Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Andrew Rudd and Luca Hicky pictured at last night's Social & Personal Top 100 Sexiest Men party in Cocoon.

Top 100 Sexiest Men of 2006

Last night I attended one of the best parties ever. PJ Gibbons, publisher and editor of Social & Personal magazine, knows how to throw a great bash (well, he is the purveyor of Ireland's original society magazine). The beautiful people were out en masse to hear the magazines Top 100 Sexiest Men in Ireland, in association with Kartel Menswear.

I was delighted to be included in the Top 100 list, sharing space with the likes of TV presenter Craig Doyle (No. 1) and actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers (No. 2). Others named in the 100 include Des Bishop, Steven Gately, Shayne Ward, Larry Mullen, Killian Murphy and Stuart Townsend. And FYI readers - I'm single once again!

The Champagne Jacquart flowed all night in the specially decorated Cocoon bar, with DJs Ivano Cafolla and Keith Foran spinning top tunes, for the "Filthy Rich" themed party. Among those I spotted were Derek Mooney, model Astrid Brennan with her beau James Flanagan, Sinead Ryan and Ruth Walsh, Malachy Geelan and Andrew Rudd (who is hosting a party at his family's stately home this weekend).

Laura Slattery looked gorgeous as always and is excited about moving into her plush new apartment soon. Also moving into a new penthouse next week is man-about-town Norman Pratt. Hopefully I'll be moving into a fab new place next week too!

Also there were Shirley Beere with her good pal Anne Boylan, Fergal Breen and Frances Winston with Alan Amsby, Nick Costello (who is busy with the forthcoming Jameson DIFF) and Luca Hicky of Bourjois Cosmetics. PR supremos Corinna Field, Jane McDaid and Emily Cramp, newscaster Anne Doyle, Gavin Lambe - Murphy, a dapper looking Richard Kavanagh, Katy French, designer Virginia Macari (who is celebrating her birthday next week with a big par-tay) and her sister Sonia were also enjoying the night.

It will take one hellava do to trump this one. Hats off to Social & Personal once again.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Yours truly with Shane Filan of Westlife at the Cheerios Childline after show party in Lillies last night.

Anna Lavery and pal Ann O'Connell at the after show party in Lillies last night.

She is a Star!

Yours truly with You're A Star finalist Lynda Magan of girl group Nickel & Dime at the Cheerios Childline after show party in Lillies last night.

Childline After Show Party

The by-now-legendary Cheerios Childline concert took place at The Point yesterday, and in time honoured tradition, the after show party was the most coveted invite in Dublin last night. There was a buzz of paparazzi and waiting fans outside Lillies, the likes of which have never been seen before.

The event, which is the brainchild of Caroline Downey, wife of MCD owner Denis Desmond, has raised millions of Euro over the year's and is always supported by a host of top celebrities. This year was no different, with most of the stars popping in to Lillies to sample the hospitality of the top club.

Among those I spotted were Westlife, Louis Walsh and Brian Lynch, X-factor winner Shayne Ward, TV presenters Alan Hughes and Derek Mooney, Niall McCrudden, Karl Broderick, Lee Ryan and Simon Webb. Also there were Anna Lavery and Ann O'Connell, Liberty X, Irish boyband ZOO, Keith Duffy and Stephen Gately (who both presented the show) and band of the moment Son of Dork.

Westlife wives Georgina Aherne and Gillian Filan were looking fab, as was Lynda Magan of girl group Nikel & Dime. Sinead Ryan and Joanne Byrne were busy bees on the night, but were ably assisted by Gemma Kenny, the newest recruit to their PR firm.

George McMahon
was there with his stunning girlfriend Linsey Cowap, as was Denise McCormack, Brendan O'Connor, Tommy Gallagher, Elisabeth Fitzpatrick and Toni Wall.

Without a doubt the highlight of the evening was the heated debate / blazing row that Shane Filan and singer Rowetta had. In full view of all and sundry she screamed at him and security had to eventually intervene. Mad as a bag of cats, she then stormed back to her hotel as she was not allowed into the VIP area.

