Monday, February 28, 2005

A view from the London Eye, yesterday.

A view of The Roof Gardens from Babylon restaurant. Another good pic with the Nokia 7610.
Social London

Just had a most enjoyable weekend in London. I always mean to spend more time there, and the fact that it's only a short flight from Dublin to London City Airport should really see me clocking up some serious frequent flyer miles.

The base for the duration was the Millenuim Hotel in Mayfair, an olde worlde meets contemporary place. I had dinner in Balans on Friday night, a popular eaterie with nice food and a great atmosphere. I'd heard about it before but never had the pleasure. I'd recommend it, if you are in the Soho area. It's rather chic.

Saturday night I dined in Brian Turner of Mayfair, which is actually part of the Millenium Hotel. Brian Turner is a well known TV celebrity chef and his fare is pretty impressive. He was even pressing the flesh in the place, which was either tacky or endearing, I couldn't decide. A visit was also paid to Shaun&Joe, a preferred club of mine.

Babylon at The Roof Gardens in Kensington was the venue for lunch on Sunday afternnon, where we were joined by good friend Henry McCullough. No sign of celebrity chefs here, but overall a better experience than that of Brian Turner. If you are ever in the area, try and pop up to see the gardens - a veritable oasis.

I'm not really interested in tourist attractions, however when Henry recommended the London Eye, I just had to see what all the fuss is about. The view is amazing and it really gives a better perspective of the layout of London. It's flatter than Angelina Jolie's stomach.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Get Hitched

Will Smith usually annoys me. I find his brand of humour about as funny as a depressed accountant (if you knew my accountant you'd understand). However, I am pleased to inform you all that his latest vehicle, Hitch, is quite enjoyable. I went to a special screening on Wednesday night in the Savoy and if the reactions of the other guests are any sort of barometer of taste, then this movie should do well.

I bumped into actor Killian O'Sullivan, who plays Lorcan in Fair City. As well as being an actor, Killian is also an acomplished DJ and is spending more and more time playing in the U.K. He's one talanted guy.

I also spotted theatre producer Bea Kelliher, who is already working on the next Fringe Festival and David Kaneswaren and Michael Sammon of boyband Zoo, currently sitting pretty at the No. 1 position in the charts.

I'm off to London for the weekend. Have a good one!

Question of the week: Which TV broadcaster is fond of acting like a diva? This prima donna's behaviour has become so apalling that her colleagues have started making official complaints about her.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Carnival fever

Ireland's most beautiful ambassador, last year's Miss World Rosanna Davison, took to the catwalk for the first time since handing her crown over last December. Looking ravishing in a dramatic red Synan O'Mahony creation, Rosanna was the star of the DIT Carnival of Fashion Show, last night's show in aid of the Marie Keating Foundation, in Vicar Street.

At a pre-show West Coast Cooler cocktail party guests got a sneak preview of some of the amazing gowns from Synan O'Mahony, Ceylon and Julien among others. TV3 duo Debbie O'Donnell and Alan Hughes, Miriam Ahern, former wife of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, models Astrid Brennan and Roz Lipsett, stylist Roxanne Parker and socialite Karla Elliott.

The MCs for the evening were the stunning Emma Brown and radio presenter Dermot Whelan. Emma Brown? Better known as TV and radio star Emma Buckley, who is now using her married name, since her nuptuals to sportsman Frazer Brown.

The entertainment really had the crowd going (or was it agog?). Radioactive Pussy (geddit?), were finalists in last year's Alternative Miss Ireland contest and are back for more. I'm sure Louis Walsh is keeping a close eye on the trio. Speaking of Louis, I hear he is off to the States with Sharon Osbourne to meet with the producers of American Idol. The man from Mayo still has a long way to go it seems.

