Tuesday, December 19, 2006
The new gallery will feature works by Irish and international artists who have been resident at the Kerry retreat, with the inaugural exhibition featuring Cork based artist Martin Finnin with “The World is Blue like an Orange”. Judging by the number of pieces that were sold on the night, it was a massive hit with the assembled guests. In fact, Martin’s last show in Limerick sold out in just thirty minutes with many buyers disappointed at being unable to acquire one of his highly prized, colourful and sensitive pieces.
Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism John O’Donoghue TD, himself a Kerryman, officiated on the evening and delivered a passionate speech full of pride and praise for the Cill Rialaig Project, echoing everyone’s sentiments and delight at the new venture. He even joked that An Taoiseach should hire Noelle as a campaign manager come the next general election!
The 400 guests were treated to an after party in the impressive new Ely restaurant next door, which officially opens to the public in January. The diplomatic corps was well represented with ambassadors from France, Spain, Japan, Slovenia and Brazil all in attendance. Also present were Diarmuid Gavin and his wife Madeline Keane, interior designer Peter Willis, Marie Louise Kenny, architect Hugh Wallace and Jackie Lavin, who has just launched a new perfume with her husband Bill Cullen. The sweet smell of success perhaps?
I’m already a little bored of mince pies and mulled wine so I popped into Jaipur, my favourite Indian restaurant, on Dublin’s Georges Street yesterday for some lunch that didn’t have the ubiquitous Christmas flavour. Well, to say that the place was buzzing with a who’s who of people would be an understatement.
PR guru and co-star of the RTE show It’s My Party Sinead Ryan was there with Andrew Rudd, foodie extraordinaire. He’s just completed a series of cookery demonstrations which took in most of the Munster counties and still has a few Ireland AM appearances penciled in before the holidays.
Naiose Nunn was celebrating the success of his Leviathan political cabaret show which took place the previous night in CrawDaddy. A 3rd Anniversary special, it featured Harry Crosbie and Katie Hannon amongst others and was compared by the inimitable David McWilliams. Naoise was dining with Paddy Cullivan, a.k.a. Clint Velour, who many of you will know heads up the popular Camembert Quartet band, residents on the Tubridy Tonight show. At an adjacent table were Sharyn Mitchell, Mark Wooderson and Jim Sheridan of acclaimed TV production company Another Avenue, no doubt plotting their next small screen hit.
Creative ladies who lunch were well represented by publicist Roisin Ni Mhordha, artist Elaine Byrne and writer Carol Hunt. Elaine tells me that her latest project, The Collectors Club, is going from strength to strength with the aforementioned Harry Crosbie among her many fans. Elsewhere I spotted cartoonist Tom Matthews, Brian Barnes of Spirit nightclub and photographer Malachy Geelan. Despite the welcome non-festive food a very merry time was had by all.
It’s only fashionable to be late when you’re a model. And there were plenty of them at two stylish events this week. Brendan Scully and Sean Montague of the BScene agency hosted a Jameson cocktail party in SPY on Tuesday night for their good looking troupe and they’re admirers, who included stylist Leone Amon, Benoit Bringer and Ireland’s Miss Europe Jill Macken, who looked stunning in a Tyrell & Brennan dress.
The BScene agents have had a hectic few weeks, which culminated with a trip to London last week to see one of their protégés in action. Dean McCarthy, a BScene acting student, has just taken to the stage as Billy in Billy Elliott, the hit West End musical. The 14-year-old scored the top role after a grueling round of auditions earlier this year and last week started his run as the lead, with no less than three standing ovations on the opening night of his debut performance.
Last night, the young and the restless (or should that be “guest list”?) included Glenda Gilson, Andrea Roche and Rosanna Davison, who were all at the Assets Model Agency annual Christmas bash at Parker Browns nightclub in Dundrum Town Centre. The beautiful Lisa Murphy, who I’d spotted earlier in the week at the opening of the new Chinatown Christmas Market in Smithfield, told me of her recent charity trip to Uganda. An international model if ever there was one.
The Loft space at the Powerscourt Centre was packed out on Thursday evening for the one night only exhibition by photographer and photo artist Yvonne Kelly. Having traveled extensively throughout the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe, Yvonne has shown a flair for capturing moments and moods and has that rare and valuable gift - a natural eye for the 'perfect shot'.
Having built up an impressive portfolio of work over a number of years, she decided to hold an exhibition, with the sale proceeds going to the Entally Children's Orphanage in Calcutta, a project she visited while on her travels. Delighted with the turnout on the evening, Yvonne thrilled: “My aim is to raise funds so that these orphaned kids can receive an education, make a contribution to society and be helped achieve their dreams! The amount raised tonight will go a long way to help make that happen”.
Some of the many supporters on the evening included Yvonne’s father, Cavan based solicitor John V. Kelly, Anna Cullivan and her daughter Yvonne, TV and radio presenter Taragh Loughrey – Grant and Daniela Crawley from the St. Patricks Day festival, who told me that they are already very busy with plans for next years celebrations.
Glitz and glam was the name of the game at the Smirnoff Casino Royale Christmas Extravaganza that took place at Wrights Café Bar in Swords on Thursday night.
Roulette, blackjack, entertainers, flame throwers and DJ’s made it a night to remember as the great and the good of Nouth County Dublin, including Killian O’Sullivan, Brian Ormond and Siobhan Mc Clafferty, turned out in their finest.
The Bond themed event attracted some 500 revelers with high rollers such as Keith Duffy, model Jenny Lee Masterson, Niall Mc Crudden and Ray Shah taking to the tables. Everything was all Wright on the night though with no major losses reported.
There were a plethora of Christmas parties on this week, but who better to host a party than another party (political, that is). Fine Gael hosted a drinks reception in the Alexander Hotel this week, which was well attended by the entire parliamentary party, movers, shakers and the media. Indeed, a great number of the Labour party were on the guest list too. Among the party faithful were David Davin – Power, GAA star Graham Geraghty and TV3’s Ursula Halligan.
