Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Make-up forever

Last night I had attended a small dinner in honour of celebrity make-up artist Daniel Sandler, who works with Bourjois Cosmetics. He was in town to record a feature on RTE's Off the Rails, which will be broadcast on the first episode of the new series.

He's worked with big names such as Kate Moss, Mena Suvari, Naomi Campbell, Gareth Gates, Rachel Weisz, Yasmin Le Bon, Boy George and Jade Jagger. I could go on, but you get the picture. Let's just say his talent is always in demand and he regularly travels around Europe, making lucky girls and boys look even prettier than they actually are.

Last night's dinner, in the ever popular Bang Café, was hosted by the ever charming Luca Hickey, head of Bourjois Cosmetics in Ireland. Business must be good - he's driving a new Ferarri.

Daniel was accompanied by his UK publicist, the lovely Lesley Chivers. PR dynamo Louise Byrne was also there, looking great after a hectic time at the recent Rose of Tralee, where she was working with her client, Newbridge Silverware.

Making up the blond trio was the beautiful Pamela Flood, who co-presents Off the Rails. Pamela is in the process of buying a new pad and is looking to move to the Rathfarnham area in the near future.

Now that will be a stylish abode.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Guests enjoyed an al fresco lunch at the Clarion Hotel's IFSC penthouse earlier today to celebrate the hotel being named International Clarion Hotel of the Year.

Congratulations Clarion!

The Clarion Hotel at the IFSC, and it's GM, Dermot De Loughry, hosted a lunch today to celebrate being named the International Clarion Hotel of the Year, by Choice Hotels International, it's parent company.

Choice Hotels annually present the Hotel of the Year Award, which demonstrates excellence in all aspects of their service and operations. The best of each brand internationally is selected by the Choice Hotels' International division, which evaluates the hotels on a variety of factors. Mr. De Loughry was delighted with the award and paid tribute to all the staff members who were involved. To celebrate the win, each staff member will be offered a short holiday in the newly opened Clarion Hotel & Resort in Sligo.

The Clarion Hotel, which has been open since 2001, includes the the acclaimed SanoVitae Health and Fitness Club, Kudos Bar and the award-winning Sinergie Restaurant. Today's lunch was hosted in the luxurious penthouse (which, incidentally, can be yours for around €1.7 million), with Andrea Molloy of the Clarion, publisher Michael Heary and RTE's Val Joyce among the guests.

The ever glamorous Anne Boylan was also there with her good friend Shirley Beere, who was looking tanned after a recent trip to Cyprus. Shirley informed me that she and her husband, millionaire businessman and author Wyn Beere, are hoping to moved from their luxury Stepaside home. They are currently looking at re-locating to the exclusive Eagle Valley development near Powerscourt, Co. Wicklow.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Tell me this...

Popstar Lemar gets a grilling from TG4 presenter Roisin Ni Thomain, pictured at O2 in the Park.

O2 in the Park

One of the biggest gigs of the year in Dublin took place over the weekend, with almost 100,000 music lovers converging in the President of Ireland's back garden, Phoenix Park. Now in it's fourth year, O2 in the Park proved to be as popular as ever with a terrific line-up of artists.

Among them were Charlotte Church, who rocked the crowd with her brand of new angel-grows-up material. She didn't stick around long though and sped off to the airport after her set. Tyler James and his gravity defying hair had much more time to kill and was floating around the backstage and VIP areas for hours before he went on stage. Happy to meet the people and sign autographs, this guy knows how to work it.

Former Atomic Kitten member Natasha Hamilton performed with a phalanx of backing singer girls. It could have been a case of happy families as her ex. Fran Cosgrave was co-presenting the gig, along with their 2-year old son Josh was also there.

Hazel Kaneswaren and her big hair performed a great set, as did Simon Casey and new band The Rags. Among those enjoying the VIP hospitality were Louis Walsh, Killian O'Sullivan, Niamh Elliott and You're A Star Celebrity winner David Mitchell. Hosted by the aforementioned Cosgrave and TV presenters Brian Dowling and Caroline Morahan (who's driving a sporty new Opel Tigra convertible), the day was a resounding success for all involved with many continuing to SPY for the after party.

Friday, August 26, 2005

3's a party

Ross Golden - Bannon, Sonia Reynolds and Fiona Gratzer pictured at the Nokia 8800 launch at Ice, in the Four Seasons Hotel.

