Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Socialites & Personalities

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

S&P Top 100

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

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

The top 5 Party People of 2005 are….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winter wonderland

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Milano @ 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

+++ bits + pieces +++

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 28, 2005

Joining the Q

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 25, 2005

Close up

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

Strike a Pose

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

DIT Do IT again

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

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

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

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

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

The future of Ireland's fashion scene is here.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Good goods come in small packages

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

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

Opening Night

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 21, 2005

+++ bits + pieces +++

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

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

Eyes Wide Open

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

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

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

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

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

I can only imagine the size of the house!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

+++ bits + pieces +++

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 14, 2005

Retail therapy

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

Topshop opens

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 11, 2005

Rock On

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

No Saints

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Bags of Fun

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

Shopping frenzy at H&M

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Pavee Lackeen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


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

Ely, ely, oohhh

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

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

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

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

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

I just knew they were worth keeping to myself!

Monday, November 07, 2005

+++ bits + pieces +++

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 04, 2005

GLM @ 30

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Going for Gold

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

Food & Fahion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Smiling, despite the rain

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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