Congratulations to Heidi Walsh of Sallynoggin College, who won the Student Designer of the Year Award with her flamboyant netting outfits. Well done also to Jane Wilde and Beccie Johnson, who won modelling contracts with the best agency in town, Compton.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Summer Lovin' at the BT2 show, with thanks to Nokia

BT2 SS05 fahion show last night
A glimpse of Summer

There is a cruel irony in hosting a Spring Summer fashion show on the coldest day of the year. It was freezing yesterday - and snowing! Can you imagine our surprise then when we entered the BT2 SS05 show and were handed a goodie bag in the form of a bucket and spade?! Our front row seats were actually candy striped folding deck chairs. We sipped delicious Bombay Sapphire summer cocktails and perused the latest Nokia handsets. Some people were eating ice-cream, though I'd had my fill of ice-cold earlier in the day.

The style on offer was top notch, as can only be expected from BT2, one of Ireland's premiere fashion stores. Outfits from labels such as Energie, Pringle, Diesel, Tommy Hilfiger Jeans, Dolce e Gabbana and Ralph Lauren warmed the cockles of my heart. Pink, baby blue, yellow and orange are in people. And glitz and glam too.

Among the fashionista crew in situ were DJs Hugh Scully and Shay Hannon, publicist Cathy Reynolds (daughter of former Taoiseach, Albert), singer Ann Harrington, who was recently voted out of TV show You're A Star and celebrity stylist Michael Leong. The after-party continued on at Traffic on Middle Abbey Street.

Speaking of Michael Leong, who is Samantha Mumba's hairstylist, reminds me of a snippet of info I read over at Page SixSixSix. According to Perez Hilton our Samantha is with child.

We haven't seen much of her around town lately, and at the weekend there were press reports that she had split up with Sisquo. Stay tuned.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Party People

A dynamic duo who know how to plan a party are my dear friends Marks Woods and Julie Douglas. While some of us complain about the lack of decent clubs to get down in, this fabulous pair decided to do something about it.

They were the hosts of Saturday nights exclusive shindig in Mischief on South William Street, formally known as VIVA. With music from DJs Al Keegan, King Krud and Mark himself, the atmosphere was electric. I could feel the love.

Among those pumping, and indeed grinding, were Ross Golden - Bannon, RTE news reader Aengus MacGrianna (who is just back from a skiing trip in Austria) and Managing Editor of, Hugh Durkin. Joining them were Anne Marie Ryan in Chanel, Ciarán Coleman in Paul Smith and Micheál Burke looking very Oceans 12.

We never know when to go home, and lucky for us the lovely Sinead Ni Bhroin hosted a wonderful after party in her luxury Ballsbridge apartment.

I, for one, hope Mark and Julie make this event a regular feature in the social diary.

My attempt at creative photography while at the AIB PPAI Awards

Judith Giltinane and I at the AIB PPAI Awards on Friday night, with thanks to Nokia
Work the camera

I got dickied up and attended the AIB PPAI Awards on Friday night in Jurys Hotel. My good friend Judith Giltinane, looking radiant in red, accompanied me to the ceremony. An annual affair, the Press Photography Association of Ireland Awards, in association with AIB, recognise the trogan work done by our photographers, who bring us the news in pictures.

As always the big names cleaned up, with The Irish Times bagging a few gongs. Indeed the main award of the night went to the young and talanted Alan Betson of The Irish Times. The Examiner's Dan Linehan won the humour catagory for the second year running.

I was surprised that the evening was again presented by news caster Sharon Ní Bheolain. Last year she didn't exactly endear herself to the assembled guests by constantly screaming that she expected some respect and attention, and if my memory serves me right, she even managed a few boos from the agitated guests at the end of the night. I'm happy to report though that things went more smoothly for her this year.

Among the guests enjoying the champagne reception, 5 course meal and never ending flow of wine were AIB MD Donal Forde, Bureau Chief of The Irish Sun newspaper Ronan O'Reilly, model and weather girl Corina Grant and Marc O'Sullivan of the OSD agency.