Cool as Ice

Guests enjoy the Nokia 8800 launch party at Ice, in the Four Season Hotel.

Indulge your senses

I like your tie. When Dylan Jones, editor of GQ magazine, pays you that compliment it carries a lot more kudos that it would from most other lips. My evening was off to an excellent start.

Jones was in Dublin, as guest of honour, for the launch of the new Nokia 8800, their first luxury mobile phone. The great and the good, and the good-looking, gathered in Ice at the Four Seasons Hotel (note: it's no longer called Ice Bar!), to celebrate the unveiling of this beautiful piece of kit.

Encased in a sleek stainless steel cover, the timeless design of the 8800 is a beauty to behold. Slide it open to reveal the fine pitched screen (equivalent to the density of a laptop screen), which is totally scratch resistant. Listen to the specially commissioned sound elements, works of art in their own right, composed by Academy and Grammy award-winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. Add in the other great features of the 8800 and it's easy to see why Dylan Jones was happy to endorse it.

Having a varied career in fashion and journalism behind him, Dylan added another string to his bow a few years ago as a judge on the reality TV show Model Behaviour. The hugely popular show will hopefully be returning to our screens next year, as Dylan informed me that only last week he'd had a meeting with the producers.

Enjoying the party last night were master tailor Louis Copeland, who looked dapper as always, and Nadine Wai - O'Flynn of Principle Management with Michael Kelly. Lord Henry Mount Charles was also there, with his wife Lady Iona, maintaining an uncharacteristic low profile. Perhaps disappointed that there will be no concert at his home, Slane Castle, this year?

Richard Kavanagh, who's off to Quinta de Lago next week, was with Alan Amsby and Gavin Lambe - Murphy, who cut a dash with his new hairstyle. Also there were Sonia Reynolds, with pal Fiona Gratzer, Alex Fitzgerald and Simon Arnold. Kelley Cousins and Aoife O'Reilly looked fab and were all set for tomorrow's O2 in the Park mega gig, which kicks off at 12-noon in Phoenix Park.

As we left with generous goodie bags (Moet & Chandon champagne, delicious Valrhona chocolate and Garden of Ireland scents) rumour had it that there was a rapidly forming waiting list for the Nokia 8800. Exclusive to Brown Thomas - get there quick.

Question of the week: Which recent addition to the social scene is charming all and sundry, with his air of wealth and sophistication? Truth is he's a dodgy character with more debt than a small African country.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A Rose by any other name...

Rose of Tralee 2005, Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, proudly wears her Newbridge Silverware tiara.

Rose of Tralee 2005

Congratulations to Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain who was crowned Rose of Tralee 2005 this week. Aoibhinn, who represented Mayo, was one of the favourites to win the title and walk with the specially commissioned Newbridge Silverware tiara.

Not just a pretty face, 22 year-old Aoibhinn has a first class honours degree in Theiretical Physics from UCD and plans to continue her post grad studies in Bio-Physics. Her impressive academic achievements include a student placement in 2004 at CERN (Centre European de Research Nuclear) in Geneva, awards in the international Mathematical Contest in Modelling, an Entrance Scholarship from UCD in 2001 and scholarships from Bord Na Gaeilge.

A natvie Irish speaker, she loves singing and also plays concertina, piano and guitar. She has been a member of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann for many years and has awards for sean-nos singing. She has also won awards for short story writing and poetry.

Phew! We should send her as our representative to the Miss Universe contest.

As well as the prestige of the title, Aoibhinn will travel the world on a €25,000 trip paid for by Kerry group, receive a home make-over from main sponsors Newbridge Silverware and a brand-new car provided by sponsors Smart Telecom.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


The sun was shining for the 6th Annual Fado Ladies International Polo, which took place on Sunday last at The All Ireland Polo Grounds in Phoenix Park. This social calendar staple raises funds for The Bubble Gum Club, a charity that arranges special holidays and outings for children in hospitals throughout Ireland, who are suffering from serious and life threatening illnesses and require on-going medical treatment. Celebrating it's 10th Birthday in 2004, the Bubble Gum Club has helped over 10,000 children since it's inception by businessman Peter Harris

A team from Yale University flew in from the U.S., captained by Eileen Flint with their star player (and one of the best female players in the world) Tamara Vestey. Other world class players included the Argentinean, Marianella Castagnola, 2 handicap player and Ireland’s Siobhan Herbst, who has just returned from the German International Polo Tournament in Pinnow. Chief umpire was Major Hugh Dawnay, world renowned polo tutor and now author. Also in Dublin for the event was Katrina Jennings, a commentator who covers all the major polo matches on the east coast of America.

