Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A model life

One of Ireland's most successful recent exports has to model Eoin Macken. Only a few years ago did Eoin win the coveted model competition at the huge UCD Arts fashion show, landing himself a contract with Morgan The Agency. Then, after only a few months treading the Irish catwalks (and his famous Maxol ad campaign), he was in the U.S. modelling for none other than fashion mecca Abercrombie & Fitch.

A&F launched their latest catalogue last month (actually, it's more of an eye candy magazine than anything else), and tagged Eoin as a rising star. Now it seem that he's not just a pretty face and is set to star in a new Irish movie.

He appeared on TV3's breakfast show Ireland AM this morning looking every inch the movie star. Even interviewer Collete Fitzpatrick comented that he looked like Daniel Day Lewis / Colin Farrell. Then again, Collete is a bit of a flirt!

Staying with the beautiful people I have heard a rumour that former top model turned TV star and singer Hazel Kaneswaren and her model boyfriend Brian Fallon have split. For the moment, though, I'm not buying this one.

The hard working couple have long divided their busy lives to spend as much time together and with their boys at their mansion in Virginia, Co. Cavan, and if you pick up a copy of this month's VIP magazine you will read all about it. There is a several page interview with Hazel accompanied by a picture spread of her with Brian and their two lovely children Oisin and Fionn. Watch that space.

Question of the weekend: Which international celebrity did I spot with a old and cheap mobile phone? Maybe times are hard, but even this star should be able to score a freebie. Personally I recommend the Nokia 7610.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Le Weekend

It was certainly a party weekend if there ever was one. After a family wedding in Cavan I came back to Dublin on Saturday afternoon for the 1st birthday party of Ella, daughter of Fergal Noonan and Olivia Morahan. It was almost like being in a creche, such was the activity of the little guests and a great time was had by all.

More birthday celebrations on Saturday night as I attended a birthday dinner in Frank's, on Grand Canal Street. It was my first time there, and obviously I've been missing out as the place was pretty packed, despite it's out-of-the-way location. Excellent food but the service was a bit slow, though I've been assured that it's not always this way - I'll be back. On arrival I spotted Eamon Farrell, Colin's brother, leaving with a friend in his convertible Porsche. Va-voom.

Feeling a little worse for wear, I met Jason O'Callaghan and his girlfriend Etain Boyd, with her cousin Helen and Micheál Burke for lunch in Eden restaurant. As good as always, Eden is still a popular haunt on Meeting House Square, with consistently good food (and service). While there I bumped into businessman Paddy Bollard, who was lunching with TV producer and presenter Bill Hughes and Scott Maxwell. Paddy, who is a business partner and advisor to designer Louise Kennedy, has launched his own events company and is busy as ever.

Meanwhile, Bill is still bathing in the glory of the success of his recent documentary celebrating the birthday anniversary of Oscar Wilde, which was picked up by U.S. channel PBS. His next project will be about the works of Shakespeare.

Later on that evening I went over to Caroline Morahan's new apartment to celebrate the debut of her new TV series, Chance to Dance. A reality show, it will run over 7 weeks, with the winner securing a place at a prestigious dance school, representation by the Pineapple Agency and the chance to dance with Kylie. Among those gathered for the screening were actresses Ciara O'Callaghan and Hilary Cahill, writer and broadcaster Quentin Fottrell and fashionista Ciara Elliott.

Jason O'Calllaghan and Etain Boyd pictured yesterday in Eden restaurant, Temple Bar.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Swing when you're happy

My old friend Jason O'Callaghan plays a sell out show of his Irish Rat Pack concert in Vicar Street tonight. Now living full time in Cannes, Jason has also recently completed his book 'Behing the Velvet Rope - Confessions of a Gossip Columnist', which we can expect later this year.

For many years Jason was at the top of the heap as gossip columnist for The Sunday Independent, and latterly Showbiz Editor of the late WHO Magazine. He also established ShowBizIreland.com with Ray Senior. What he doesn't know isn't worth knowing.

