Friday, September 30, 2005

1,000 into 21

I rounded off Wednesday night with a thousand other guests at the official opening of Twentyone Club & Lounge, Dublin's newest club. From 9pm guests including Keith Duffy and Samantha Mumba
flocked to D'Olier Street to check out this fantastically re-vamped nightclub.

Twentyone Club & Lounge has been created by owner, Dawn Maye, whose father Liam was one of the members of the consortium responsible for Dundrum Town Centre (what a co-incidence that Harvey Nics would open on the same night!).

Special features of Twentyone Club & Lounge include seven plasma screens, eight 'bed' booths, VIP and 'boudoir' areas for private parties, an amazing new dance floor, four dance podiums and of course, state of the art audio and visual technology. Guest thronged the dance floor 'til 3am and enjoyed entertainment such as magicians, contortionists, jugglers on stilts, fire eaters, professional dancers, illusionists and a python!

Twentyone Club & Lounge has a capacity of 1,000 people and it will target the 18 to 23 age group and will open 7 nights a week from 11pm to late. I'd say the average age was 21, so they're right on track.

George McMahon would feel right at home.

Project an Image

In other news I hear that there is a shake up at Image Magazine. Editor Sarah McDonnell and her Managing Director sister Jane have left the publication. Nobody I've spoken with knows the real reason, but the duo are thought to be setting up their own magazine.

Meanwhile, the wonderful Melanie Morris is to be the new editor of the popular women's magazine. Melanie, who published the hugely successful d'Side magazine, will surely inject a younger vibe to the society favourite.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

It's finally here ...

I dashed from Fire to the most anticipated launch party of the year so far. That veritable institute that is Harvey Nichols has finally landed in Dublin, much to the joy of the hoi polloi (and me!).

After following elaborate directions on the invite I arrived at the swanky store, which itself had stilt walkers, flames and a brass band outside to greet guests. Really, do we care about such extravagancies? But I digress.

Style was a plenty in the hallowed designer halls with the likes of Louise Kennedy, socialite Panti, Triona McCarthy, model Fergus Kealy, singer Brian Kennedy and Roxanne Parker all leading the field. Enjoying Grey Goose vodka cocktails in the top floor bar I spied producer Bill Hughes, Gary Kavanagh of Peter Mark, Nicola Connolly and Ken Hutton, who looked fit and well after recovering from a recent illness.

Burlesque queen Dita Von Teese was special guest on the evening and performed one of her spectacular shows, which had the basement entertainment area swarmed with people. She dumped her clothes faster than H&M dumped Kate Moss, much to the delight of many. I can only guess that she was also the reason for the group of paparazzi who were camped outside the entire night.

Regarding the new Harvey Nichols, I think some people were quite surprised at the size of the place. Or lack thereof. I overheard one society girl compare it to the Knightsbridge store and call it "the poor relation"! Nonetheless, it is an impressive place, with beautiful design features, particularly the bar and restaurant areas.

Brendan O'Connor (who is looking forward to being a judge on the forthcoming You're A Star TV show) and his lovely wife Sarah Caden, style writer Eoin Lyons, Maria Fusco, Bairbre Power, model David Brittain and publicist Emma Kelly were also among the guests. The champagne-fuelled party went on till well after midnight with all guests picking up a generous Harvey Nicks goodie bag upon departure.

Hot to trot

Samantha Mumba and Charles Porter enjoy the launch party for Fire last night.

Fired Up

The new Fire restaurant at the Mansion House, Dublin.

On fire

Traffic was brought to a near standstill on Dawson Street last night. A mixture of limos dropping off their passengers, Gardai escorts for the diplomatic corps and members of the public stopping for a closer look all contributed to my being late for the launch of Fire, the new restaurant at the Mansion House. Not to worry, it was a busy night on the social circuit.

Fire-eaters, devil worshipping topless jugglers, gymnasts, fire devils and musical and drum performers, were some of the activities that welcomed the 300 strong guests to the red carpet affair.

The latest venture of Longford businessman Padraic O'Kane attracted many familiar faces. I spotted rugby star Brian O'Driscoll (overheard saying that he will be going to France to play), singer turned actress Samantha Mumba, Louis Copeland Senator Mary O'Rourke and Jason O'Callaghan, who tonight is hosting his own party to mark the publication of his first book, Behind the Velvet Rope: Confessions of a Gossip Columnist.

