The Summer vibe is well and truly in the air. The proverbial ‘stretch’ is in the evenings and cocktail hour is al fresco (weather permitting, natch). It’s safe to venture out sans coat these days (better bring a brolly though, just in case) and don those oversize dark sunglasses.
One favourite pastime of mine during this social season is horse racing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not down track side talking about the ‘going being good to soft’ or trying to figure out my exacta strategy. No, I’ll be wining and dining (or whining and dining if I’ve lost a few quid) in the corporate hospitality area watching all the action from within. It’s the style and fashion, gossip and laughs from the racing set that interests me and this year is set to be a bumper racing season.
Horse Racing Ireland recently launched the season at a party in the ICE Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel, where it was also announced that TV presenter Kathryn Thomas is to be the fashion ambassador this year, taking over from Caroline Morahan. In fact, this coming Sunday (27th) sees the Boylesports Irish Guineas festival at The Curragh, with mega prizes up for grabs for the best dressed lady, so girls get those hats out!
Another date for your diary is the White Tie and Diamonds Ball which takes place at the Finca de Concepcion in Marbella on July 7th. A truly glamorous affair, it is in aid of the charity Water Angels, which was set up a few years ago by Mark and Lynn Quinlan to raise awareness about water safety. Rebecca Jane Higgins, Gerald Kean, Lisa Murphy and Aysha Campion – Awwad are some of those who will be there. Gabriel Byrne, who is a patron of the charity, is also on the guest list. Checkout http://www.waterangels.org/ for more info.
One of my favourite artists, Chara Nagle (aka CN), hosted her first major solo exhibition recently in the beautiful surrounds of No.15 St. Stephens Green. Chara, who paints huge, vivid pieces, was delighted with the event which attracted a huge number of her fans, among them Debbie O’Donnell and Sinead Desmond (who is the subject of one of Chara’s dramatic pieces). Keep an eye out for her work and buy it now, because a piece by Chara will be worth a fortune in years to come.
Talking of pieces, the number of hair pieces used at last weeks L’Oreal Colour Trophy Awards must surely be a world record. Dubbed the ‘Hair Oscars’, this event just gets bigger and better every year and is a firm fixture in the social calendar, taking over the O’Reilly Hall in UCD.
Some of the guests included Pamela Flood (who did a tremendous job as Emcee), Melanie Morris and Lisa Maher of Image, model Catriona Mannion, Gavin Lambe – Murphy, Triona McCarthy and radio presenter Adrienne O’Hora. It seemed like House of Colour swept the board this year but in the end Toni & Guy took the top prize and we all celebrated at the after party in Lillies till the next morning (where the hair styles didn’t fare as well).
I took a trip out to Portmarnock recently (who knew it was so far away?) to attend the gala dinner hosted by Brian McFadden and John Aldridge after their Celebrity Am Golf tournament. In aid of the Temple Street Childrens University Hospital, a number of well-known faces took to the golf course, including Ronan Keating and his wife Yvonne (who is just learning to play golf but was well able to keep up with the rest/best of them).
Halina Ashdown - Sheils of Advanced Cosmetic Surgery hosted a table with daughter Debbie, the gorgeous Delta Goodrem, PR supremo Joanne Byrne, Brendan O’Carroll and Phil Neal were among those there. The after dinner auction raised tens of thousands for Temple Street (with the aforementioned Ashdowne - Sheils girls generously dipping into their purses) and we were even entertained with an impromptu duet from Ronan and Brian.
Par for the course at a celebrity do I guess.