Tongues have been wagging and heads worrying however, as the socialites of Dublin fret over their most intimate secrets reaching a wide audience. Fear not though, as Jason informed me that only major celebrities have made the grade. His tome will be an unedited version of his run-ins with the hoi polloi, such as why a top model hurled a glass at him, what happened when he infiltrated a party the Taoiseach hosted and why Bono really dislikes him. It's the stuff the SIndo were afraid to write and will appeal to an international audience. Can't wait!

Congratulations to Ireland AM presenter Maura Derrane and her politician husband, Deputy John Deasy, who will tie the knot in a lavish ceremony this weekend in Italy. The pair have been planning the Rome wedding for months, with many friends and colleagues expected to attend.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Designs on life

That bastion of good taste, Habitat, continue to blaze a trail when it comes to ensuring that we get the best and most innovative in interior design. Last night, at a reception in their St. Stephen's Green store, the first Habitat Ireland and House & Home Student Design Awards took place.

The competition is the first of its kind in Ireland and has been set up to reward, encourage and promote excellence and best design practice in the work of young Irish student designers. The competition requested design students to look beyond the initial product design phase and focus on the technicalities of producing, packaging and marketing their designs.

The winner was Linda Wong, who attends Colaiste Dhulaigh, in Raheny and was chosen out of nearly 300 entries submitted from third level design students nationwide. Her winning design is an ingenious ‘Bean Mat’ – a portable beach mat cum sleeping bag, filled with polystyrene and made from waterproof fabric for outdoor use.

Linda was chosen by a judging panel made up of Malcolm Brighton, Managing Director of Habitat Ireland, Tom Dixon, Creative Director for Habitat, Karen Hesse, Joint Managing Director of Dyflin Publications and former editor of House and Home, Eoin Lyons, Irish Times, Tom de Paor, architect and Leo Scarff, furniture and lighting designer.

Others attending last night included publicist Sinéad Ryan with Malachy Geelan, Jay Bourke, whose latest Café Bar Deli branch opens next week on Grafton Street and Andrew Rudd, whose food and drink empire continues to grow with his latest acqusition being the distribution of the gorgeous Maltese drink, Kinnie - the taste of the Mediterranean and perfect for summer.

Habitat Dublin will display the winning students work from Thursday 26th May to Friday 3rd June and will then tour the exhibition to its Galway and Belfast stores.

It's all go-a go-a in Noa Noa

From Habitat, I ventured down to the Westbury Mall for the opening party of Noa Noa, the newest fashion kid on the block. The world renowned Danish label, established in 1981 by brothers Harold and Lars Holstein, has been given it's own store by the people behind the popular RoCoCo stores.

Bohemian styles forms the basis of all Noa Noa collections, so with the current fashion love of all things boho, it's the perfect time for Noa Noa to open here. Sipping Pommery Pop champagne were TV presenter Amanda Brunker and her mum, Anne Boylan and Shirley Beere, Brendan O'Connor and Mary O'Sullivan.

I thought the clothes were going for nothing, such was the scramble from the fashionable ladies present. It turned out to be a 10% discount, but such is the demand for Noa Noa that these girls wanted to be the first to buy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

It's all sweet in Brown Sugar

Last night saw the much anticipated official launch of the brand spanking new Brown Sugar salon on South William Street. A veratible oasis, this is the place where you can get a new hair style, a make over and sundry other beautiful procedures to put a spring in your step. If you like brands such as Space NK or Sephora then this is your kinda place.

The trendy store was stocked full of trendy people last night, all enjoying deliciously trendy Jameson cocktails. Looking effortlessly chic were pop star Samantha Mumba, in a kakhi coloured outfit with matching baseball hat, Triona McCarthy in bright floral with added black and Olivia Morahan in white linen with amazing sparkly shoes.

I also spotted Alan Amsby, man-about-town Trevor Musgrave, Caroline Morahan, model Gail Kaneswaren and photographer Barry McCall, who was catching up with Sonia Reynolds.

The brainchild of celebrated make-up artist Paula Callan - O'Keefe (who stockes her own line of make up, Kohl) and her husband Mark, formerly of Peter Mark, Brown Sugar is set to be the salon in Dublin to stock up on make up and get you hair done.

After all the sweetness in Brown sugar I headed over to the Odessa Club where scriptwriter and wit Mary Kate O'Flanagan was hosting a quiz night in aid of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.