The restaurant's next door neighbour, the Honorable Catherine Byrne, Lord Mayor of Dublin, performed the official opening, to rapturous applause. I'm reliably informed that the kitchen serves an amazing fusion of European and American high-quality food, which, unfortunately, I didn't have time to sample.

As I left, there was a large crowd gathered on the terrace outside, including Lord and Lady Mount Charles, Joanne Rochford and Elisabeth Fitzpatrick, Marisa Mackle, Caroline Desmond and Richard Kavanagh. Some of whom taking refuge from the large crowd inside, others having a quick cigarette.

There's no smoke without Fire, as they say.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Town & Country

I found myself in the depths of Wicklow at the weekend, foraging for mushrooms no less. I was accompanying my friend, restaurant critic for the Sunday Business Post, Ross Golden - Bannon for the trek to identify edible mushrooms from poisonous ones. Apparently it's the most dangerous sport in Europe. Pick a deadly mushroom, eat it and die. It doesn't get more dangerous than that I guess.

The event was organised by 'Big' Bill O'Dea, who is probably Ireland's leading mycophagist (that's someone who has an interest in eating mushrooms). We hunted in the extensive forests and brought back our swag, most of which was not for consumption. We cooked up what we could and after a delicious lunch in Avondale House I learned more than I ever need to know about mushrooms.

Much amusement was had by all (hey, Bill's a fun guy), and while my knowledge of mushrooms is not extensive as a result, I now know the difference between a Chanterelle and a Destroying Angel. Check out Bill's other mushroom hunts at

On the way home I popped in to see the new Harvey Nichols department store at Dundrum Town Centre. It's quite impressive but a little on the small side. I spotted Emma Crisp and Elaine 'Pinky' Pinkster enjoying glasses of champagne in the bar. Emma had the latest addition to her family with her, baby Milo. It's good to instill good taste at an early age.

The official launch event happens tomorrow night so I'll update you on proceedings accordingly. Rumour has it that special guests include Jay Kay from Jamiroquai, the Geldof girls (Peaches, Pixie etc.) and, not surprisingly, Milo Crisp.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Rouge - La Petite Mort, Encore!

What has been, arguably, one of the most diverse shows of the Dublin Fringe Festival so far, bedazzled punters last night in the Spiegeltent at the IFSC. Rouge - La Petite Mort, Encore! thrilled, entertained and shocked the assembled troupe of culture vultures, who weren't quite sure what to expect in the first place.

Directed by Tonie Walsh (and his innovative Mr. T Productions) and Tracy Martin, it was a night of burlesque, cabaret, music and comedy - which had the audience hooked, like Kate Moss to a bag of blow. MC for the evening was man-about-town Gringo O'Hara, who kept proceedings flowing like the water outside in Georges Dock.

Featuring comedian Katherine Lynch, Panti and Veda Beaux Reves, Paddy Fagin, The Shannon Cailins and a collection of assorted other fabulous degenerates, the show attracted a huge crowd, many of who continued the party on at the SpiegelClub and beyond to Savage at The Hub.

Businessman Paddy Bollard, Fringe Fest executive producer Bea Kelliher, Daragh Lally, interior designer Peter Willis, Ann Marie Ryan and Tina McLoughlin, Rob Martin and Karim Rehmani - White were among those I spotted.

Let's hope Rouge becomes a more regular fixture on the scene. The Fringe Festival continues until the 2nd of October.

My pal joey

Thursday night was a busy night in Dublin from launches to lingerie parties, but to end the night Pal Joey hosted a party to celebrate two years in business.

Not only is it Pal Joey's birthday but the famous music venue opened its doors to a new reinvigorated club. As one of Dublin's favourite late night watering holes, Pal Joey has been home to many of the celebrities who visit the capital on a regular basis. Stars from Eastenders and Cornation Street always drop by to spend an evening in Pal Joey when in Dublin. Keith Duffy is a regular along with rugby and soccer stars Eric Miller, Brian O'Driscoll and Stephen Carr - when not suffering the rigours of training, I guess.

The party theme for the evening was inspired by the glitz and glam of a music awards ceremony and passers by were eager to get past the velvet ropes and walk up the 'black carpet'. Guests were greeted by none other than Madonna and Elvis (or perhaps that should be Madona and Elviz?) and a magic man called Dan.