The event also saw a show of renowned designer Deborah Veale's Autumn / Winter 05/06 collection. Designed to take the professional woman effortlessly through from day to evening and into relaxed weekend wear, the versatile collection of separates combine to provide an outfit to suit any occasion. Fashion that evolves to encompass a perfect balance between tailored and softly structured separates

Guests include The Earl and Countess of Meath, Oliver and Yona Caffrey, Wendy and Mickey Herbst, Mary Kavanagh, Ann Smurfit, ad agency boss Basil Brindley, hoteliers Lisa and Paul Fitzpatrick, property developer Johnny Ronan and his lovely wife Mary, Michael Colgan, man-of-style Ian Galvin, Michael and Kim Wright (glowing from the launch of their latest bar in Howth last week), Graham & Margaret Beere and Valerie Roe with her boyband Zoo. I hear that a well-connected consortium are looking in to setting up an all new group - watch out Zoo.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Rose of Tralee 2004

The gorgeous Orla O'Shea, current Rose of Tralee, pictured on Sunday. She will be handing over her title at the Rose of Tralee final on Tuesday night.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Rose of Tralee

I'm off to Tralee, Co. Kerry this evening for the annual Rose of Tralee festival. Now in it's 47th year, the festival continues to go from strength to strength, thanks to the input of generous sponsors, such as Newbridge Silverware.

For those of you not familiar with the Rose of Tralee, let me explain. The main attraction of the festival is choosing and crowning a Rose of Tralee. Essentially a beauty contest, with more onus on the personality, it attracts entries from all over the world and is broadcast on national television. This year's contest is being presented by Ray D'Arcy.

The ever popular Rose Ball will take place on Friday night in the beautiful Brandon Hotel. This black tie gala is many people's opportunity to see the Roses for the first time, before their debut at the parades over the following days.

The weekend always attracts many familiar faces and last year, for example, I bumped into top celebrity magician Keith Barry, TV presenters Alan Hughes and Ryan Tubridy, PR guru Joanne Byrne, former gossip columnist turned singer Jason O'Callaghan, media consultant Breda Brown and style queen Celia Holman - Lee.

This year's judges are newscaster Sharon Ní Bheoláin, Oonagh Doyle of Newbridge Silverware, Ken Barry of Smart Telecom, former International Rose Larna Canoy - Lackner and Terry O'Brien, Lord Mayor of Tralee.

The contest takes place on Monday and Tuesday (22 & 23) and will be broadcast on RTE 1 at 8pm, when we will see last year's Rose Orla O'Shea hand over the title. You can click here to see all the girls who will be smiling it out for that coveted Newbridge Silverware tiara.

It's a veritable institution here in Ireland. You'd have to see it to believe it.

Question from Rose of Tralee 2004: Whose partner got trashed in the VIP area of Fabric nightclub and stripped off on the dance floor? After a warning from security the party animal had no choice but tone it down. Not exactly 'model' behavior!

Drink Pink

It's official, pink is the new black. Mateus Rose hosted their annual Drink Pink Party in the Glass Room at Dublin’s Ocean Bar last night. The summer soiree dusted a pink hue over Charlotte Quay as members of the media and invited guests donned their best attire and sipped crisp Mateus Rose from champagne flutes.

A distinctly understated affair, the party provided the perfect antidote to the soccer mania gripping the city. Ireland 1 - Italy 2, for those of you who care. Actually, now that I mention soccer, have you seen the video clip of German player Sabastian Kehl's, ahem, tackle?! Go forth and Google.

But I digress. Last night's summer sounds were provided by the gorgeous DJ, Mo Kelly and mini treats were provided by Ocean Bar. Among the guests were Frances Winston wearing “icon chic” complete with matching Marilyn Monroe shoes and top. Man-about-town (or should that be Europe?) Gavin Lambe - Murphy sported the most desired accessory of all - a Mediterranean tan.