Those wearing their thinking caps included writer and broadcaster Quintin Fottrell, ad agency boss Jeremy Crisp and his wife Emma and RTE journalist John O'Driscoll.

The tension was thick as the teams were bubbling with competitiveness, but all under the pretence of fun, natch. With terrific prizes on offer, Mary Kate, assisted by the inimitable Ross Golden -Bannon, pitted the assembled guests with some harder-than-difficult questions. My team came a respectable 4th place. Close but no cigar.

Speaking of cigars, former U.S. president Bill Clinton was in town yesterday. He attended an early function in the Berkley Court Hotel before heading off to play some golf. Looking a little older and tired than his normal self, I was informed that he is still as charming and charismatic as always.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Post Eurovision depression

The dust has settled, the vodka consumed and my husky Marlboro Light voice is the only trace left from the last 5 nights of Ukrainian debauchery.

After Thursday's defeat we partied on regardless and attended the Saturday night final. The atomsphere was electric, with tickets to the event changing hands for up to €270 each. Half of our group adopted Malta, with the other half (including me) rooting for Latvia. Malta finished 2nd and Latvia a respectable 5th, so we did back a winner.

I met Paul G. Sheridan, RTE journalist and EuroGuru, on Saturday night and he was full of facts and figures and analysis of the event. Ireland finished 14th place (out of 26) on Thursday night and the countries coming in the outside 4 places before us were all from Eastern European countries, giving weight to the 'bloc voting' theory. On the flip side, it emerged that the United Kingdom was the only country to award Ireland douze points. I think we can expect an overhaul of the voting system tout de suite.

The after party in the EuroClub was probably the best one throughout the event. Among those I met were Helena Paparizu, the Greek winner, Boris Novkovic of Croatia and Omar Kareem of Slovenia. Among the Irish present were Julian Vignoles and Joe McCaul, Ray D'Arcy, Karl Broderick, Alan Hughes, Keith and Ann O'Reilly with Maurice Hayes and Robert Martin.

Looking forward to Athens next year and in the meantime those attending a U2 concert in Europe this summer will get to see the magnificent Eurovision stage again as the group will be shipping it from Kiev to use on tour.

Question of the weekend: Which member of the Irish delegation was the cause a row at the final after party? This guy is a terrible drunk and always managed to insult people. Hardly the life of the party.

Friday, May 20, 2005

From the Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev


I am totally shocked that Ireland did not make it through to the final. Watching dress rehearsals and even the semi-final, I personally had picked 4 entries who I thought would have made it through. Netherlands, Estonia, Iceland, Belarus and, of course, Ireland - none of which made it.

All of the above put on a great performance but the interesting one is Belarus. Angelica, from Belarus, undertook a vigorous promotional campaign throughout Europe at a reported cost of $1 million. Apparently her husband is a wealthy businessman and bank rolled the lot. She hosted 3 parties throughout the week, including her birthday bash, which was on a large yacht and contained a swimming pool full of balloons. I guess money can't buy you ...

After last night's defeat I attended the official after party in the Euroclub, accompanied by many from the Irish delegation. Donna and Joe were understandably disappointed (moreso Joe) by the whole proceedings and retired to their hotel after the show. Donna later attended the after party, went back to her hotel and then re-attended the after party with Head of Delegation, Julian Vignoles. Always better to celebrate than commiserate girlfriend!

Anyhoo, such is the atmosphere here that there are no losers. The after party was well attended by every country, who all reveled in the big fireworks display overhead the outdoor arena. I eventually got back to my hotel at 6am, such were the extent of the festivities.

This evening I'm off to the final dress rehearsal in advance of tomorrows grand finale. At this stage it is too close to predict a winner, but so far I'm thinking of Greece, Switzerland and Hungary.

Tonight sees the surprise Ukranian party in the Euroclub, which promises to "set the night on fire". It'll do for a warm up I suppose.

Question of the night: Which member of a Scandanavian delegation was so drunk at the party last night that they had to be carried out of the building and sent back to their hotel early? All after losing their bag and mobile.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

From the Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev

The pressure is on

The delegations had their first official dress rehersal last night. It's strange because you would think that each performer can only get better with each rehersal but some were miserable last night. Our own entrants, Donna & Joe, performed really well though.