Located in Dublin’s bustling Temple Bar, Pal Joey – Music / Café Bar and Club opened amid much interest in June 2003. The contemporary venue, although small, oozes warmth and atmosphere on each of its three levels and retains a level of intimacy not often found in similar styles of venues. Pal Joey - Music / Café Bar and Club – is always buzzing and preferred by Dublin’s social set and young executives and professionals.

Familiar faces included Miss Ireland Aoife Cogan, FMI's Andrea Roche and Siobhan McClafferty and top model Glenda Gilson (will she move to France if Brian gets a gig?). Fair City was well represented by George McMahon (who was still in party mode from his big 21st the previous night), Killian O'Sullivan and Rachel Kavanagh.

Other guests on the night include Valerie and Bernie Roe, boyband Zoo, Niall McCrudden and off course owner of Pal Joey Krishna Naidoo who was a charming host on the night. As part of Pal Joey's new live music acts singer Sarah Jane Hudson and guitarist Paul McDonnall performed on the night.

Friday, September 23, 2005


The Dublin party pack, as I like to call them, were out on the town on Wednesday night for a special shindig hosted by one of their own, acting tour de force, George McMahon. Celebrating his 21st birthday in style, young George (well, 21 is young) took over the Sugar Club and threw one of the best birthday bashes seen in a while.

By the time I arrived, well after midnight (from the Glamour fashion show), the party was in full swing to the sound of a 10-strong instrumental band with George himself leading the dancefloor. Having recently left Fair City, where he played popular character Mondo, George is busy shooting a new movie based on the Stardust tragedy, which is being produced by Norman Siderow.

Taking time out to celebrate the 21st milestone, he was joined by a plethora of friends and family including his stunning girlfriend Lindsay Cowap, David Mitchell, members of boyband Zoo, Alan Amsby, BB's Ray Shah, Brian Ormond and Samantha Mumba and (new boyfriend!) Charles Porter. Actually, I was seated next to the couple and poor Charles looked like he didn't want to be there.

Also there were supermodel Caprice, Karl Broderick, Derek Mooney and Alan Hughes, who joined the party after the Glamour fashion event earlier in the evening.

Knowing George, the 21st will still be going on this weekend and judging by the size of the birthday cake (which was in the shape of a film clapperboard), there'll still be plenty of it to go round.

Question of the night: Who did I see throwing up outside the club as I was leaving? The young chap obviously had one too many cocktails.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Glamour Girls

Ann O'Reilly and Caprice backstage at the West Coast Cooler Glamour event last night.


The West Coast Cooler Glamour event continued it's glitzy tour of Ireland last night with a magnificent show at the Radisson St. Helens Hotel in Dublin. Style and elegance were paramount.

Hosted by Ireland AM presenter Alan Hughes, the evening showcased some amazing designs and the must-have looks for the coming season. The creative behind the event was top stylist Catherine Condell, who put on a magnificent show, which was the brainchild of Debbie O'Donnell. Special guest star Caprice stole the show in a gorgeous Synan O'Mahony evening gown.

I spotted TV3's Collete Fitzpatrick, Trish Fallon and Amy Buckeridge, RTE presenter Derek Mooney, author Marisa Mackle (who is just finishing her 5th book), Keith and Ann O'Reilly, designer Perter O'Brien and actress Tatiana Ouliankina. Andrew Rudd and Sharon Plunkett also enjoyed the evening, as did Luka Hickey of Bourjois and model Fergus Kealy, who is looking refreshed after his year long stint in Australia.

West Coast Glamour continues it's blaze of fabulousity and will be hosted in Radisson Hotels on the following dates: Limerick 29/09, Cork 04/10, Sligo 06/10 and Galway 10/10. Tickets from Central Ticket Bureau.

Question of the night: Which two blonde party girls were seen falling up the garden steps to the hotel? Too much West Coast Cooler no doubt!

Boy Eats Girl

Zombies were out in force on Tuesday night (no, not Kate Moss and Peter Doherty) for the world premiere of Samantha Mumba's new movie Boy Eats Girl. The life-like aforementioned zombies were in attandance as part of the Lucozade sponsored premiere, in conjunction with their latest ad campaign.