Fianna Fail hosted their festive soiree at Ron Blacks on the same evening, a low key event but well attended by the party nonetheless. An Taoiseach welcomed RTE’s Joe Duffy and Mary Wilson, Martin Macken and Rodney Rice amongst others.
That same evening I attended an intimate champagne reception hosted by The Gloss Magazine. Dynamic duo Sarah and Jane McDonnell have had a very busy year, producing one of the most exciting and impressive publications this country has ever seen. Many well-wishers turned out to support the sisters, including Norman Pratt, Gillian O’Loughlin and charity PR Sophie Flynn Rogers, who, by the time you read this, will be on her way to Goa where she plans to spend the next month. Now that’s what I call The Gloss.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Acclaimed writer Fran Leibowitz once said that food is an essential part of a healthy diet. I couldn’t agree more. And neither would Andrew and Simon Rudd of the newly opened Rudd Brothers food store in Blackrock. I took a trip out there recently where the brothers Rudd were hosting an informal soirée to celebrate the opening of their latest venture. Broadcaster Derek Davis was delighted to be there doing the honours and gave a passionate speech about how we should all strive to eat well and support those who produce good food. Again, I couldn’t agree more.
Among the guests on the evening were Brendan and Ruth Walsh, Joanne Byrne, John McKibbon and Jonothan Sultan (off to NYC for some festive shopping the next day) and photographer Malachy Geelan, who had just returned from Florence where he did a fashion shoot with Kip Carroll for Salvatore Ferragamo no less.
The shop, in Blackrock Market, is a gourmand’s heaven and stocks a wide variety of foods (including the delicious Prue & Simon’s line of rashers and sausages) as well as essential bits and pieces for the kitchen. Perfect Christmas gifts for the foodie in your life.
Top of many Christmas lists this year will, no doubt, be a PSP (Play Station Portable) and those who can’t get their hands on one in time for the 25th may not have appreciated the PSP+ME show which was hosted in FilmBase last week.
For the project, a plethora of creatives produced original work across a range of disciplines including art, design, fashion, music, motion, illustration and photography, which challenge the perception of PSP. My friend thought it a huge waste of good PSPs but it was art, and very good art too. PSPs well spent if you ask me.
On the same night (and a wet miserable one it was too) I ventured up to The Village where Coke and iTunes were hosting an exclusive event to celebrate the launch of their joint venture. Irish group The Blizzards played a storming set as the crowd, who included Jenny Houston, TV presenters Michelle Doherty and Taragh Loughrey – Grant, Tonie Walsh and Deborah McGee, got bigger and bigger. They were all there to see The Rapture, who practically blew the roof off. The Killers were also supposed to make a brief appearance, but alas they cancelled their big gig in the RDS that night.
Incidentally, nearly every launch event with any link to music is held in The Village, and, while I like the place (the excellent Songs of Praise rock karaoke of a Sunday night is a must), it does get a bit boring after the umpteenth party. Here’s hoping that Tripod, the long-awaited John Reynolds venue at the old Harcourt St. railway station, takes some of the action. I was there last Saturday night and I have to say the place looks great. After all the delays and false starts in opening it was worth the wait.
During the week I also attended the Barnardos Spirit of Christmas Gala Ball in Dublin Castle. Usually the location for State dinners and Presidential inaugurations, St. Patricks Hall made for an amazing venue and guests were even encouraged to wander the state apartments and have a look. Well worth a visit if you haven’t already been.
Miriam O’Callaghan was the MC for the evening, with Minister for Children Noel Dempsey TD the guest of honour. Among those in their finery were Dee Breen of Harvey Nichols, Triona McCarthy, Brendan Howlin TD, Paddy Bollard and Eimear Quinn and Jane O’Keeffe, who has recently been appointed Marketing Manager for Dundrum Town Centre. Being the busiest time of year for retail, I really hope she has the spirit of Christmas!
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
At the Social & Personal Top 100 Party People of the year bash in Cafe en Seine were: 1. Lisa Fitzpatrick. 2. Kim Byrne and Halina Ashdowne - Sheils. 3. Lisa Cummins and John Compton. 4. Johanna and Caoilinn Taylor. 5. Neasa Mellett, Cindy Cafolla and Amanda Brunker.
Monday, December 04, 2006
The big party that kicks off the Christmas social season is the Social & Personal Top 100 Party People of the year event, and last weeks bash certainly had everyone in attendance in a festive mood. Definitely one of the most well attended social occasions of the year, it brings out the party faithful in their glitz and glam and the theme of “ghetto fabulous” didn’t disappoint. Even the venue, Café en Seine, resembled Mortons of L.A. at Vanity Fair Oscar party time.
Inclusion on “The List”, this year in association with Corona Extra, is determined by a panel of judges who start with over a thousand names and then narrow it down to 100. The esteemed panel was made up of top model and Bubble Hits presenter Glenda Gilson, publicist (and star of TV show It’s My Party) Sinead Ryan, Sunday Indo social diarist Barry Egan, TV presenter Laura Woods, Lillies Bordello boss Dave Morrissey and fashionista Maria Fusco, of Ave Maria.
Claiming the top spot this year is An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, TD, who is usually guest of honour at any event he attends. With a diary more packed than my own, he also plays host to the world’s leaders on a regular basis. A deserving winner of this most sought after accolade, he was, ironically, unable to attend the party but met with Social & Personal publisher PJ Gibbons at government buildings earlier in the day to receive his award.
Making up the rest of the top 5 positions were Rosanna Davison, who attended with her boyfriend Wes Quirke – the hottest couple about town; the glamorous Lisa Murphy, who is currently in Uganda on a charity mission; TV3 fashion stylist Lisa Fitzpatrick, who was the belle of the ball and broadcaster Gerry Ryan, who had been rushed to hospital earlier in the week and was not present, natch (although if he had been there then that really would have upped his party cred).