It was like being in a real life episode of Celebrity Death Match. Showbiz correspondent Paul Martin was on hand to witness the fracas, so read all about in tomorrow's Irish Daily Mirror.

I can see the headline now: "SHANE GETS IN A ROW-ETTA".

Bright Young Things

Yours truly with Triona "Party" McCarthy and Tommy Gallagher at the Jameson reception to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Ron Black's last night.

Happy Chinese New Year!

New Year party fever was extended last night as Jameson hosted a party to celebrate the Chinese New Year. A host of well-known faces gathered to toast the year of the Dog with specially mixed Jameson Oriental Express cocktails.

In the plush Ron Black's bar on Dawson Street the talk was of the upcoming Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, which launches on Wednesday evening and of people's plans for later. The Childline concert was in town and many of the guests were off to the after party in Lillies Bordello later (more anon).

Looking amazing last night was Triona "Party" McCarthy, who was with her sister Liz. Showbiz agents Brendan Scully and Sean Montague were also there, and informed me of their plans for future performers. The Crimmins Triplets are working hard and will launch their first single very soon - stay tuned!

Also in attendance last night were Tommy Gallagher, Cicen Wu and Amyyin Shang, Gina Kelly, Xiran Ding, Catherine O'Grady with Jane Murphy and Kieran Tobin from Irish Distillers, Susan Vasquez and the lovely Laura Dwyer.

So the year of the Dog ... I don't know about anyone else but I sure felt as rough as a dog this morning!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Walk the Red Carpet

Black was definitely the new black in Movies@Dundrum last night for the premiere of Walk the Line, the new movie that chronicles the life of the legendary singer Johnny Cash. He was also known as "The Man in Black" and in honour of this mysterious moniker the invite requested guests to wear black. Tom Ford would have loved it!

The gala benefit, which was in aid of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, was so well attended that the initial capacity of one screening theatre was extended to 3, such was the demand for tickets. After the movie scooped a few Golden Globes it is now the hottest flick on the screen and we were lucky to see it before the premiere in the UK.

Joaquin Phoenix and Reece Witherspoon are amazing as Johnny Cash and June Carter respectively. And they do all the singing themselves too! I received a copy of the Walk the Line soundtrack last night thanks to Sony BMG and it's been spinning on my system ever since. I predict a renewed interest in this type of music.

Among those gracing the red carpet last night were radio presenter Tony Fenton, socialite and philanthropist Norma Smurfit, her actress niece Victoria Smurfit, Eileen Murphy, Roisin Ingle and her sister Kate, the lovely Emma Crisp and her husband Jeremy and organiser extraordinaire Róisin Ní Mhórdha.

After the premiere I headed to Renards for a few with Eoin Higgins of The Dubliner. He's been running the show there lately as publisher Trevor White has been on an extended trip to China. An early night, therefore, was had by all.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A word please ...

Minister John O'Donoghue, TD, chats with broadcaster Tom McGurk at the IMMA 2006 Programme launch yesterday.

An art attack at IMMA

Members of the art world convened in the Masters Quarters at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham yesterday to hear details of the Irish Museum of Modern Art's 2006 programme. Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism John O'Donoghue, TD, was on hand to announce the particulars.

Large-scale exhibitions by such leading artists as Howard Hodgkin, Barry Flanagan and Michael Craig-Martin; a wide-ranging exhibition of Irish art from the 1970s, including works from the important PJ Carroll Collection, and a major symposium on access policies and programmes in contemporary art museums are all part of an exciting and diverse programme at IMMA.

Plans for the coming year, the 15th anniversary of IMMA’s foundation, also include a series of shows by prominent international artists, receiving their first solo exhibitions in Ireland; the first showing in this country of one of three film works by the acclaimed Irish artist James Coleman, acquired by the Museum in 2004, and an extension throughout the school year of IMMA’s primary school programme.