Directed by Stephen Bradley, and starring his wife, comdian Deirdre O'Kane, the story is of student Nathan, played by David Leon, who dies and is brought back to life via voodoo witchery by his mum (O'Kane). The plan is flawed however as Nathan develops a penchant for human flesh and proceeds to unleash a wave of terror among the community.

It's all very tongue-in-cheek with gallons of blood and guts spewing everywhere. If you are of a queesy disposition this movie is not for you. In fact, the special effects were done by, who has been responsible for the Alien movies. Apparently he has never used as much fake blood on any production before Boy Eats Girl.

Corrie star Keith Duffy and his gorgeous wife Lisa, comedian Des Bishop, Caroline Morahan, Ardal O'Hanlon, Pauline McLynn and the wonderful Doreen Keogh (whose Mrs. Bumble character steals the movie) were all in attendance. Samantha Mumba ("and her new boyfriend!" as the advance press release stated) and stars of the movie Laurance Kinlan, Bryan Murray and Sarah James all attended the after party in SIN.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


I ventured to Dax yesterday, one of Dublin's newest kids on the restaurant block. There, publicist Aileen Eglington had organised a luncheon, which was hosted by Tony Collins and his award winning travel firm, Topflight.

We were there to celebrate the coming 05/06 season of skiing and snowboarding destinations, which Topflight do so well. With destinations such as Italy, Andorra, Bulgaria, USA, France and Austria, it's easy to see why they have been voted Best Ski Company for the 11th year running. Whether you're a newcomer to the slopes (as I was a few years ago) or familiar with fast black runs (I'm not there just yet), you couldn't do better than check out Topflight.

Among those swapping stories of the piste were Hilary O'Shaughnessy, photographer Kim Haughton and comedian and You're A Star Celebrity contestant Alan Shortt, who recently took part in a ski trip with the National Council for the Blind as part of his fundraising efforts. I also bumped into the newly married Gerry Mullins of Backpacker Magazine and Andrew Ward, who represents Ski Andorra and flew in from London for the event.

As I left, with a bottle of champagne courtesy of Elisabetta Gutterer of Trentino, I think the guests were settling in for an afternoon on the piste.

Question of the week: Apropos of Paris Hilton, which Irish society blonde has earned herself the nickname Paris Jurys? Definitely one of the more interesting aspects of the recent Jurys Hotel multi-million euro takeover battle.

Monday, September 19, 2005

An artist in Wolf's clothing

The quaint village of Enniskerry has had a bit of Hollywood thrust upon it as an exciting exhibition opened in the O'Sullivan Bewick Gallery yesterday.

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Fred Wolf is president and founder of one of Hollywood’s leading animation development and production studios. Multiple awards including an Academy Award, an Academy Award nomination and three Emmys have honored his work.

Within its thirty-five year history, Fred Wolf Films has produced many television series that include, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Zorro and James Bond Jr. Other productions with Fred Wolf at the helm include two Emmy Award-winning television specials, as well as programming for Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, MGM, MTM Productions, CBS, NBC, and ABC.

Mr. Wolf’s art emphasizes compositional challenges in figurative situations. Light source and color choices add to the whimsy in a fantastical, if not surrealistic, manner. Many of his paintings invite the onlooker into a moment of some untold, but familiar story. The collection is comprised of original oils painted from 1994 to the present.
Prior to this period, his time allotted to painting was limited due to film studio commitments. However, years of sketching little thumbnail ideas for future paintings proved to be advantageous in the execution of the final canvases.

The influence of his animated film experience can be found throughout several of the paintings. Consider his early short films where his unique wit and sense of comedic timing are coupled with his sense of brevity; using only what is essential to tell the story.

The exhibition runs from 18th to the 30th of September and is well worth a look should you be in the area.

Friday, September 16, 2005


An exciting chapter in the world of Irish motorsport opened yesterday, with the formal launch of the country's latest international team of speedsters. A1 Team Ireland, which will compete in the newly formed A1 Grand Prix was unveiled at a spectacular event in the Concert Hall of the Royal Dublin Society last night, with many familiar faces making up the who's who of attendees.

In the presence of guest of honour His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum al Maktoum, Chairman, Founder and President of the A1 Grand Prix series, Irish government representatives, business leaders and media, A1 Team Ireland’s management presented its plan for the inaugural season. The A1 Grand Prix car unveiled by the team is one of over 20 technically identical cars which will compete in the 12 race series, battling for victory in The World Cup of Motorsport at tracks around the world between September 2005 and April 2006.