My lady in red and I then continued on to Lillies and finally ended up in the Pod where the Cosmos went down faster than the speed of light from a flashing camera.

Saturday, February 19, 2005


The obsession for sparkling smiles has come to Dublin. Smile is a brand spanking new store on South Anne Street where you can now have a mouth full of glow like Tom Cruise. The teeth whitening specialists are already booking up fast, so get your choppers down there quick.

The well attended launch party took place on Thursday night, and, luckily, the popular restaurant Spacos is located next door where the assembled guests spilled into (as well as the street itself).

Smiling like the proverbial Cheshire cat on the night were pretty in pink TV presenter Amanda Brunker, IT boy Gavin Lambe - Murphy and model agent John Compton with Tara O'Connor. The buzz at the moment is what O'Connor is planning with Valerie Roe and Elaine Roddy, since the trio departed Lillies last month. Valerie has been quoted saying she is going to open the best night club the country has seen. That'll get the party people really smiling.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Loyd Grossman OBE

Loyd Grossman has invited me to join him for lunch in the Cellar Restaurant in the Merrion Hotel next week. Unfortunately I'll be in London. :-/
St. Patrick's Festival

The rather Italian-esque Rotunda Room in City Hall was the venue for the launch of this year's St. Patrick's Festival. As I chatted to Paul Trainer over a glass of bubbly, we were shushed by a grumpy old woman. Just as I was about to challenge her rudeness we realised that Minister John O'Donoghue TD was in full flow of his speech. Such were the poor acoustics in this cavernous space that we couldn't hear a word the man was saying.

The festival this year runs from March 16th to 20th and is expected to attract over 1 million people (including 250,000 visitors) with an exciting and festive programme that includes theatre, music, visual arts, comedy, dance family events and Europe's largest annual fireworks display. FM104 will also host a big day as part of the fun. Phew.

While there, I met up with my good friend Deborah Allen and we retired to The Market Bar for dinner and a catch up. She was just back from New York and full of news. I listened attentively, despite the odd pang of jealousy.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Best of Irish

London fashion week is in full swing. I attended a few years ago and didn't have much time to enjoy. If you are reporting then it's not much fun as you are constantly rushing from venue to venue to catch the next show. I'd say the majority of my daytime was spent in the back of a black cab stuck in traffic.

Irish international designer Paul Costello shows his SS05 collection this evening at the Irish Embassy, in fashionable Belgravia. A plethora of Irish supporters are expected to attend. The last time I met Paul, he was launching his latest glassware line for Newbridge Silverware. Publicist Orla Doyle told me he had been sketching for them earlier, so I brazenly asked him if he would do one for me. A down to earth and gracious man, he replied that he'd be delighted to. We were chatting away for a few minutes when he suddenly asked me how I spelt my name and subsequently produced this amazing drawing of a dress from his next collection.

I've since had the picture framed, but still can't decide which room deserves it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Magee SS05

Another fashion preview today, this time the wonderful designs of the Magee label. Made in Ireland, that's where it's at. Founded in Donegal in 1866, Magee has become synoymous with menswear in Ireland and are continuing to deliver. The latest collection represents Magee's progressive design and styling whilst retaining the eclectic spirit of the company's traditional tailoring and weaving expertise.

The beautiful surrounds of 10 Ormond Quay (Dublin's most exclusive private venue) were the setting for today's show, with immpecably dressed Magee chairman Lynn Temple, fashion writer Ciara Elliott and social diarist Sarah McInerney among those attending.

Lee Bradshaw, Justin Manville and Alex Fitzgerald were among the models who wore key items in linens, soft corduroys and stone washed cottons in colours as diverse as Limeade, Coral Reef and Blue Crush.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Sister Act: Olivia & Caroline Morahan cooking up a storm yesterday.
Pictured with the Nokia 7610.
Sunday lunch

After a particularly quiet weekend, it was lovely to relax on Sunday and enjoy lunch with good friends Olivia Morahan and Fergal Noonan (despite the fact they married in 2003, I never know the correct combination of surnames, so leave them as they were before).