Commenting on the programme IMMA’s Director, Enrique Juncosa, said: “The second consecutive increase in our budget, and our collaboration with major foreign museums, has allowed us to develop an even more ambitious programme of exhibitions for 2006, which includes joint projects with both Tate Britain and Tate St Ives. In 2006, we are also going to use the magnificent grounds at IMMA in spectacular ways for the Barry Flanagan and Michael Craig-Martin shows."

Among those joining Minister O'Donoghue and Enrique Juncosa for the announcement and luncheon were IMMA Board members Eoin McGonigal SC, Valerie Connor and Frank Buckley, art critic Campbell Bruce, RTE broadcaster Tom McGurk, Mike Fitzpatrick of the Limerick City Gallery, Dr. Siun Hanrahan of DIT, Nancy Larchet and writer Bruce Arnold.

To mark the 90th birthday of the distinguished Irish artist Louis le Brocquy in November, a display of works from the artist’s own collection will be shown starting on 9 May and continuing into 2007. There will also be considerable public interest in the Magnum Ireland exhibition opening on 19 April, which presents some 140 photographs taken in Ireland since the 1950s.

For more info on the programme go to www.imma.ie

The men in suits

Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Mr John O'Donoghue, TD., centre, at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) with IMMA Director Enrique Juncosa, left, and IMMA Chairman Eoin McGonigal, S.C.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

It's a Pantomime

For most, the festive season ends when the brittle Christmas tree is flung onto the pile of fifty others at the recycling centre. For a select few though, the season continues for a number of weeks as the traditional Christmas panto performances run well into the month of January.

My personal fave has always been the Lyons Tea pantomime at the Liberty Hall, which this year sees Cinderella strut her stuff. The script has been adapted by Karl Broderick, who also penned Ireland's entry song in last year's Eurovision Song Contest, it has the right balance of humour for children and adults - think of those hilarious nuggets in The Simpsons that kids just don't get.

Simon Delaney, who played Michael in the hit sitcom Bachelors Walk, directs the panto (his hugely popular series Chain Reactions is currently on RTE) and the set has been designed by Dave Benson, responsible for the incredible Titanic, The Musical set at the West End. Among the stars of the show are TV3 presenter Alan Hughes, Linda Martin, Fair City actor David Mitchell, veteran stage actor Joe Conlon and singer Sinead Mulvey.

After a gruelling 6 week run the cast and crew will be taking a well-earned rest (Alan Hughes is heading off to the sunny climate of the Canary Islands, where he will be staying an extra week after filming a feature for Ireland AM). Two that will be spending more time together though are Prince Charming, played by 25-year-old Niall Sheehy, and 20 year-old dancer Anna Leigh. They met when rehearsals began back in November and have been an item since.

The show ends on the 28th (with the finale traditionally being attended by a host of well-known names) and tickets are pretty much sold out until then. You could always try your luck at www.centralticketbureau.com.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Brooks on film

The movie season is now in full swing. The Golden Globes are over and the BAFTA nominations have just been announced. Here in Ireland preparations for the 4th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival are nearing completion and the first announcements of the festival were made this week..

The uber-stylish Brooks Hotel hosted a soiree on Wednesday night to announce that they are the official hotel partner for the festival. The four-star designer boutique hotel is the only hotel in the city that has a state of the art private screening room, which will be the location for a number of press screenings during the festival.

Stephanie Hayes of Brooks Hotel is delighted with the partnership. She's a wonderful hostess so I just know that the festival club will be a hoot this year. Actually, it will probably be the only time she'll get to socialise in the place for the next few months, such are her hectic international travel plans.

This year's festival kicks off with the world premiere of the movie STUDS. Written and directed by Paul Mercier and produced by Cúan and Fiach MacConghail, it's a feel-good action comedy that follows the cup-run of an amayeur football team and the magical effects of a new mysterious manager. It boasts a top class Irish cast of Brendan Gleeson, David Wilmot and Eanna MacLiam.

Festival publicist Nick Costello was excited about this year's offerings and promises the best of Irish and international movies over the 10 days. We can expect premieres of Capote (which Philip Seymour Hoffman picked up a Golden Globe for), The Matador starring Pierse Brosnan and L'Enfant, which picked up the Palme D'Or at Cannes 2005.