Among the other favoured few to make the list were Miss Ireland Sarah Morrissey, actor George McMahon, Sir Jack Leslie, beauty guru Triona McCarthy, Conrad Gallagher, Brian O’Dricsoll, Enya and newscaster Anne Doyle. My position on the list is just beneath the gorgeous Andrea Roche, who is joined by her pals Gail Kaneswaren and Roberta Rowat.
As I said, it was a very well attended event and some of those I spotted were Amanda Brunker, Ross Robertson, Paul Byrom and Niall McCrudden, Mr. Ireland Simon Hales, Keith Foran and Ivano Cafolla Jnr., Robbie Fox, Sonia Macari, Rachel Kavanagh and Phil Cosby (Bing’s grandson, no less).
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Friday, November 24, 2006
A popular venue for high-end parties is No. 16, St. Stephens Green. An imposing townhouse near the corner of Dawson Street, it was completely renovated and refurbished last year by Hugh O’Regan, the man behind the Thomas Read Group. Each large reception room is like a blank canvas and they are always dramatically lit according to whatever party is being hosted there.
The launch of the special edition Nokia 8800 Sirocco was one such party that had the building looking at it’s best. In keeping with the sleek, ultra modern design of the mobile (which is exclusive to Brown Thomas), the house was kitted out with state-of-the-art lights and plasma screen TVs. In keeping with the exclusivity, delicious canapés were a plenty and Veuve Cliquot champagne flowed freely.
Among those I spotted were designer John McCormack, Avila Lipsett and Emily O’Donnell, who is one of the organisers of the huge annual DIT fashion show in Vicar Street. Avila’s sister, top model Roz Lipsett was also there (she’s been tipped as a possible new face of Guess? clothing). Benoit Bringer brought a certain je ne sais quoi to the party, as did Gráinne Seoige who interviewed artist Graham Knuttel, after he unveiled a painting specially commissioned by Nokia for the event. The painting, by the way, was pretty much like every other one he’s ever done, but with the added feature of a Nokia.
A highly anticipated event on the social calendar is the Irish Tatler Woman of the Year Awards, which was held in the Mansion House recently. Broadcaster Bryan Dobson and publisher of Irish Tatler magazine Norah Casey were hosts for the evening (Norah definitely has a career in TV if she ever gets tired of publishing).
The glamorous ladies present broke out the diamonds for the occasion and the red carpet was like the runway of a couture show. Among the guests at the sumptuous dinner were Lancome’s Helen Feely, TV3’s Debbie O’Donnell and Laura Bermingham, Ruth Negga, Barry Egan, Sharon McCabe (whose new Radisson SAS Farnham Estate hotel in Cavan is the toast of the country), designer Ciaran Sweeney, Sally – Ann Flanagan, Minister Mary Hanafin TD, Norma Smurfit and Lainey Keogh.
The top accolade went to tireless charity worker Adi Roche. Her amazing achievements ensured that she was a most worthy winner and she received a standing ovation as she accepted the award.
Continuing the glitz and the glam, international bling masters Swarovski hosted a party in City Hall to celebrate the opening of their two new Dublin stores, Grafton St. and Henry St. – equal opportunity locations! Famed for their collections of crystal figurines, the design powerhouse is now better known for jewellery and fashion accessories (Swarovski was all over London Fashion Week this year).
Irish fashion journalists were out in force getting a sneak peak at the new Spring Summer collection. Sarah McDonnell from The Gloss was among the many fashionistas who enjoyed front row seats for the slick show, which was produced by Graham Cruz. Other representatives from the world of Irish fashion included stylists Sonja Mohlich, Paula Hughes and Aisling Farinella as well as fashion photographer Barry McCall.
Other guests enjoying the Moet & Chandon reception included Anna Wood from the Clarence Hotel, Brendan Scully and Sean Montague, Delores Delaney, Daniela Sabitini and Audrey Brennan (who have just launched their new company Develop) as well as author Marissa Mackle. After the spectacular fashion show models Kathryn Calvert and Irma worked the room allowing the magpies to get a closer look at the glittering array of jewellery available. Blingtastic!
The much-loved Meteor Ireland Music Awards will take place on Thursday the 1st of February and it was announced recently that the hosts will be Deirdre O’Kane and the inimitable duo of Podge & Rodge O'Leprosy (who kindly sent me a big box of their new Culchie Crisps yesterday!). The announcement was made at a luncheon in Fire last week and among the guests were Caroline Downey, Trish and Julian Fallon (busy searching for the country’s next top model), Fergal Breen of Irish Dev, Andrew Kelly of Meteor, Paul Trainer, Ray Shah and Deirdre O’Kane (who certainly was on fire as she made her witty speech). Get voting for “The Meteors” now.
Shopping, you either love it or hate it. But when the opportunity to shop at a sample sale arises then you gotta love it. Paddy Kelly of the RB menswear store in the Powerscourt Shopping Centre hosted a shopping evening last week and there was no shortage of punters to snap up D&G jeans for half nothing. I spotted stylist Leoné Amor (it’s a good sign when a stylist shops at your store), photographer Yvonne Kelly (who hosts a vernissage at the same centre on the 14th), writer Barbara McCarthy (she’s off to Goa soon) and Chris McDonnell of rock band Latitude (their new single “No Room for the Timid” is in record stores now).
In case you need a reason to visit RB, Paddy also stocks the amazing shirt brand 1 Like No Other, which is designed by Bronagh Griffin in Derry. Handmade, there are only 500 of each design produced so you are guaranteed not to clash with the high-street-shirt-wearing boys at the Christmas party.
While I’m on the subject of menswear, luxury gift brand Newbridge Silverware recently named rugby star Ronan O’Gara as the new face of its latest men’s line. Sporting a slick watch and cufflinks at an event in the members club of the RDS, O’Gara was obviously thrilled at the association (he’s up there as a face of Newbridge now). Among those wishing him well on the day were Amanda Brunker, Michael O’Doherty, Anne Boylan, William Doyle and Today FM’s Paul Collins.