Following the launch of the A1 Team Ireland racing car, it will be shown to the public at Motorshow Ireland at the RDS on Friday and Saturday before being taken to Mondello Park for a track demonstration at the hands of Sheikh Maktoum during Sunday’s Failte Ireland International Race Weekend.

Speaking at the launch of A1 Team Ireland, HH Sheikh Maktoum said: "Ireland has a strong tradition of competition in high-level international motorsport that will continue with A1 Team Ireland’s entry to the World Cup of Motorsport. With the backing of Mark Kershaw and Mark Gallagher – all renowned for their motorsport expertise, and a bit of the traditional Irish luck, I am sure that A1 Team Ireland will do their country proud when the inaugural A1 Grand Prix of Nations takes to the grid at Brands Hatch next week.’

A1 Team Ireland, which is headquartered in Dublin with an operations office near Silverstone in the UK, is completing recruitment of up to 20 technical and commercial staff. At the helm is Chief Executive Mark Kershaw, a well-known face on the Irish social circuit, who can often be seen behind the wheel of a Ferrari or Porsche. Mark's background in motorsport inspired him to establish this exciting new project. The A1 Team Ireland line-up is completed by Commercial Director PJ Fallon, Technical Director Andy Miller and Team Manager Dave O’Neill.

Among the fast and the furious at the event were Karla Elliot, socialite prince Richard Kavanagh (or should that be Prince of Socialites, I'm never sure), Andrea Roche and PJ Mansflield. Top model Glenda Gilson was also in attendance, with her parents and brother Damian, as was the gorgeous Lisa Harrison, who is currently dating Mark Kershaw. Bernie and Lorenza Caffolla, Valerie Roe, solicitor Gerald Kean and Niall Farrell were also there.

Stephen Byrne and his gorgeous wife, former TV presenter Louise, also enjoyed the event. The couple are expecting their first child in two weeks time and Louise truly is blooming.

Question of the week: Which hight profile socialite has fallen off the wagon and is partying even harder than ever before?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Gong time

Thespians (they're actors, sillies) were in abundance at a reception to launch the people's movie choice at the year's Irish Film & Television Awards, or the IFTAs as they have become affectionately known as.
Sponsored by AIB and Jameson, the Best Film has long been a popular sector of the awards, with the public putting their stamp on proceedings.

This year's nominations for the AIB Best Irish Film are:

Adam & Paul, Headrush, Mickybo & Me and Inside I'm Dancing.
To vote simply text 'IRISH' to 53799 and follow the instructions. You could win a trip to Krakow for your efforts.

The Jameson International Film Award nominations are:

Crash, Sin City, Batman Begins and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory.
To vote simply text 'FILM' to 53799 and follow the instructions. And you could be off to Beverly Hills if you win.

At the party in ICE at the Four Seasons Hotel (I feel like I'm living there lately) were Trish Long of BVI, Catherine O'Grady of Irish Distillers, Former Miss World Rosanna Davison, Alan Cantwell and Claire Byrne of TV3.

Actors Tom Hickey, Michele Forbes, Louise Louis and Mark O'Halloran were also there. Directors Shimmy Marcus and Damian O'Donnell, Daragh Rea and Jenny Sharif of Kate Bowe PR and artist Terry Bradley all enjoyed the evening.

The Irish Television & Film Awards will take place at a star studded ceremony in Dublin on November 5th.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Strut your stuff

BootStudio from Timberland

Timberland AW05

Tuesday morning saw the launch of Timberland’s new AW 05 collection. Guests gathered in the bright and sunny surroundings of BootStudio, based in Dundrum Town Centre. BootStudio allows you to design your very own pair of Timberland boots, giving you complete control over colour, laces and stitching – you can even get your initials embroidered on to your creations! Of course, this exciting new adventure in fashion had the assembled style crew buzzing with anticipation…

Guests included Samantha Bryant from Timberland UK, who flew over from London especially for the morning with colleague Victoria Slade, up-and-coming stylist Leoni Amon, Graham Cruz who was enjoyed the thrill of a bumper shopping spree, and the ever glam Bairbre Power.