Also in the luncheon party, which included their beautiful baby daughter Ella, were Olivia's sister Caroline (who presents RTE's Off The Rails) and her boyfriend, actor Jordan Lee McGrath, choreographer Brendan Scully and entertainment agent Sean Montague.

The banter, fun and gossip was in full flow all afternoon, with Caroline and Brendan hatching plans for the design of a new glitzy outfit (she has been nominated for the prestigious VIP Style Award) and Jordan Lee full of news about his latest project. He is currently starring in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire, which will be going on a nationwide tour in the near future.

Probably the most exciting news I've heard in a long time is that of the latest group that Brendan and Sean are managing and about to launch. The Crimmins sisters, Alison, Laura and Nicola are beautiful blond triplets and are set to be a huge success. Sean let us all have a sneak preview of their debut single and, while I'm sworn to secrecy, I feel I should issue a warning to Girls Aloud, the Sugababes, et al - watch out girls, you'll soon have some serious competition.

Friday, February 11, 2005

9 Songs

I went to the press screening of the controversial movie 9 Songs today. I used to be a film critic and I must say it was probably the most well attended press screening I've ever been to. Everyone was talking about this film before they had even seen it.

Basically it is about a guy (Kieran O'Brien) telling the story of his girlfriend (Margot Stilley) and the good times they had. He's on a trip to the Antartic, which I presume is some sort of metaphor for the relationship. The entire film switches between the couple having sex (graphic and real) and attending music concerts.

It doesn't deserve the hype it has generated. Actually, as a movie, it's fairly dull. Some sex, then a song, more sex, another song ..... repeat until all nine are covered. Apparently it is all in the name of art, but I can't help but think it is glorified porn. Great soundtrack though.

It is being screened tomorrow as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, with director Michael Winterbottom present for a Q&A afterward. I don't know if it will get a general release, I can't imagine so.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

A beacon in suburbia

Whenever I hear of Sandyford, I automatically think 'industrial estate'. Not anymore. Sandyford is full of swanky office blocks now, some of which designed by none other than John Rocha. Indeed, the party of last year, the launch of the gorgeous new Volvo S40, was hosted in that very office block, Beacon Court. Well, now there is a hotel to add to the collection. Owned by the ubiquitous Paul and Lisa Fitzpatrick, of the Fitzpatrick Hotels dynasty, The Beacon is the newest kid on the block. I would have thought that Dublin needs another hotel like Paris Hilton needs a Fendi handbag, but there you go.

I was unable to attend last nights launch, but am reliably informed that present and correct (and enjoying sushi) were artist and BFoB (that's Best Friend of Bono) Guggi, RTE golden boy Ryan Tubridy, TV star turned panto princess Louise Loughman and charity queen Clodagh Kean. My insider tells me The Beacon is looking pretty swish. Hop on the Luas and see for yourself.

Question of the night: Which musical pair were looking cosy in a box at last nights opening of Blood Brothers at the Gaiety?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Yours truly getting in the mood for I, Keano outside The Olympia last night.
(Pic: Taragh Loughrey - Grant, using the Nokia 7610)
I, Keano

The grand old environs of The Olympia theatre were packed to capacity for last nights world premiere of I, Keano, the hilarious musical with tells the story of the Roy Keane / Saipan debacle of 2002. Written by Arthur Matthews, who also brought us Father Ted, the ensemble cast includes Gift Grub creator Mario Rosenstock in the title role.

Characters in this Julius Caesar - style tragi-com include Macartacus, Quinnus (who sounds remarkably like TV3's Martin King), Packie Bonnerus and Surfia, the PR obsessed wife of Quinnus. Cleverly put together, the show contains music and lyrics by Paul Woodfull as well as more well known customized songs. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a big footie fan, and the Saipan affair worried me not, but it is a testament to I, Keano that it has something for all. My date, FM104's Taragh Loughrey - Grant, and I laughed our little hearts out.