Incidentally, Newbridge Silverware has kindly decorated the Christmas trees at O’Connell St., Grafton St. and The Mansion House this year. The specially commissioned star decorations will be auctioned off after the festive season with proceeds going to the charity Trust. The trees were lit on Sunday evening by the Lord Mayor, Cllr. Vincent Jackson, and a host of beauties including Rosanna Davison, Andrea Roche, Rose of Tralee Kathryn Feeney, Phil Donnelly and Celia Holman – Lee.
Each of them stars in their own right.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Not many fashion labels can claim to be top of their game for over 21 years. And even less of them are Irish. Congratulations then to Kartel, the menswear brand that has been a staple of the golf course for over 21 years. They celebrated with a big party in Samasara recently with invitations that were accompanied with the “key of the door”. If your key fit the lock then congratulations, you won a prize (the first birthday party I’ve attended where the guests get gifts).
International golfer Padraig Harrington was a guest of honour – he’s been a supporter of Kartel (and vice versa) for many years – and was high on his recent European Tour Order of Merit win. Other guests there on the night included Social & Personal publisher PJ Gibbons, Declan and Derbhla Leavy, Glenda Gilson, Alan Amsby, rugby player Malcolm O’Kelly and Richard Kavanagh.
Later on that evening I ventured down to the IFSC where Budweiser were hosting an event to launch the BudLight brand in Ireland. The vast space of chq was the location and TV / radio star Vernon Kay was the man of the night. I’m still not sure what the point of drafting in Mr. Kay was but as far as entertainment goes it was, well, entertaining. More wedding DJ than club DJ. And the vast chq space left some looking for an atmosphere.
Nonetheless, guests such as Eoin Higgins, Nadine and Sarah Jane Wai – O’Flynn, author Marisa Mackle and Norman Pratt enjoyed the gig, with some of them continuing on to SIN for Maria Fusco’s fashion show which featured her trendy Ave Maria store and, which I’m reliably informed, went on till the wee small hours.
One recent party that certainly did not lack atmosphere was the launch of The Dubliner's Top 100 Best Restaurants Guide. The magnificent Banking Hall in The Westin hotel was the location for what has become one of the best-attended parties of the year. Publisher Trevor White (fresh from a trip to NYC) certainly knows how to play host and at one stage I even spotted him topping up guest’s glasses with Santa Rita vino, which flowed all evening.
This years people’s choice award went to l’Gueuleton, the very popular French eatery on Fade Street which still has punters queuing up around the corner in the hope of securing an 8pm table. A triumphant Troy Maguire was on hand to accept the award.
The guide itself has experienced somewhat of a makeover and now sports a funky new look, which no doubt will ensure a broader appeal. There are a number of new additions this year (and indeed a few omissions) but as always it’s the discerning gourmands of Dublin’s public who have the greatest say in what restaurants make the cut.
Some of the discerning gourmands present on the evening included Gavin Friday and his artist pal Guggi, Sinead Ryan, Brendan O’Connor, model Carmel Mannion, TV chef Andrew Rudd, Fiachna O’Braonáin, Jay Bourke and RTE’s Kelly Barnes. Bon appetit (which, as my French friend tells me, they don’t say in France)!
It would appear that many of the aforementioned gourmands are also beauty junkies, as many of them went from The Dubliner party to Cocoon, where Donna Ledwidge was hosting a birthday party for her popular Donnybrook beauty salon High Maintenance. Stylist to the stars Leoné Amore was looking every inch an effortless high maintenance girl, as was Triona McCarthy and her sister Laura. Rosanna Davison was also there with her new beau, the dashing Wesley Quirke. Incidentally, look out for Wes’ brother Andy’s new single, Skanger Me Banger, which will be in shops before Christmas. No, seriously!
One of the most glamorous events of late has been the opening party of the swanky new Karen Millen store on Grafton Street. The fashion stakes were high (and the heels too) as the paparazzi scrum outside the store caught the arrival of the stylish guests, who included hot duo Pamela Flood and Caroline Morahan, Gayle Killilea, Lisa Breen – Fitzpatrick, Roisín Ní Mhordha and Margaret Nelson.
Inside, the store looks amazing. It could easily be the interior of London’s latest hip club or New York’s newest hotel. Lights, mirrors, glass and that ceiling! All offset of course by the beautiful threads that hung “off the rails”. TV presenter Anna Nolan, Alan Bruton and Sonya Mohlich, top model Andrea Roche, The Sunday Times’ Enda Leahy (who recently picked up a Law Society Justice Media Award) and Larissa Nolan, Collette Fitzpatrick and Debbie O’Donnell were also among those present.
The Tattinger flowed all night as we were treated to a fashion show of the latest KM pieces, after a touching ad-libbed speech from Ian Galvin, head of Mosaic Ireland, the company responsible for the brand and many others including Coast and Whistles.
Of course the star of the evening was Ms. Karen Millen herself. She leapt from a chauffeur driven car into the arms of the paps and subsequently glided around the party from air kiss to air kiss wearing the highest heels I’d ever seen. She’s a petit woman, but as I said, the fashion stakes were high.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
There have been a wide variety of events hosted in the past few weeks, and if I didn’t know any better I’d say it was an attempt to entice the party people out of any self inflicted autumnal cocoons that they may be considering (and I’m not talking about Eddie Irvine’s Cocoon either).
Absolut Vodka hosted a party with a summer feel, but an autumn look, in the top floor party space of Fallon & Byrne recently. The hosts had done a magnificent job at turning what is normally just a vast empty room, into stylish lounge-y interior, for the launch of the latest Absolut flavour – Absolut Peach.