The last time I'd seen them perform Love? was at the final of You're A Star and I must say that their routine has evolved and is 100 times better than what it was then. They will have one more dress rehersal today before the big show tonight and I must say I'm confident that we can secure one of the 10 places to get us into the final on Saturday.

Later on last night I had dinner with TV presenter Alan Hughes and the Eurovision song composer Karl Broderick, who is happy with how things are progressing. I was delighted to hear also that Karl has landed a recording contract with Religion Music, the new record company that was set up by former BMG boss Freddie Middleton.

We attended the Serbia & Montenegro party in the Euroclub last night. Their entry, a boyband called No Name, performed a lively set, much to the delight of the guests. It's strange whenever I see a famous Eurovision person receive loads of attention. Obviously they are celebrities in their own countries but they are just a regular Joe Public to me.

By all accounts the best delegation party so far has been that of the UK, where Javine put on a super show. The Euroclub was packed and the free booze was flowing on Wednesday night, with some guests not getting to bed till 6am.

I'm off to see the final dress rehersal now. It's Donna & Joe's last practice run and hopefully they will sail through to the final on Saturday.

The weather here is amazing - not what I expected at all. Even poor Marty Whelan has been burnt by the sun!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

From the Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev

Hotting up

After a pretty exhaustive trip I have finally arrived in Kiev, Ukraine, to attend the 50th Eurovision Song Contest.
With temperatures of up to 25 degrees the whole city is a buzz of activity and there is a real carnival atmosphere everywhere. I have also never seen so many police officers in a city in my life.

I am reliably informed that the Irish delegation is in good form, with Donna and Joe's rehersals going well. The composer of Love?, Ireland's entry, Karl Broderick had a shaky start though when his luggage was lost en route. It didn't help matters that he had to do a TV press conference upon arrival! He has since been united with his luggage however and is back to being the style icon that he is.

It's too soon to report on any parties, but tonight is expected to be a big night, in advance of tomorrow evening's semi-final. Ray D'Arcy, who presented the You're A Star contest, also flew out today with his Today FM production team and will broadcast live from Kiev tomorrow and Friday. I'm in good company, because they know how to party.

More anon.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Think Pink

The formal gardens and pavillion of the Radisson SAS St. Helen's Hotel were awash with pink last night for the Jacob's Creek Pink party. Even the invite requested guests to wear pink and everyone rose to the occasion (rose, geddit?).

Celebrating the launch of Jacob's Creek Sparkling Rosé and Shiraz Rosé, the event was a huge success and well attended by familiar faces. Even the food had a distinctly pink theme with salmon, prawns and chicken tikka. A big hit was the chocolate fountain, which had guests queuing anxiously to dip strawberries and marshmallows into the decadent liquid.

Pretty in pink were Geraldine Mahony, TV presenter Caroline Morahan and sister Olivia, Quentin Fottrell and actress Hilary Cahill, Irish Distillers director Kieran Tobin, model Astrid Brennan and Nadine Wai - O'Flynn of Principle Management, who has just returned from the States where she was on tour with U2. Very rock 'n roll.

Special guest at the party was the award winning winemaker behind the success of Jacob's Creek, Phil Laffer, who has an extraordinary influence over the Australian wine industry. His expertise knows no boundaries.

Also in attendance last night were Brian Ormond, boyband ZOO, Jean Luc Laydevant, Fair City's Sorcha Furlong and Elaine Roddy, who told me that the much anticipated new club to be opened by Valerie Roe will now not appear until next year, such is the extent of her busy life.

As wine expert John Wilson said of Jacob's Creek Sparkling Rosé, it's summer in a glass.

Upon my departure I was reunited with my party posse of last week, who included Gavin Lambe - Murphy, Richard Kavanagh and Alan Amsby. Never knowing when to go home we continued on to Cocoon for cocktails and Lillies for dancing, where I spotted Niall McCrudden and Jamie Plenderleith.

Monday is the new Saturday.

Question of the night: Which society couple enraged their neighbours with a party that went on till 4am on Monday morning?