From my seat I spied a sparkly Lorraine Keane, writer and broadcaster Shay Healy, RTE presenter Laura Woods and a pleathora of Irish International Rugby players. No football players, though not surprising as I guess they are resting for the upcoming match against Portugal. Did anybody actually expect Roy Keane to show?

Also in attendance were actor Keith Duffy, Rosanna Davison, singers Paddy Casey and Linda Martin (not together!) and model Glenda Gilson, who I'm sure I saw waving down at the rugby boys from aloft in her private box. Later, the party majority continued on around the corner for the after show bash at SIN.

Question of the night: Since Brian & Glenda are no more, who are set to be the next glamour couple? He is one of Brian's team mates and she is a beautiful TV and radio broadcaster. They are keeping the relationship under tight wraps for the moment but I expect them to be stepping out very soon.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Model behaviour

Yesterday we recorded the Oceans 12 fashion feature I mentioned last week. Thanks in particular to designer Nicky Wallace, Deirdre Browne of Dunnes Stores, Declan Fitzpatrick of Fitzpatricks Grafton Street and Olga Kearney of Vision Express. It was all such a manic last minute rush and definitely my most stressful Ireland AM feature yet.

It always helps to work with cool people though, as it makes everything fall into place. I've worked with male models who think they're bigger than Marcus Schenkenberg. I call it 'model attitude' and, trust me, it's not a good thing. The three guys on this shoot were real professionals - Ben Okonji, Brian Manning and Justin Milligan.

I've worked with Ben many times before and its always a pleasure (speaking of times, he graced the front page of The Irish Times Magazine last Saturday). Brian travelled from Galway and looks so like actor Vincent Cassel in Oceans 12 that he was a perfect cast. Justin is one of the top male models in Northern Ireland, and came all the way from Belfast for the shoot. He's in big demand as he currently has two agencies vying to represent him. Watch that space.

I'm off to the world premiere of I, Keano tonight. Apparently Roy Kean is in the country and has been invited. Details tomorrow.

Question of the week: Which radio station (and no, not FM104!) is facing a huge law suit following the departure of a key member of staff?

Monday, February 07, 2005

Judith Giltinane, pictured with the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup (pic: Oonagh Fallon)
Le Weekend

And what a busy one it was too. We kicked off with champagne in GUBU, where my good friend Ciarán Coleman was celebrating the fact that he has just landed a top job with an international pharmaceutical company. We continued on to PoD, where we were joined by Ross Golden - Bannon, who was celebrating also. Ross had just come from RTE where he was accompanying Jean Butler, who had just appeared on The Late Late Show.

Jean is goodwill ambassador for the Christian Blind Mission and Forgotten Children (who Ross' PR agency represent) and had just returned from a trip to Rwanda with much news to tell.

Saturday night was a long and busy one, however in all the madness I sought refuge in the newly opened Centre Stage Café, on Parliament Street. Owner Martin Moore is full of hospitality and makes a killer Kir Royale. Do check it out.

The biggest news of the weekend was to be had at Leopardstown racecourse. Winning the Hennessey Cognac Gold Cup was none other than Rule Supreme, a racehorse owned by John Fallon, who is father of my good friend Oonagh Fallon. As Judith Giltinane informed me today, there was much celebration indeed!

Friday, February 04, 2005

Wax on

Co-owner of Urban Wax Rebecca Taplin captured with my gorgeous new Nokia 7610

It's Friday, hurrah! I've had a long, but interesting, week and will certainly appreciate the chance to rest and recharge. For a long time I've been singing the praise of Thursdays and trying to market it as the unofficial start of the weekend. My hard work is paying off as each Thursday my posse of party people gets bigger and bigger.

We kicked off proceedings with a trip to Urban Wax. No, I wasn't have anything depleted but thought it important to be in-the-know about such things. After my recent experience at the all-girl OPI launch I brought along my pal Gareth Gleeson. Safety in mumbers, so to speak.