Looking positively peachy on the evening, despite the rising temperatures, were Astrid Brennan and Charles Guildbaud (whose new Venu eaterie continues to go from strength to strength), Gail Ferguson and her actor boyfriend Mark McAuley, Sonia Reynolds and Paul Trainer of The Dubliner, who, while I’m on the subject of eating establishments, is busy with the impending publication of the magazines much anticipated Top 100 Best Restaurants Guide.
Rumour had it that Peaches Geldof was invited to DJ at the event but she was too busy to attend. I guess it was a school night.
A recent highlight for me was to be invited to the gala ball for the 10th anniversary of the Dyspraxia Association, which was held in the Killiney Castle Hotel. I must confess that I had no idea what Dyspraxia was, but having done a little research prior to the event I was very surprised at how much it affects children who suffer from it. Chairperson Jo Cullen also enlightened us on the evening with a most informative speech. Unfortunately there is no cure for the condition, but through therapy and assistance many children can learn to cope and deal with Dyspraxia.
Some of the well known guests who helped raise much need funds on the night were Martin King and his beautiful wife Jenny McCarthy, David Harvey, Triona McCarthy, TV chef Andrew Rudd, Ian Dempsey, stylist Cathy O’Connor, Sophie Flynn – Rogers and Helen O’Dwyer.
Former party girl Ashling McCormack was also in attendance, with her pal Catriona Hanly. A once regular face on the Dublin social scene, she now runs a successful fashion empire in Northern Ireland. Best selling author Marisa Mackle was also there and was flying out to Croatia the next day for a well-earned holiday after her marathon promo tour for her latest book, Man Hunt. Next stop, the UK market.
I went to the dogs recently (some might say I went a long time ago, but I digress) for a special night of entertainment courtesy of Daz, the soap you can believe in! They were celebrating the launch of their latest campaign, the Daz Millions, with a champagne dinner at Shelbourne Park dog track, which attracted a plethora of fun loving party people.
Fashion stylist Gramham Cruz was there, as was Roxanne Parker and her beau James Coyle, Frances Winston and everyone’s favourite jazz hands producer, Julian Benson. I was seated next to a charming girl who I later found out was Sinead Desmond, the new co-host of popular TV3 breakfast show Ireland AM. I haven’t had a chance to see her in her new role yet, hence my non-recognition of the dark haired beauty, so I hope she didn’t take offence when I asked her if she worked for P&G, the makers of Daz!
After upteen races, and even more bets, I realised that I hadn’t won anything all night, but the food and wine from the Dobbins kitchen distracted me nicely. Dog racing, you see, is pretty much luck of the draw. Even the dogs on the street know that.
Once spectacular party that certainly had me dazzled recently was the opening of Boodles, the gorgeous new jewellery store on Grafton Street. Nicholas Wainwright, who heads up the family business, hosted the glamorous evening for a select number of clients and friends a couple of weeks ago.
One of the star attractions, out of the hundreds of magnificent gems (each designed exclusively for, and by, Boodles), was the 27-carat blue-white Boodles Marquess diamond, with an equally impressive price tag of €1.2 million. Jody Wainwright, who heads up the new Dublin branch of the business (which dates back to 1798), was delighted with the new venture and, indeed, delighted to be living and working in Dublin.
Among the guests enjoying champagne and Grey Goose cocktails on the evening were Norma Smurfit, Samantha Mumba, Louis Copeland, Sinead Ryan and Joanne Byrne, Jonothan Sultan and John McKibbon, Laura Ennis and Caroline Downey.
A few evenings later I was sampling the culinary delights of Dobbins yet again, albeit in the sumptuous surroundings of their city centre restaurant, a million miles away from the Shelbourne Park franchise. I was a guest of Razvan Macici, who is the master winemaker for Nederburg Wines, the premier brand from South Africa. He was in town on the final part of a European tour, which had seen him visit Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Germany and a host of other countries.
“I need to go on a serious diet when I get home,” he joked. Imagine eating a 6-course dinner, like the one we enjoyed in Dobbins, almost every night for 3 weeks! I hear you Razvan. Among those appreciating the fine Nedurburg wines were Andy Bowse of Food & Wine magazine (he loved them, and he should know), Triona McCarthy and Paula Marron, Roisin Tierney – Crowe, Eoin Higgins and Ingmar Kiang and Sarah Jane English, who is set to marry her fiancé Malachy Quinn any day soon.
The future will no doubt be bright for Sarah Jane and Malachy, and for a gathering in the breathtaking Gravity Bar recently it certainly was Bright. Financial whizz Mark Suter, and his beautiful wife Lucy, hosted a glamourous event to mark the launch of his latest venture, Bright Finance, which will offer a variety of finance services, including wealth management.
Ireland’s most well known new parents, Louis and Louise Osbourne, were there, minus baby Mia. "This is one of my first nights out since Mia arrived and I miss her so much. I think I have called my mother five times already" Louise told me. Other bright young things at the party included Eavan McSweeney and men-about-town Norman Pratt and Richie Stokes, who is set to leave wintery Ireland next month for a stint in Australia.
Well, I guess it’s always bright down under.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Friday, September 22, 2006
This is becoming a bit of a habit - my lack of writing! Thanks for the e-mails people and I am sorry for not updating, but I am very busy. Busy is as busy does so here is a quick synopsis of the last couple of weeks …
One of the busiest social weeks all year, people are back from their hols and are out en force to catch up and swap stories. There were no less than 15 events on around the city in the last 10 days or so, with many high profile, tanned faces in attendance.
Despite talk of summer vacations, the rain poured on the evening that the lovely Elaine Byrne and the dapper Phillip Carton launched their exciting new project, The Collectors Club. Despite the rather inclement weather, the elegant receptions rooms of George’s of Baggot Street were packed, with Sinead Ryan, Norman Pratt, Ross Robertson and Louise Leahy among the guests. Byrne, who worked the room with style and ease, was most enthusiastic as she explained the concept to me. Whether you collect antiques, jewellery, cars, whatever, you should check it out.