Kathryn Thomas regaled guests with tales of her trip to Bulgaria, and made them green with envy when she announced that she was off again to Egypt, the next day. Her boots were certainly made for walking.

You can pick up the latest Timberland collection in stores in Dundrum, Limerick, Cork and Belfast, as well as top stockists nationwide. Go forth.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Fun at the Four Seasons

I made a return visit to the Four Seasons Hotel on Friday and spent practically my entire day and night in its opulent surroundings.

The annual ISPCC lunch was hosted there and, as always, it attracted the great and the good. Gráinne Seoige, Shelly Corkery and Dalton Philips of Brown Thomas and Norma Smurfit, with her daughter Sharon O'Brien, all turned out in style to support the charity. Indeed, Brown Thomas previewed their Autumn Winter international designer collection, with many of the ladies taking mental notes of the upcoming looks.

Later on in the evening I attended a most glamorous gala with a red theme, namely the Have a Heart Ball, which was in aid of The Heartbeat Trust. I was well placed at the Social & Personal table, where I was near guest of honour, and first to grace the red carpet, Miss World, the truly beautiful Maria Julia Mantilla Garcia.

In excess of €100,000 was raised on the evening, with auction items such as a red Mini Cooper, a Paul Sheeran diamond necklace and a Knuttell painting contributing to the final total.

Among the glammed up and gorgeous were Miss Ireland Aoife Cogan, Triona McCarthy, George McMahon, Andrea Roche and PJ Mansfield, William Doyle of Newbridge Silverware, Siobhan McClafferty and Mark Kershaw, who next week launches his A1 Grand Prix group, A1 Team Ireland, with His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Meeting of minds

Declan Fearon of Tipperary Crystal and restauranteur Patrick Guilbaud at the reception last night.

A perfect partnership

Wine, and indeed fine food, connoisseurs gathered in Ireland's finest eaterie on Thursday evening to celebrate a very special partnership. Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud was the location to unveil the latest addition to the Tipperary Crystal range, the Patrick Guilbaud Connoisseur Wine Collection.

Declan Fearon of Tipperary Crystal explained to me that the perfect wine glass should be made from the finest clear crystal, giving optimum clarity and an unimpaired view and appreciation of the wine. It's easy to see why Patrick Guilbaud was inspired to collaborate with Tipperary Crystal. They both share the pursuit of perfection. As does Louise Kennedy, who also designs for them. Unable to attend, she was in Paris for the famous Maison et Objet trade show.

Celebrating the occasion were designer John Rocha and his wife Odette, the French Ambassador to Ireland, HE Frédéric Grasset, Mr. and Mrs. David Dilger, Eddie Shanahan of Arnotts, Margaret McCarthy of Blarney Woolen Mills and publisher Kevin Kelly, along with a coterie of others.

All of whom, like me, appreciate the finer things in life.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Mr. D'Arcy

"Oh Mr. D'Arcy" swooned the girls. No, it was nothing to do with the recently released movie, Pride & Prejudice. Rather, they were captured by the dashing Irish rugby international Gordon D'Arcy, who on Wednesday announced that he is to be the new face of top mens wear brand Magee.

At a reception in the Guinness Storehouse, Magee's chairman, the equally dashing Lynn Temple, spoke of his delight to be associated with the Irish player, describing him as the ultimate performance player. Gordon, understandably, is honoured with the association.

Rugby pundit George Hook was on hand to grill the young player and, for the evening at least, the two put aside any differences and entertained the crowd with commentary and analysis of the latest season. Rugby talk turned to soccer however, as later the big match was beamed in to the party. After the disappointing result there was a quick exit, as the French team were due to attend a function upstairs in the Gravity Bar.

The guests included model Conor Devaney, radio presenter Taragh Loughrey - Grant and Fiona and Eamonn Dillon of Killerig Castle Hotel & Golf Club in Carlow, who told me they are currently working on a €60 million expansion of the place.

Also there were agents Brendan Scully and Sean Montague, who manage the gorgeous Crimmins triplets, Laura, Alison and Nicola. The talented trio have been invited as special guests to the re-opening of London's Hard Rock Café next month. The girls will make a dramatic entrance, which is sure to set the UK paparazzi alight.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Fashion + Property

Tuesday was a busy day for me, as I ran from pillar to post, in order to attend the best parties around town. My day kicked off with a fashion show hosted by Tesco Ireland in Frank's Restaurant, a little gem on Grand Canal Street.

