

Tayto, Ireland's favourite crisp, has teamed up with The Irish Hospice Foundation for Sunflower Days 2005. RTE presenter Caroline Morahan hosted a sunflower-themed lunch yesterday in trendy eaterie Eden to announce details of the partnership.

I must admit I failed to see the link between Tayto and Hospice, until it was pointed out to me that Tayto's association with sunflowers is well-established given that the company has always cooked it's products in pure sunflower oil since it's foundation over 50 years ago. Very clever!

Last year Hospice raised over €1,000,000 through Hospice Sunflower Days. With Tayto's support through advertising, television and radio promotions to promote Sunflowers Days, they hope to increase this figure to €1,500,000 this year.

Speaking at the lunch yesterday, John Keogh, Managing Director of Tayto, announced Tayto's plan to support the Hospice Sunflower Days on a long term basis: "We are delighted to support such a reputable and worthy organisation, from which thousands of Irish people directly benefit".

Joining John Keogh of Tayto and TV star Caroline Morahan on the day were Chairman of Hospice Denis Doherty, writer Quentin Fottrell, Emily Cox and Breffni Burke of Slattery Communications and former Rose of Tralee, Tamara Gervasoni (sporting a jaunty green hat) as well as numerous supporters from the media world.

Taking place on the 10th and 11th of June, Hospice Sunflower Days will see volunteers from all over the country selling the distinctive sunflower pins for the modest sum of €2. Trust me, they will be the fashion accessory du jours.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Honorable Dr. Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister of St. Lucia and Chelsea footballer Damian Duff at the launch of Sapphire Cove in the gardens of the Radisson SAS St. Helen's Hotel.
A glimpse of paradise

Let's all go to St. Lucia. You'd be saying that too after hearing the speech delivered by The Honorable Dr. Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister of St. Lucia, at last night's launch of Sapphire Cove, a new luxury property development on the island.

The pavillion in the gardens of the Radisson SAS St. Helen's Hotel was buzzing with business deals being made, as potential buyers gazed in awe at the video screens of sandy white beeches and palm trees.

Guest of honour was Prime Minister Anthony, who is in Ireland untill Thursday, with his only plan being to visit an authentic Irish pub. Shouldn't be a problem. Also causing a stir with the paparazzi was Chelsea footballer Damian Duff, who was there with his beautiful girlfriend. Duff has already purchased a property in Sapphire Cove - he's ahead of the game. Even that fountain of all things good, Oprah Winfrey, has said that Pitons, in St. Lucia, is the most beautiful place in the world to visit.

Sapphire Cove is being constructed by an Irish consortium called Premier Corporation, which is headed by Tom Colton, and at a cost of over $380 million dollars will rival the Sandy Lane development in Barbados. The project will feature luxury condos of various sizes, comprising one-two-and three-bedroom units, family homes and luxury town homes. There are also plans for a 4,000-room international convention facility as well as an 18-hole Golf Course of PGA standard. Also to be featured, will be an Olympic-size swimming pool, tennis courts, a beach club and a water park. There will also be a concept spa, a beauty salon, a fitness club, a resort guest centre, extensive water sports and children’s play activities, a crèche, and numerous restaurants and bars. Party on.

Last night I bumped into author Marisa Mackle, who was there with her pal Roxanne Parker. Marisa's much anticipated fourth book, Chinese Whispers, will hit bookstores next month. Drawing on her experience as a social diarist with the Evening Herald, Marisa has centered this book around the Dublin social scene. I wonder if people will easily recognise themselves among the champagne and canapés. Fuel for the chattering classes.

Also there were Gillian O'Loughlin from HOST PR, Romy Carroll of Cocoon and Paul Trainer from The Dubliner, who are currently running a poll, in association with Jameson, to find out the best Irish movie ever. Darby O'Gill and the Little People gets my vote.