Businessman and raconteur Harry Crosbie delivered a rousing speech about collecting. I for one didn’t know the passion this man has for Georgian furniture (and disdain for Victorian). Harry says that collecting is not about money and that shouldn’t stop anyone from indulging in the finer things in life. I couldn’t agree more Harry.
I paid my first visit to Rhodes D7 during the week too, as a guest of Tony Collins and Carmel O’Reilly of Top Flight. They were celebrating another bumper year with a new snow catalogue and super new collaborations with Austria.
TV presenter Alan Hughes was there, looking fresh after a recent trip to Slovenia. Publicist Aileen Eglington had been on the same trip but was looking a lot more rested. Alan, despite early morning (5am) starts, is also comparing the West Coast Cooler series of fashion extravaganzas that are currently taking place at a Radisson Hotel near you. Incidentally, Rhodes D7 is pretty good, though a bit too loud and bright for my liking.
Speaking of loud and bright, St. Julien, the shining lights in the stable of Sian Records, celebrated the launch of their debut single, Just Because, at a party in 4 Dame Lane. Formerly known as The Hoffman Affair, St. Julien, continue to hone their music style and deliver a tight and sharp sound. Their subsequent gig in the Sugar Club was sold out and their managers Andrew Wilkinson and Simon Rudd were delighted at the first round of what is set to be a long game.
Joy Everlasting. Doesn’t that just bring a smile to your face? Imagine then if that was your name. Joy! Everlasting! And your sister’s name is Love. Well that’s what the Hawkridge sisters, the owners of the popular Whetsone Hair Salon, are called. They hosted a very stylish party, with David Halpin, during the week to celebrate the launch of their latest venture, the Whetstone Aveda Lifestyle Salon, on South Anne Street.
The interior of the place is like something you’d see in World of Interiors. I wanted to live there. As did many of the other guests, who included Amanda Le Roux and Emmanuel Ray of Aveda (who flew in especially for the party), designers Helen Steele and Joanne Hynes, Christine Fredricks and restaurateur Charles Guildbaud.
From calmness and well being, to decadence and indulgence as I left the Whetstone Aveda party and popped into Jessica Walker’s do down at eaterie-du-jour, Fallon & Byrne (Colin Farrell and Kelly Osbourne were recent patrons). Jessica, a super sexy woman, has had her own range of delicious chocolates for years and has just launched her range here in Ireland. A premier brand (i.e. not available in your local supermarket), she’s got it right with her product and packaging. If the TV show Sex and the City were chocolate it would be Jessica Walker.
One of the most stylish events I’ve attended all year must be the Hermès party that was hosted in No.16 St. Stephens Green last week. Granted, you’d expect any party hosted by Hermès to be a stylish affair, but this one had a certain je nais se quoi.
Celebrating their association with the Horse photography exhibition by Koto Bolofo, Hermès were also delighted to be supporting the Ireland Fund. Outgoing Hermès MD for Ireland and the UK Charles Henri Leroy introduced his replacement, Florian Craen, who is looking forward to taking up his new role soon
Hugo McNeill of the Ireland Fund paid homage to the sterling Anglo – Irish Agreement work done by former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, who was in attendance with his elegant wife Kathleen. Poor Albert got a bit of a shock however, as we all did, when there was a sudden, loud and mysterious bang, which seemed to come from within the walls of the building. It didn’t steal his thunder though.
Among the great and the good enjoying the Louis Roderer champagne were Astrid Brennan, who definitely sported the best (real) tan in Dublin, Paddy Bollard, Uwe and Fiona Gratzer and architect Felim Dunne. Talk was of London Fashion Week with Sive O’Brien and Triona McCarthy both making plans for the hectic event, more of which later.
During the week I also popped into Paul Cadden’s fab new restaurant, Saba, on Clarendon Street. Paul knows what works (he’s formerly of the Diep group so he knows Thai food too). Among the diners I spotted were fashionistas Maria Fusco and Virginia Macari, John Brennan, PJ Gibbons, TV and radio presenter Taragh Loughrey – Grant and stylist Leone Amoré.
Sad as it may sound, I make no apologies for the thrill that I got from sitting in the Big Brother chair recently. The real Big Brother chair. The big, gold, very comfortable chair that made an appearance at the huge Carphone Warehouse 10th birthday party last week.
You see, I really am easily pleased.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Olwen McAuliffe and MTV presenter DP Fitzgerald backstage in the Bacardi B-Live VIP area of Electric Picnic.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
The well-attended launch party for Trevor White’s first book was a testament to the popular man that he is. Milling around Thornton’s restaurant in the Fitzwilliam Hotel, guests were eager to get a first look at Kitchen Con, the first book from the inimitable publisher / writer.
In Kitchen Con, Trevor lifts the lid on, as he puts it, “the restaurant racket”. And he’s well qualified to do so. His family ran a hugely successful restaurant on St. Stephen’s Green (Whites on the Green, if my memory serves me correctly) in Dublin for many years. He became a restaurant critic at the tender age of 18, has eaten all around the world and now publishes the best selling annual Top 100 Guide in Ireland in conjunction with his successful magazine, The Dubliner.
Among the guests feasting on the delicious canapés prepared by Kevin Thornton’s Michelin Starred kitchen were writer Eamon Delaney, Gavin Friday and Amanda Brunker. Style queen Sonia Reynolds was with her legal eagle hubby Barry Lyons, relaxing after a hectic few weeks with Dublin Fashion Week.
Some of the other guests in attendance included Quentin Fottrell, Aoife O’Reilly, the dashing Michael O’Doherty, Roisin Tierney – Crowe, Ulick O’Connor and Helen Lucey Burke. Bombay Sapphire provided the potent martinis and Harvey Nicks did the goodie bags, rounding off a most successful launch (for those in London there was round two at Bentley’s Oyster Bar the following evening).