Showcasing was the Autumn / Winter 2005 Florence + Fred collection, with cosy knits and sharp suits in rich colours dominating the catwalk. The fashionistas, including Cathy O'Connor, Bairbre Power and Sive O'Brien, were out in force and all enjoyed the show.

Later on, two baby penguins greeted me on a beautiful sunny evening when I arrived at Four Seasons Hotel Dublin. They were there to celebrate the announcement of an exciting new development in Dubai called Snowdome. Sun, sea, sand … and now snow!

As Ireland's multi-millionaires continue to fight over expensive property here, the wise man is looking further afield, to places such as Dubai, where the living truly is affluent - at half the price. We gathered in ICE (it's no longer called the Ice Bar), where we were treated to an exclusive preview of this adventurous project, which is being marketed by Irish agent Larionovo.

MD of Larionovo, Raymond Norton, informed me that the Snowdome would rise to a height of over 70m and offer top class residences with every winter activity available, all under the largest freestanding dome in the world. Very James Bond, I think you'll agree.

Chief architect Steve Lumby, Charlie McCreevy Jnr., Mitchell Allen, property magnate Paddy Kelly and solicitor Ivor Fitzpatrick were among the impressed faces gathered.

I also bumped into Roisin O'Hea, who is busy with preparations for the forthcoming Barretstown Ball, which takes place in Barretstown Castle on October 1st. Paul Newman, The Edge, Paul McCartney and Heather Mills attended last year. For information call 045-864115.

My natural Habitat

What was surely one of the best-attended launch parties of the year so far took place in the amazing new Habitat store on Tuesday night. Malcolm Brighton, MD of Habitat Ireland hosted the spectacular event, which was the official launch of his new Dublin store. Every sofa, table and chair in the place was put to good use as guests were made to feel right at home.

After over a year of planning and development, the flagship store, which borders Suffolk Street and College Green, is now open for business and includes a Twentieth Century Design concession, the Relax Café and Patisserie and all the stylish home furnishings and accessories that Habitat is famous for. Stretched over 4 floors and covering 35,000 sq.ft., the store occupies a restored former bank premises and a contemporary retail space, designed by award winning Irish architects Douglas Wallace.

Enjoying delicious Kinnie cocktails, Bombay Sapphire and Wolfblass wines, the crowd were entertained by the burlesque dance troupe from the Tassel Club, who are gearing up to perform as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival next week.

A stylish gang were out in force, including Chief Executive of the Habitat Group Jens Nordahl, who flew in from London for the event, Sonia Reynolds, interior designer Martha Lovett, Alex Fitzgerald and Siobhan Buchanan - Johnson. Anna Nolan and Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh of RTE's The Afternoon Show were also in attendance as was architect Simon Walker, whose father designed the original bank building.

Dancing went on till the early hours in the lower ground floor of the store, which had been turned into a night club-type space especially for the evening.

Ah, my natural habitat.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Your host ....

Yours truly with MTV presenter DP Fitzgerald, pictured in the Bacardi B-Bar VIP area at Electric Picnic.

Shiny Happy People

Nicola Connolly and Micheal Burke pictured in the Bacardi B-Bar VIP area at Electric Picnic.


The last remnants of this year's Electric Picnic should be disappearing right about now from the grounds of Stradbally Hall, Co. Laois. The 2-day music festival, which took place over the weekend, was attended by an estimated 25,000 people, with in excess of 15,000 camping on the grounds of the country estate.

Acts such as The Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire, DJ Laurent Garnier, Goldfrapp and Kraftwerk were massive hits with the crowds, while big name DJ Fat Boy Slim disappointed some. Does it get tough at the top?

Marketed as a "boutique" festival, Electric Picnic certainly hit all the right notes and proved that a gig of this scale can be a pleasure, unlike other big festivals around the country. Alternative areas, such as Lost Vagueness and the Comedy Tent, proved successful and a great diversion from the norm.

Among those I spotted backstage at the Bacardi B-Bar were Susan Vasquez, Nicola and Sarah Connolly, Paul Trainer from The Dubliner, Aoife O'Reilly. MTV presenter DP Fitzgerald, who was roving the grounds with his camera crew in tow, was also there. I still haven't seen the piece he did with me at the Oxegen music festival - but I've been assured it looks good!