Jacob's Creek Sparkling Rosé

Monday, May 16, 2005

5-star flop

I had dinner in The Sandbank Bistro at the Westbury Hotel on Friday evening. Distinctly average I'm afraid. For a 5 star hotel, The Westbury really doesn't come up to scratch these days. I guess for many years it ruled the roost and then just rested on it's laurels. But for it's location, I wouldn't bother.

In this day and age though there is stiff competition out there in the shape of the ultra efficient Four Seasons and the charmingly luxurious Merrion. When The Shelbourne returns it too will be a force to be reckoned with. Time to shape up or ship out.

In other news I see that former TV presenter and top model Louise Loughman has been voted 'Hot Mama of the Year'. Calm down lads - The Pregnancy Store on Dawson launched the voting campaign. She beat the likes of FMI Vivienne Doyle and Lorraine Keane to bag the title. Louise, and husband Stephen Byrne, are expecting their first child in September.

Question of the weekend: Which middle aged Irish celebrity has a penchant for teenage boys?

Friday, May 13, 2005

That summer feeling

Last night was busy on the old razzmatazz, with 2 big events sharing space in my diary - both giving a taste of summer festivities. First stop was the beautiful Radisson SAS St. Helen's Hotel for their annual garden BBQ. The gorgeous formal gardens are the perfect place for such an event, which feels more like being at the races or a polo match, such is the style of the assembled guests. Chanel sunglasses were de rigueur.

Looking stylish last night were publicist Aileen Eglington and her husband Paul, Debbie O'Donnell and Alan Cantwell of TV3, writer Mary O'Sullivan and LIFE magazine editor Brendan O'Connor, who also just happens to be one of the funniest guys I know.

Later on that night I attended the Barcardi B-Bar Experience in The Odeon bar on Harcourt Steet. Basically the entire venue was transformed into what the original VIP Barcardi B-Bar was like at last year's Oxegen music festival, where it made it's debut. The party actually reminded me of those Bacardi Latin Quarter TV adverts - it was that kind of night.

With a top class set from big name DJ Joey Negro, acompanied by Shovel from M-People on percussion, last night's party was a sneek preview of what the Bacardi B-Bar will be like at this year's Oxegen, which takes place on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th of July at Punchestown racecourse. I'll be there quicker than Eamon Dunphy can shout for a round at last orders.

Sipping on the delicious Mai Tais, Mojitos and Hurricanes were DJ Hugh Scully, style writer Leann de Cerbo, Nicola Connolly of Edward Dillon & Co., club kids Mark Woods and Julie Douglas and jewellery designer Catriona Hanly, who has just finalised the purchase of her new €2 million southside home.

Ah summer! Welcome, welcome.

Question of the night: Which young entrepreneur narrowly escaped being 'asked to leave' following an altercation with a disgruntled ex?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Best of The Best

It was a good week for gongs as another prestigious awards ceremony also took place. The Bushmills Restaurant of the Year Awards were presented in the Mansion House restaurant on Tuesday afternoon and, as always, were attended by the creme de la creme (brulé) of the Irish gastro community.

The awards, now in their 11th year, were hosted by broadcaster Gerry Ryan, who, incidently, must have eaten in every restaurant in the country, such was his indepth commentary on every nominee. There must be an alternative career there somewhere to fall back on, should he ever need one.

I was seated at a table of foodies including top chef Nevin Maguire of the McNean Bistro in Blacklion, Erik Robson of Ely Wine Bar and Troy Maguire of L'Gueleton. Troy informed me that plans to expand L'Gueleton are well under way. It's probably easier to secure a table at Buckingham Palace than at his restaurant at the moment - hopefully this expansion will give more people a chance to taste his super cuisine.

The Bushmills Restaurant of the Year award went to Ballymaloe House in Cork, who join the ranks of previous winners and can bask in the glory of scooping this top acolade. Best Chef Award went to Derry Clarke of L'Ecrivain, who attended with his wife Sally Ann. This continues their great sucess following the recent publication of their popular cook book.

Other winners on the afternoon included Mint in Ranelagh who were presented with the Image Magazine Most Stylish award and Wing Tai House in Donegal, who won the Ireland AM Best Ethnic Restaurant Award.