NYC publisher John Ryan, did the honours on the evening, during a week in which he himself was riding high on the publicity front – a documentary, a Late Late show appearance and countless column inches. Luckily he didn’t manage to steal Trevor’s limelight but made a witty speech in which he regaled the guests with made-up “facts” about Trevor.
One true fact about Trevor is that he’s written a highly entertaining, engaging and educating book; one that, if you’ve ever eaten out in your life, you’ll find of interest.
Friday, September 08, 2006
The luxurious Westin hotel on Dublin’s College Green celebrated it’s 5th birthday recently with a magnificent 005 Casino Royale evening. The glamour stakes were high with the invited guests looking every inch the high rollers they are.
The hotel’s General Manager Enda Mullin welcomed guests in the breathtaking Banking Hall, where all enjoyed champagne and a selection of delicious lime and blueberry flavoured martinis - shaken not stirred, natch - courtesy of Ketel-One vodka.
Upon entry guests were presented with $1000 to splash out on the gambling tables, where competition was tough to secure the highest winning position in order to win one of the many super prizes up for grabs with celebrations in the hotel’s Mint Bar later that night.
Marisa Mackle, whose latest book Manhunt has just hit the shelves, attended and looked stunning in a pale blue dress. Marisa’s long-time pal, fashion stylist Roxanne Parker was also there with her boyfriend James. 2FM DJ Ruth Scott, model Lisa Murphy, Peter Keenan and Frances Winston, Elaine Byrne and Fair City’s Tatiana Ouliankina and Yuri Stepanov (who play brother and sister Lana and Sergei) were also among the stylish crew who enjoyed the evening.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
It was a rainy start to my Electric Picnic experience when I eventually arrived on Saturday evening, but it did nothing to dampen my spirits. Thankfully there were no tents to be pitched as the group I was with had set up camp in a terrific location at the Artist Camping zone backstage the previous day. And it was only when I ventured to the main camping areas that I realised how lucky we were with our location (in case you’re wondering, it took me 20mins to walk from stage to the yellow camping zone, not to mention navigating the assault course of tents).
Due to my late arrival I missed pretty much half of the festival (Anthony Hegarty of Anthony and The Johnsons and PJ Harvey), but on the upside I also missed the gale force winds that battered the site the night before. I guess it kept everyone festival fit if anything else.
I didn’t see that many performances to be honest, but Groove Armada, Basement Jaxx, the Bodytonic arena, New Order and the Pet Shop Boys were all pretty memorable. I also managed to catch highlights from Abie Philbin-Bowman's hit satire “Jesus: The Guantanamo Years” which was on at the popular Leviathan tent. The Bacardi B-Live area was pumping at all times with great sets from Disconauts and IG Culture among other top acts.
Backstage in the Bacardi B-Live VIP area I spotted George McMahon, MTV presenter DP Fitzgerald, singer Jeanette Cronin, Niall McCrudden, Channel 6’s Taragh Loughrey – Grant, David Cavanagh and Richie Stokes.
The place to be though was the VIP area, with its massive marquee, comfy beanbags, full bar, outdoor seating and covered balcony which looked on to the main stage. In times of rain this was the place to take refuge. Some of the faces there included Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Kelly Osbourne and her boyfriend Matty Derham, Louis Walsh, Nadine Wai – O’Flynn, Sinead Ryan and Malachy Geelan, Naoise and Ashley Nunn, actress Bronagh Gallagher, Norman Pratt, Tom Dunne and TV star Lucy Kennedy.
David McWilliams was with his wife Sian, after a hectic day hosting at the Leviathan marquee. Triona McCarthy, Bubble Hits presenter Liam McKenna, publicist Andrea Horan, TV chef Andrew Rudd, Lee Walsh, James Hyland, Anna Lavery and Paul McGuinness were also among the VIP guests.
Monday morning came all too soon though and there is no such thing as a lie-in when umpteen trucks arrive to dismantle tonnes of equipment. As I strolled around the grounds one last time, met by a small army of people whose job it was to erase all sign of Electric Picnic from the Stradbally Estate, I thought of what a magnificent weekend it had been.
Electric Picnic was voted best music festival in Europe last year. I hope there’s a bigger award for it to win this year – best in the world maybe?
Monday, September 04, 2006
Hollyoaks stars Carly Stenson and Andrew Moss were special guests at the recent TV3 party in Spirit.
TV3, Ireland’s first independent television channel, once again pulled out all the stops to launch their latest season of programming. At a party hosted in Spirit recently, guests were treated to a glimpse of what TV3 has to offer in its forthcoming schedule.
From the US come new shows JERICHO, a dramatic, stylish and scary new drama - a nuclear bomb has destroyed most of America and a small Kansas town must get to grips with a new kind of reality. From Warner come some of the strongest titles in years with NOTES FROM THE UNDERBELLY, an engaging thirty-something comedy and SMITH, executive-produced by John Wells of ER fame, a very powerful crime drama with a great cast including Ray Liotta and Virginia Madsen. A real treat is in store with STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP from the West Wing stable, a funny and really poignant tale about the world of television starring Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford as the maverick writer / producer team.
The soaps return in force to entertain their legions of fans with BAFTA award-winner and Ireland's most popular soap CORONATION STREET, EMMERDALE the fastest growing soap on Irish television, HEARTBEAT and its hugely successful spin off THE ROYAL and TV3 will be airing in the early evening from October the award-winning and very popular soap HOLLYOAKS.
Joining TV3 faces such as Mark Cagney, Lorraine Keane (who's looking great in the late stages of expectancy) and Martin King at the party were Louis Walsh, Eleanor Cullen, Keith Duffy, Phina Oruche of Footballers Wives, Debbie O’Donnell and Hollyoaks stars Carly Stenson and Andrew Moss.