A perfectly chilled out evening guests watched the sun set over Charlotte Quay until the match was over and gridlock returned to Dublin - well you can’t have everything.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Birthday Girl

TV star Caroline Morahan, with new red hair style, enjoying her birthday in Cruzzo, Malahide.

Happy Birthday!

Stunning TV presenter Caroline Morahan celebrated her birthday at the weekend with an informal dinner in cool Cruzzo restaurant in Malahide. Overlooking the marina, guests enjoyed Jacob's Creek Rose (definitely the in drink this summer) while admiring the beautiflul sea view.

Caroline, who will co-present this year's O2 In the Park concert on the 27th, is sporting a fabulous new hair do. Gone are her dark tresses in favour for a more sexy red look. She told me that Mark O'Keeffe of Brown Sugar salon spent 6 and a half hours on her hair. Hey, she's worth it!

Among those at the dinner were her parents Jim and Tina; her sister, PR guru Olivia, with daughter Ella; Dara Conlon, Kathleen Meeney (mother of actor Colm), Orla Noonan and Micheál Burke.

Later in the night Caroline's boyfriend, actor Jordan Lee McGrath, was also celebrating his birthday with drinks in The Morgan. Jordan Lee will star in Garret Baker's The Flop and the Flunky, which is at the Teachers Club @ 36 Parnell Square, from 15th - 27th August.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Gal pals

Gillian Murphy and Elayne Brennan pictured recently at the Garden of Ireland party at The Merrion Hotel.

Garden party

The launch of ‘Garden of Ireland’, took place in the garden of the luxurious Merrion Hotel last week. ‘Garden of Ireland’, (produced by Fragrances of Ireland), is inspired by the county of Wicklow and draws on the scents of the county to produce a fresh, wholesome range of soaps, bath salts, body whip, hand creams, shower gels, lavender sachets and solid colognes. Oh yes please!

The collection is available in six scents including Sweet Lavender, which uses oil distilled from the company’s lavender fields in Co. Wicklow. Soaps and baths salts are wrapped in pure linen and each item is finished off with colourful embroidered ribbon (which reminded me of the Hermés ribbon), making the range very tactile.
The ‘Garden of Ireland’ collection combines traditional Irish elements with a comprehensive modern product design.

Among those sipping Kir Royales, while enjoying the harpist by the fountain, were MD of Unislim Ireland Fiona Gratzer with pal Debbie Cooke, both looking bronzed after a recent trip to Marbella. Jill Cox of Beaufield Mews Restaurant was enjoying the evening and just back from Belfast where she was sourcing artists for an up coming exhibition.

Fashion designer Cyane Kingston was also there with her partner, architect Simon Walker and their son Patrick, who had just celebrated his first birthday. Socialites are getting younger and younger - or maybe it's me getting older.

Cyane designed bespoke outfits for the event, which were worn beautifully by models Aisling Crowley and Katherine Calvert. Also in attendance was dapper gent Godfrey Deeney, who is European editor of Fashion Wire Daily. There wasn't a fashion faux pas in sight, I'm happy to report.

Nestled in the valley of the Sugarloaf Mountain in Co. Wicklow, Fragrances of Ireland have been producing premium soaps and toiletries for over 20 years including Ireland’s best selling fragrance ‘Inis - the energy of the sea’. Long may they prosper.

All ‘Garden of Ireland’ products are available from stores nationwide.

Question of the week: Which man-about-town has been trying to sell a kiss and tell story to the papers? The well-known girl in question has threaten the sleaze merchant with a lawsuit but luckily she's well connected with the press, so his pathetic offers were declined.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Ah, have a heart

Dublin’s social set descended on the stylish Beacon Hotel last week for the launch of a new ball in the social diary, The Have a Heart Ball, which will be held on September 9th 2005 in The Four Seasons Hotel. It promises to be one of the most memorable nights of the summer, and with Miss World Maria Julia Mantilla Garcia as the guest of honour, the evening promises to be a stylish one. The event was officially launched at a reception in The Beacon, to commence an awareness campaign for The Heartbeat Trust.

The launch reception was a wonderful event in the luxurious surroundings of The Beacon. Jacob's Creek Rose brought a touch of crimson to the event and there were lots of Lindt Chocolates Heart Chocolates for guests. Ciaran Nagle from The Irish Tenors entertained the guests with a few lively numbers. Guests who attending the launch reception included patrons of the ball Mike Murphy and Brian Kerr.