Enjoying the champagne reception and lunch was composer Karl Broderick, who is busy with preparations for Ireland's entry in the Eurovision Song Contest. I will be joining him and the Irish delegation in Kiev next week, so look out for exclusive ESC coverage right here!

Also at the awards were Restaurant Association of Ireland chairperson Aidan McManus, TV3 presenter Alan Hughes and TV and radio broadcaster Derek Mooney, who soon celebrates 10 years of his popular radio show Mooney Goes Wild. 10 years? He must surely have been one of the youngest talents ever in RTE!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Paul Davey with his team from Toni&Guy Dame Street celebrating their big win at The L'Oreal Colour Trophy Awards. (Pic: KH)
Colour me beautiful

The L'Oreal Colour Trophy Awards took place on Monday evening in O'Reilly Hall at UCD and, so far, it picks up my Party of the Year Award. Guests enjoyed a champagne reception in the atrium, with ample opportunity to check out some of the outrageous hairstyles, and outfits! These people create style, so of course they emanate it.

At the reception, where there was more hairspray in use than in Dolly Parton's dressingroom, I spotted couturier Jurgen, Mary FitzGerald and Paul Davey of Toni&Guy, socialite Ricard Kavanagh, model Sarah Beckingsale and fashion stylist Sonia Mohlich.

The silver and purple themed venue was more like the interior of a trendy nightclub once the music and lights started to herald the commencement of the event, which was marked by a show by celebrated stylist Dylan Bradshaw. His piece de résistance was a model wearing a long evening dress who dramatically rose up into the air - magic I tell you!

Among the guests enjoying the 4-course dinner were IT-Boy Gavin Lambe - Murphy, entertainer Alan Amsby, TV stars Caroline Morahan and Pamela Flood, actor Jordan Lee McGrath, journalists Gisele Scanlon and Frances Winston.

Trend setters Toni&Guy swept the board, picking up 3 of the top L'Oreal awards on the evening, including Best Salon Award which went to their Dame Street branch. MD Alan Boyce delivering a passionate speech and thanking all involved in the Irish world of hair dressing. Also picking up an award, much to the delight of the press table, was newly formed beauty consultancy Brown Sugar, who include Paula Callan - O'Keefe and Derek Carberry. Setting the standard.

After all that fabulosity we retired to Renards till the wee small hours where we recovered from inhaling the fumes of all that hairspray.

Question of the weekend: Which TV super star is quietly nursing their partner who has been ill for the last number of months and who, sadly, does not have long left in this world?

At the L'Oreal Colour Trophy Awards champagne reception (l - r) Gavin Lambe - Murphy, Alan Amsby, Frances Winston, Richard Kavanagh and yours truly. (Pic: KH)

Monday, May 09, 2005

Poster boy

The Dubliner magazine hosted an art and wine reception on Friday evening last in Gallery 29, on Molesworth Street.. Always a good combination, art and wine. Gallery owner John Rogers has amassed an impressive collection of retro advertising and film posters from as far back as the 1930s. Check out his online gallery to see for yourself.

The Dubliner publisher Trevor White was on hand to meet and greet like the gentleman he is. He was joined by colleagues Paul Trainer and Eoin Higgins. Also there were Micheál Burke, Deborah Allen and Nell Stuart - Liberty, the formaer publisher of Social & Personal magazine. She is now contributing to The Dubliner among other publications.

On Sunday I made my way out to Sandyford for cocktails in the new Beacon Hotel with my good pal Judith Giltinane. It was my first time there, and after hearing much about it I can report that it's all true. Very impressive indeed. The trendy hotel really wouldn't look out of place in Barcelona or New York.

I'm just not sure that Sandyfiord does it justice. Time will tell I guess.

Friday, May 06, 2005

More tea?

Yesterday afternoon I went along to the luxurious Merrion Hotel for a very grand tea party. TV and radio presenter Ryan Tubridy was hosting the event as aprt of the Alzheimers Lyons Tea Day, in aid of The Alzheimer Society of Ireland.

Ryan's fancy affair (complete with cucumber sandwiches and scones with clotted cream!) was one of over 2,600 such tea days which were being held around the country to raise much needed funds for this worthy cause. Among his guests were a number of politicians who ventured across the street from Government Buildings and Leinster House, including Senator Mary O'Rourke, Tom Parlon TD and Olivia Mitchell TD. They were joined by Maurice O'Connell, CEO of the Alzheimers Society and Alan Byrne of Lyons Tea.