Also enjoying the festival were comedy agent Naoise Nunn, of Aprés Match fame, singers David Kitt, who was camping in the VIP campsite, and Mundy, who was at the James Blunt gig. TV producer Cillian Fennell, Sinead Ryan and Malachy Geelan, stylist Roxanne Parker, promoter Buzz O'Neill and Aidan Bishop, no doubt there to support his big brother, comedian Des.

Rumour has it that organiser John Reynolds, of PoD events, is planning to stage next year's Electric Picnic over 3 days. Bring it on!

Monday, September 05, 2005

The Premiere of Pride & Prejudice

Thursday night saw the red carpet rolled out again at the Savoy movie theatre for the latest Irish film premiere. A plethora of paparazzi were lined up to snap some cast a crew of Pride & Prejudice, who flew into Dublin for the event.

Before the movie, TV presenter Caroline Morahan introduced the film stars, with Matthew MacFadyen, who plays Mr. Darcy, getting huge support from the females in the audience. Swoon! Rosamund Pike, who plays Jane Bennet, looked amazing in a red and orange Prada number.

A romantic story in all it's period drama glory with great performances from stalwarts such as Donald Sutherland, Judie Dench and Brenda Blethyn, as well as the aforementioned younger stars.
The feel good factor of Pride & Prejudice is high on the scale. It's humorous, witty and an all round nice movie. You could bring your granny to it and she'd love it. No sex or violence here, thank you very much.

As a few people lingered in the theatre to compose themselves and wipe away a few stray tears, a select number of guests attended the after party in The Front Lounge on Parliament Street. Delicious Jameson cocktails were mixed with fervour as guests mingled and tried to get up close and personal with Mr. Darcy.

The movies producer Paul Webster and director Joe Wright, were there with Jena Malone, who plays Lydia Bennet. Author Kate Thompson, models Lee Bradshaw and Fergus Kiely (who's just back from a 2 year stint in Australia), Robbie Fox of Renards, Kieran Tobin from Irish Distillers and his lovely wife Carol, Donagh and Kay Lane, producer Bill Hughes with pal Paddy Bollard and Peter and Rosemary O'Connell.

Pride & Prejudice opens nationwide on September 16th.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Coronation Street star Jennie McAlpine pictured at the TV3 autumn programming launch in The Morrison Hotel earlier today.
TV3, Ireland's independent TV network, today celebrated the new autumn season of programming in style at a launch held at The Morrison Hotel earlier today. A host of famous faces were on hand to see the first glimpse of what entertainment will be on offer.

TV3 enjoys being the second most watched station in Ireland and this autumn sees the introduction of many top quality new shows, including Revelations, Committed and Hell's Kitchen USA. The ever popular X-Factor and Pop Idol are also returning.

One of the most interesting new commissions however will be a brand new prime time talk show. Filmed weekly from a Dublin venue, in front of an invited audience, the one hour entertainment show will also take a wry look at the week's news and bring some unexpected twists as the host unleashes comedy challenges and stunts on the public. Sounds rather Graham Norton to me, but that remains to be seen.

As Matthew Sallway, Director of Programming, announced this there was immeadiate speculation as to who the presenter was to be. That was until none other that Brendan Courtney was revealed. Brendan, who has been forging a successful career in the UK of late, will return to our screens with this exciting mix of entertainment in the near future and told me that he's very excited about it and looking forward to being on Irish TV again. Did I mention Graham Norton already?!

Among those enjoying the event were Maura Derrane, Mark Cagney and Debbie O'Donnell of breakfast show Ireland AM (who I am hoping to join again, as Fashion Stylist, later this year); news anchors Claire Byrne, Alan Cantwell, Colette Fitzpatrick and Elaine Crowley. TV3 Chairman James Morris was also there, as was Laura Bermingham, Martin King and Sybill Mulcahy.

TV presenter and columnist Amanda Brunker was looking pretty in pink, as was model Ciara Bailey. Making a special appearance for the launch were Coronation Street stars Susie Blake (who plays Bev Unwin) and Jennie McAlpine (Fiz Brown); Kelvin Fletcher (who plays Andy Sugden) and Charley Webb (Debbie Dingle) from Emmerdale and Liz May Brice, Rebecca Hazelwood and Antonia Okonma from Bad Girls.