Oh, and there’s a great homegrown show in store too. Picture a Dublin location at night and a large floating glass block illuminated from within - this is home twenty four hours a day for the contestants in THE BOX, TV3's brand new million plus reality quiz show. Two players go head to head throughout the day. By the end of the night one will be ejected. The winner can go on to collect an unlimited cash prize. Close friendships will be formed and bitter rivalries developed.
There will also be some celebrity guests and lots of surprises! Every morning live on Ireland AM, Alan Hughes will give 3 lucky contestants the chance to battle it out and the winner will go into the box that night and take on the reigning champion. Viewers will be able to register through a dedicated phone number and on the TV3 website. Viewers will also have the opportunity to play the game from home. Presented by Keith Duffy, THE BOX will run every night for three weeks in the autumn starting in October.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Well, there goes another summer, all too short in my opinion, but then I guess it depends on how much (or how little) you squeeze into the few months.
I decided to abandon my writing and coverage of events as the social scene really does wind down during this time and the frequency of events slows somewhat. It was great to receive loads of e-mails enquiring about my whereabouts; nice to know I was missed! Equally so, the number of readers who mentioned my absence to me in person. No doubt, however, many of you were tuned into The Juice on FM104 for my weekly social digest!
So, what’s been happening over the summer? Well, The White Tie & Diamond Ball in Marbella was a big hit, raising a huge amount for the Water Angels charity. Among the guests, many of whom were Irish, were Glenda Gilson, Rebecca Jane Higgins, Lisa Murphy, Aysha Campion – Awwad, Brendan Courtney, Rebecca Loos and Liam Cunningham.
The Galway Races were a huge success, as always. Andrea Roche married PJ Mansfield. The Horse Show was a glamorous occasion, with record numbers attending Ladies Day. The British Ambassador, HE Stuart Eldon, hosted his last Horse Show soireé in Glencairn before taking up his new post in Brussels. Anna Nolan announced her departure from presenting The Afternoon Show, Corinna Field departed Ireland for the world and Lord Kilbracken departed the world (R.I.P.).
Few and far between the parties may have been lately, but the quality and excellence of them made up for that. One of the big bashes this summer was thanks to top model Roz Lipsett, who hosted a fundraising event to aid her humanitarian trip to Brazil, where she currently is, working in an orphanage. Her parents, Robert and Therese, threw open the doors of their beautiful Rathgar home, and guests enjoyed an evening of food, drink, music, fireworks and a bouncy castle! Thankfully Roz’s gorgeous sisters Avila and Sarah were on hand to avert any potential firework / bouncy castle disasters.
Among those in attendance were Rosanna Davison and James Montgomery, Robbie Wootton, Astrid Brennan and James Flanagan, Miss Ireland Sarah Morrissey, Zach Jordan, Emily O’Donnell and Colm Farrell, publisher Michael O’Doherty, Richie Spence and FM104’s Jodie King, all of whom helped raise much need funds for the disadvantaged children.
A fashion event with a difference was held in the ever-popular Design Centre recently. Aisling Kilduff welcomed the glitz and the glam to her style emporium to celebrate the very trendy Preen label, by Thornton Begazzi, which is now available in the store. Caroline Sleiman, designer Synan O’Mahony, Tara O’Connor, John Rocha and Celia Holman – Lee were some of those enjoying the Moet & Chandon reception. Talk on the night was of the Rose of Tralee festival and Celia’s now legendary Newbridge Silverware fashion show. Congrats to The Queensland Rose, Kathryn Anne Feeney, who won the coveted title.
While I’m on the subject of fashion, this week sees Dublin Fashion Week take place for the third season. The brainchild of the gregarious Sonia Reynolds, this event continues to go from strength to strength with more designers, an increased number of visiting press and buyers and a new location in the FitzWilliam Hotel.
The official launch party took place on Monday evening in the Absolut Garden @ Solas, with Graham Cruz, film producer Mills Goodloe and Bianca Bezdek from L.A., designer Eileen Shields and Andrea Horan all lending their support.
This weekend sees the music event of the year, namely Electric Picnic, take place at Stradbally Hall in Offaly. Big attractions include the Bacardi B-Live arena, political cabaret and lively debate Leviathan, Southern Comfort Crawdaddy arena, the Haagen Dazs cinema tent and of course the music. The event has been sold out for months but for those of you without tickets, RTE will broadcast coverage throughout the weekend. Those of you lucky enough to have tickets, I’ll see you there.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Normal transmission will resume shortly. In the meantime, check out Code.tv.
Friday, July 07, 2006
The party posse are taking full advantage of these long balmy evenings and outdoor drinking is the new black. It’s important to make hay while the sun shines and all that, so the good people at Haagen Dazs ice cream had perfect timing as they hosted their summer cocktail party on the private terrace at George’s of Baggot Street yesterday evening.
With delish, nay decadent, Haagen Dazs cocktails and Kir Royales there was a real social buzz about the place as the crowd discussed plans for summer and upcoming events. A hot topic of conversation was the forthcoming White Tie and Diamond charity gala ball in
Back to last night, and the other matter in hand seemed to be avoiding the TV cameras that were floating around the party. Hosts Joanne Byrne and Sinead Ryan were filming for the final of their new RTE TV show, It’s My Party, and the pair were miked up and working the room effortlessly. Let’s hope that some great gossip passed their lips and will be shared on national TV!
Also there were TV stars Kathryn Thomas and Lucy Kennedy, Norman Pratt and Avril Collins, Gavin Lambe – Murphy and Libby Ryan, Andrew Rudd, Trevor White from The Dubliner and Jedda Downey, sister of Caroline who is no stranger to TV following the hugely successful show Charity Queens, in which she appeared recently alongside my pal Tara O’Connor.
After umpteen Haagen Dazs cocktails (I was physically unable to drink anymore) I popped into the new Portoo House tapas bar on
It was no coincidence then that I also spotted them in Lillies later on ripping up the dancefloor with the likes of Trevor Musgrave, Lord Henry Mountcharles and his wife Lady Iona Mountcharles.