After a rather emphatic speech, which included a reading from the book 'Saturday' by Ian McEwan, Ryan spent the remainder of the day mingling with his guests and swapping stories and anecdotes. I didn't get a chance to ask him how he is liking his new career path with RTE, but, judging by the smile on his face, he is quite content. Or maybe that was the calming effect of the Lyons Tea?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The cat laughs

Earlier this week I attended the launch of the Cat Laughs Festival, the infamous comedy fest that will take place in Kilkenny from the 2 - 6 June. Now in it's 11th year, and supported by Smithwicks, the event attracts the big names from the comedy circuit. This year sees performances from internationals such as Rich Hall, Bill Bailey, Mitch Fatel and Bill Burr. Irish well-knowns include Des Bishop, Dara O'Briain, Tara Flynn and Dylan Moran.

On the night we enjoyed hilarious performances from Deirdre O'Kane, who is currently off the circuit due to the birth of her beautiful daughter Holly. She's still got it though and proved why we love her so with a raft of new material. Another Irish favourite is Ed Byrne, who has had some success on British TV screens, also performed. Unfortunately his répertiore failed to wet the pants of the audience on the night. I guess comedians have off nights too.

LOLing at The Shelter @ Vicar Street on the evening were glamorous TV3 presenter Karen Koster, comedy agent Noise Nunn and photographer Marc O'Sullivan. Our MC for the evening was legendary funny man Dom Irrera, who will also participate in this year's festival. Dom was only in Ireland for less than a day to launch the event and flying back to the U.S. early the next day.

Speaking of cats, I feel like I've been chasing my tail over the last few days. What with being at Punchestown on Friday and the bank holiday Monday, my coverage has been all over the place recently. Normal transmission will resume shortly.
The best of Food & Wine

Yesterday I had a gorgeous lunch in the fashionable Herbert Park Hotel as a guest of Tesco Ireland, who were launching their new summer range of food and wine. Every year the weather is most unpredictable for this event and this year's was no exception. The previous night it had been torrential rain, the morning and afternoon of the event is was hot and sunny and then in the evening it turns to a thunderstorm. The gods are surely looking down on Tesco!

I'm not being sycophantic here, but I love Tesco. I feel as if they actually put the customer first and that everything they do is in our interest. For example, their Skin Wisdom range of skincare is developed in consultation with Bharti Vyas, who was in town last week to introduce new ranges to the line. Bharti is one of the world's foremost experts on skincare, has been operating her clinics for over 20 years and has written many books on the subject.

Another example would be Barbara Daly, who Tesco developed their Make Up range with. Barbara is a renowned make-up artist who has worked with the likes of Diana, Princess of Wales and on movies like A Clockwork Orange. Far from being celebrity endorsements, the experts have a 'hands-on' role with Tesco to making sure we have the best on offer.

But I digress. Their range of food and wine is second to none for price and availability and, having sampled them all, for taste. At the lunch I spotted Ernie Whalley, editor of Food and Wine magazine, Freda Molamphy of Tesco, fashionista Bairbre Power, writer Myles McWeeney and publicist Mary Crotty, who is busy preparing for the IPRN conference which, as chairperson, she is hosting in Dublin this month.

So it's food: check; wine: check; BBQ: check; sunshine .....eh....

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Winner alright - but not for me

The Irish National Hunt Festival at Punchestown Racecourse came to a conclusion last week with Ladies Day which was sponsored by Newbridge Silverware. I travelled down with TV presenter Caroline Morahan, her lovely cousin Gel and fashion editor Bairbre Power. We joined the assembled guests in the Chairman's Box for a champagne reception and lunch, which was hosted by William and Oonagh Doyle of Newbridge Silverware. A good start to the day.

Among the party were pop star Samantha Mumba, looking great in a white lace dress, top model and face of Newbridge Andrea Roche and TV presenter Alan Hughes, who were all among the judges for the Best Dressed competition. Also there were Eurovision song writer Karl Broderick, PR Tara O'Connor with TV3 producer Debbie O'Donnell who all celebrated with wins. I, on the other hand, continued to add to my growing collection of losing receipts. The my table looked like the floor of the NY Stock Exchange after a day's trading.