Well known as the number one waxing specialists among Ireland's fashionista's and most stylish, Urban Wax has extended it's range of treatments in celebration of Valentine's Day and to launch their new premises in 5 Johnson's Place, beside Dylan Bradshaw. Sure to be a hit this for Valentine's is their 'Outrageous' range that sees a Brazilian Wax followed by the application of Swarovski Crystals in a number of shapes and fashion. You can choose from the Urban Minx, a landing strip wax with the finest of Swarovski crystals, The Urban Show Girl, a spray fountain shape, or indeed, the City Of Love, a love heart detailed in red Swarovski crystals. Very bling bling!

Owned and managed by Rebecca Taplin and Jennifer Treanor, both from Dublin, Urban Wax is a perfect example of filling a niche in the beauty market and developing services at a fast pace to keep up with trends and fashions in the fast paced world of beauty treatments. In business together for just over 3 years, Rebecca and Jennifer have strong loyal client base and go to great lengths to ensure that they are up to date with international waxing trends and tastes. So if you want to feel smoother than a glass of Veuve Clicquot get your booty down to Urban Wax, tout de suite.

Later on in the night we bumped into Frances Winston and Fergal Breen, who joined us later at Mostly B, the super club night at The Hub.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Ireland's Most Eligible Man, Mr. Des Bishop.
Top 100

The newly revamped Cocoon was the location for the latest Social & Personal par-tay, hosted by the irrepressible P.J. Gibbons. A veritable Who's Who of familiar faces, the great and the good quaffed champagne and indulged in Haagan Dazs, while checking out whether there actually were any eligible men in the room. That's why we were there, to celebrate the Top 100 Most Eligible Men List.

Standing proud in the top spot is none other than comedian (and fellow blogger) Des Bishop. The native New Yorker was unable to attend the big bash as he is currently recording a show for super channel HBO. Also sharing the space at the top are actors Cillian Murphy and Keith Duffy, playboy Eddie Irvine and U2's Larry Mullen Jnr. No doubt the judges, who included my agent John Compton, had a tough time deciding.

From my vantage point I spied designer Nicky Wallace, models Astrid Brennan and Peter Lloyd, publicists Sinead Ryan and Amy Buckeridge (who celebrates her brithday next week), diarist Gavin Lambe - Murphy and fashionista Anne Boylan. A glowing Glenda Gilson made a dramatic late entrance, obviously enjoying life after Brian. You could tell what type of party it was by the cars double parked outside: a Ferrari, 2 Mercs, a convertible Lotus (Glenda's new voiture) and a Beemer.

We repaired to Bruxelles for Pussy's hilarious show, where we bumped into Ali Chawke (Ireland's answer to Paris Hilton?), Emily Cox of Slattery and Richard Kavanagh. Oooh er missus.

Question of night: Which married woman flirted openly with guys half her age? Her millionaire husband was clearly embarrassed, but turned a blind eye to her drunken behaviour.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Property Ladder

Congrats to TV presenter Caroline Morahan, who has just bought her first property. Caroline, who co-hosts Off The Rails with Pamela Flood, is currently working on the interiors of her new apartment (which will go nicely with her sporty new Mini). Located close to the family home off leafy Griffith Avenue, her new abode will be ready within the next few weeks.

Elsewhere in the property world, I see Stephen Gately is still trying to sell his luxery apartment in Rathmichael. The price has been considerably reduced in the last few months; nevertheless he will still pocket a tidy profit.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Oceans 12

After seeing Oceans 12 at a special Warner Bros. screening last night, I've had some super fashion ideas for Ireland AM. The amazing suits worn by George Clooney, Brad Pitt et al should be inspiration to us all.

Question of the weekend: Which iconic artist was startled in a bathroom recently? Startled because she was mid snort and had a rolled up note stuck in her nose.