Also in attendance were FMI Olivia Tracey, actors George McMahon and Claudia Carroll from Fair City, socialite fundraiser Caroline Downey, Lisa Fitzpatrick and David and Rachel Agar to name but a few. also present was Alan Amsby, who is finalising plans for a new TV show where he will be getting many famous faces to bare their souls! The sporting world was represented by Eamonn Couglan, Ken Doherty and Graeme Souness.

The objective of the Have a Heart Ball is to raise funds for The Heartbeat Trust and to create awareness for this new and important charity. This year the committee expects to raise funds in excess of EUR 100, 000 to provide funding for Heart Failure services and research activities carried out by the SVUH Heart Failure research team. The organizing committee includes Carmel Conlon, Dr. Ken Mc Donald, Dr. Mark Ledwidge, Eanna Casey, Jim Walsh, Karen O'Keefe, Krish Naidoo, Krisha Naidoo, Lisa Fitzpatrick, Niall McCrudden, PJ Gibbons and Tara O'Connor. Newbridge Silverware, Maxwell Motors and Jacob's Creek are all sponsors of the ball in September.

The Have a Heart Ball will commence with a champagne and cocktail reception followed by a four-course meal with wines sponsored by Jacob's Creek. After dinner David Agar will put a number of exiting lots under the hammer in the auction to include a Knuttell painting and 23 signed Premiership jerseys from UK, Scottish and Irish football teams. After the auction dancing with commence to Paddy Cole and his band and DJ till the wee hours- with lots more surprises! Guests will be encouraged to wear something red on the night. There are a limited number of tables left for the each each costing €2,500. Call Tara on 01 - 8458177.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Golden Couple

TV3's Alan Hughes and Debbie O'Donnell enjoying the Race Ball.

It's all black & white

Stephen Cullinan and Grainne Seoige at The Race Ball in the Radisson SAS Galway.

The Race Ball

At the culmination of another action-packed week of racing and related festivities in Galway this week, the fifth annual Race Ball, the black tie extravaganza held every year during Galway Race Week, was a huge success on last week in the Radisson SAS Hotel Galway.

This year’s gala ball, sponsored by the Morricom Group with associate sponsors the Sporting Emporium and Independent Newspapers Day & Night, was one of the best yet featuring Grainne Seoige as MC, Nick Leeson, ex-Barings Bank, in charge of breaking the bank for the charity auction, Paddy Cole providing the music and a number of surprise musical and other guests to entertain the 750 strong guest-list until the not so early hours.

Guests this year were treated to a delicious Jacob's Creek bubbly reception and had the opportunity to win a fantastic prize of a luxurious trip for 2 to Las Vegas courtesy of US Airways and the Luxor Hotel among a spectacular list of auction items and prizes.

The 750 strong guest list comprises many people from the racing world alongside many more regular attendees at the Galway Races with a passing interest in racing. This year attending the ball were jockeys Berry Geraghty, Ross Geraghty and Paul Carberry, multi-millionaire businessman J.P. McManus, Dermot and Mark Weld, Sky News' Grainne Seoige and husband Stephen Callanan, TV3 presenter Alan Hughes, Paul Collins of Today FM, comedian Tommy Tiernan and CEO of Morricom Group, John Cox.

The voluntary organising committee comprises a number of people with various ties to Galway and the Races including Henry Cleary of Barclays Bank, Rachel Naughton of AIB, Miriam Kelly of A&L Goodbody, Joe Mitchell of Intel, Leo Casey of IBI Corporate Finance and Catherine O'Grady of Irish Distillers.

The fabulous event raised in excess of €100,000 for a number of charities including Cancer Care West, Life Pregnancy Care Galway, The Simon Community and Cricklewood Homeless Concern.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Back to the grind

After a brief hiatus in France and Spain I'm back - more wrecked than relaxed, if truth be told.

While on my travels I had dinner in the wonderful La Cour d'Eymet, in the little town of Eymet in the Dordogne, France. Amazing food. I also stayed in the newly opened and achingly hip (I'm sure that's how Wallpaper* Magazine would describe it) B-Hotel in Barcelona. With temperatures up to 38, the rooftop pool in the B was the only place to be.

Two places to add to an itinery.