We made our way to the parade ring for the judging of the Best Dressed, of which the winner received a specially commissioned piece of Newbridge Silverware. Looking fabulous as always was style maven Celia Holman - Lee, who was also on the judging panel. In the end though Claire Heffernan walked away with the top prize, a vision in turquoise.

Over in the pavilion I spotted Derry O'Donovan and his wife Mary and Tamso Doyle of HRI. Also there were 'celebrity lawyers' Gerald and Clodagh Kean, or Dr. Gerald as he is now known. Are they together? Are they seperated? Does anybody care?

As we were driven back to Dublin that evening I counted my losses. But I'd had a wonderful day, so I counted my lucky stars instead.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Celebrity karaoke

After the Bourjois party in the Morrison I had a not-so-hectic day, so decided to unwind with a few alfesco drinks in the Bailey with my good friend Deborah Allen. Earlier in the afternoon I had received communication that Mr. Pussy's legendary drag show was moving from Bruxelles while the place was being renovated. Pussy's new home was to be the trendy Plu Bar at exclusive hotspot Renards.

Suitably lubricated we ventured down where we met a posse of familiar faces including PR guru Sinead Ryan and her beau Malachy Geelan, socialite Richard Kavanagh, theatre festival director Bea Kelliher and columnist Fran Winston. I thought I spotted Colin Farrell but it turned out that it was look-a-like brother Eamon.

Before the show I ventured out for a breath of fresh air and who should I see only Farrell again. He's either omni-present or I've had one bottle of Moet too many, I thought. Oh, hang on, it is Colin. Looking more down-at-heel cowboy than Hollywood mega-star, La Farrell is still sporting his facial hair and pony tailed do. Looking tanned after his recent holiday in the Bahamas, he was wearing a check shirt and jeans.

As the night wore on, and after an impromptu duet by Kavanagh and Geelan, the crowd got into the full swing of the hilarious show. Colin and his party seemed to be enjoying themselves, with the camp innuendo flying faster than the speed of light bouncing from Pussy's diamonté jewellery.

The fabulous cabaret singer Ann Bushnell then took to the stage and belted out a few numbers much to the joy of all. Then, out of the blue, the bold Colin decides to join Ms. Bushnell and together they give us a rendition of Neil Diamond's Love on the Rocks. Was Colin trying to tell us something?

I can report that he is a much better singer than he has led us to believe. Last year he contributed to the soundtrack of the movie Intermission with a roaring version of I Fought the Law which didn't exactly set the music world alight.

To rapturous applause he was then persuaded to perform an encore and sang a Frank Sinatra number before retiring his vocal chords for the evening. After dancing into the night I made good my leave to be in top form for the races the next day. I can't say the same for Colin ....

Monday, May 02, 2005


Cosmetics house Bourjois last week launched the lastest in their ever expanding product range. 'Lovely' lipstick was well received by the assembled guests, who were in the penthouse suite of the Morrison Hotel on Thursday morning. Pouting certainly was the order of the day.

An innovative product, the 'Lovely' range continues to moisturise long after it has been applied. It even has a nifty little mirror on the base of each stick to assist with re-application while on the move, so no more excuses for stray marks.

Mixing their lippy with the Cosmos at the event were TV star Caroline Morahan, beauty journalist Anne Boylan, Irish make-up artist Ken Boylan, columnist Sarah McInerney, head of Bourjois Ireland Luca Hickey and music PR Elaine Roddy. All talk was of the races at Punchestown the following day, where Ladies Day was being hosted by Newbridge Silverware.

International celebrity make-up artist Daniel Sandler was on hand to impart any tips he had, and, as he was in contsant company I guessed that he had lots of tips for the interested girls. On yet another flying visit to Dublin, Daniel had been in New York earlier in the week and was returning to London with colleague Lesley Chivers the following morning. I tried to convince them to sample Irish hospitality later in the evening but they were due to appear on breakfast TV show Ireland AM the following day.

I knew that feeling, so I let them be. Afterall, it was OK for me. I was off to the races and didn't have to be up early.