I left the party post-haste as I had to attend a screening of Steven Spielberg's excellent new movie Munich, but on my way out I spotted Fergal Breen (sporting a new blonde top) and Joanne Kelly, Quentin Fottrell, Anne McKiernan of Brooks Hotel, model Veronica Moore, David McLoughlin of Screen Producers Ireland, Laura McNaughton and Deirdre Hopkins of the Irish Film and TV Awards.

Speaking of premieres, next week see the Irish premiere of the Golden Globe winning movie about Johnny Cash, WALK THE LINE, which takes place in Movies @ Dundrum on Thursday evening. In aid of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, the black tie gala screening will be preceded by a drinks and canapés reception. Tickets for the event are €75 and are from the DRCC at 70 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2 and by calling Annie or Colette on (01) 661 4911.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Beautiful People

Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers with Meena Hammer at the Golden Globe Awards.

+++ bits + pieces +++

- Congrats to Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers who scooped a Golden Globe Award for best actor in a mini-series or television movie for his work on "Elvis". The Cork native attended the 63rd annual awards ceremony in Beverley Hills with his girlfriend Reena Hammer. AP Photo

- TV star Caroline Morahan was the victim of a daring street crime at the weekend. The Off the Rails presenter had her mobile phone snatched out of her handbag as she was momentarily distracted. She alerted Gardaí who were nearby but the slippery thief got away with her brand-new pink Motorola RAZR phone. Girls, keep your friends close, but your Fendi closer.

- The Solomon Gallery in Powerscourt Townhouse hosted a champagne reception recently to launch the latest exhibition by artist Bob Ryan. Gallery director Suzanne Macdougald was busy placing red dots on the sold pieces, which seemed to be most of the works. Among those I spotted were glamorous socialite Mafra O'Reilly and Eamon Ryan TD.

- There'll soon be another reason to socialise on the Northside of Dublin if recent rumours are to be believed (never let the truth get in the way of a good rumour). Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes is set to open a new 200 seater restaurant, Rhodes D7, in the swanky new Capel Building on Capel Street.

- Speaking of rumours, last night saw Warner Bros host a special screening of Jennifer Aniston's latest movie Rumour Has It, which also stars Kevin Costner and Shirley MacLaine. A pleasant rom-com, I could almost see what poor Jennifer went through with her break up from Brad. MacLaine steals the show though - the old bird still has it!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Launching Serious Fun Day in aid of Barretstown yesterday were (l-r) TV3's Alan Hughes, Barretstown camper Catriona Clancy, Linda Martin of You're A Star and rugby international Gordon D'Arcy.

Rugby star Gordon D'Arcy and actor Mario Rosenstock clowning around at the Serious Fun Day launch.

Get ready for some Serious Fun!

I'm sure the refined residence of Dublin's Lord Mayor is a quiet place of a Sunday morning. Yesterday, however, the Mansion House was abuzz with children and entertainers for the launch of the first ever Serious Fun Day, in aid of Barretstown, the camp for children with serious illnesses.

A host of celebrities joined Lord Mayor Cllr. Catherine Byrne in welcoming young children whose lives have been affected by serious illnesses such as leukaemia, haemophilia and renal disorders, but who have been to Barretstown and benefited from it's facilities and general joie de vivre.

Among those enjoying some serious fun yesterday were TV3 presenter Alan Hughes, You're A Star judge Linda Martin and songwriter Karl Broderick, all of whom are involved in this year's best panto, Cinderella at the Liberty Hall theatre. In fact, they were donning their costumes after lunch for the matinee show.

Ireland rugby player Gordon D'Arcy was there too. But for his large frame, I nearly didn't recognise him disguised in comedy wig and moustache. Gift Grub star Mario Rosenstock was joined by the gorgeous Aoibhínn Ní Shúilleabháin, who is the reigning Rose of Tralee.

Serious Fun Day, which will take place on February 15th (which also happens to be International Childhood Cancer Day), is a fundraising initiative which Barretstown hopes will help them to raise funds towards their €4.5 million target for 2006. This money helps to bring over 1,500 children to the therapeutic camps at Barretstown free of charge. It also means that their parents and siblings can also attend family camps.

The message is clear for Serious Fun Day - raise funds to help more children with serious illnesses enjoy some Serious Fun at Barretstown (which was founded by Hollywood actor Paul Newman). People are being asked to hold coffee mornings, sponsored walks, silences … whatever they want!

Check out www.barretstown.org for more information.

Friday, January 13, 2006

We're not worthy

Bono and his beautiful wife Ali Hewson at the premiere in the Savoy. Maybe he thought he was going to see Brokeback Mountain?

Strike a pose

The gorgeous Victoria Smurfit attends the Breakfast on Pluto premiere. Isn't she glowing!

Boys night out

Blazing a trail in the style stakes at the Breakfast on Pluto premiere on Wednesday night were (l-r) writer Pat McCabe, actor Cillian Murphy and director Neil Jordan.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Breakfast on Pluto premiere

The first major social event of the year took place last night and was a well-attended and swish affair. The European premiere of Neil Jordan's latest movie, Breakfast on Pluto, was hosted in the Savoy and was a gala benefit in aid of UNICEF.

Many members of the cast were there including the leading man Cillian Murphy and Brendan Gleeson, Gavin Friday, Stephen Rea, Ruth Negga and Eva Birthistle. Writer Pat McCabe was also there, as was Neil Jordan. Bono and wife Ali Hewson were also in attendance, no doubt to support their good friends Jordan and Friday.

Set in the 1970s, Breakfast on Pluto follows the exploits of Patrick Braden, an endearing, witty, clever and deceptively tough young transvestite. Abandoned as a baby in his small Irish hometown, Patrick is aware from a very early age that he has been born into the wrong body. He survives this harsh environment with the aid of his wit and charm, plus a sweet refusal to let anyone and anything change who he is.

With a burning desire to find his mother and reconciliation, he moves to London, and a hilarious, memorable and emotional series of misadventures sees Patrick, or Kitten as he prefers to be called, finally finding the love and happiness he craves. With rave reviews, it's a much-anticipated flick, which is sure to entertain. Well, Cillian Murphy in drag? How could that fail to entertain!

At an invite-only €1,000 ticket after party in Lillies, VIP guests made a champagne toast to Murphy, who has just been nominated for a Golden Globe award for his performance in the movie. Liam Cunningham, Ralph Fiennes, Shane McGowan, Paul McGuinness, Caroline Desmond, Victoria Smurfit, Pat Kenny and writer Cathy Kelly were also there.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Well, 2006 has arrived, happy New Year to one and all. Sorry I'm late back, but with all the excess of the festive season I needed a bit longer to adjust to reality (too much brandy soaked pudding). I predict that it will be one of the best years ever for social events. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!

+++ bits + pieces +++

- Socialites Mark Kershaw and Lisa Harrison announced their engagement recently. The pair have been together just under a year, but have known each other for quiet some time. Mark, who setup the A1 Team Ireland formula racing team last year, popped the question to a delight Lisa and they will wed next year.

- TV presenter Caroline Morahan started off her new year with a trip to Italy. The gorgeous star has had a hectic few months with her show Off the Rails and the live show version in the RDS. After spending New Year's eve in Galway with friends she flew to Biarritz for some well deserved R'nR.

- The producers of The Brendan Courtney Show were left with red faces after a spoof set-up with Sinead O'Connor backfired. The singer was asked to take part in a blind date with an older man, but she was furious at the idea and refused to partake in the show. She ain't no dancin' monkey. RTE presenter Anna Nolan was rushed in as a last minute replacement guest on the TV3 show .

- Man about town Norman Pratt will have to curtail his socialising - he's landed a new job! The party loving blonde has joined top PR firm FCC Weber Shandwick and will specialise in the public affairs division.

Question of the week: Which publicist was a little worse for wear outside a Dublin nightclub at the weekend and insulted a prominent social diarist? Her loose lips did her no favours on the night, but her failure to apologise the following day was even worse.