Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Getting quiet on the Social Front

It being the height of the summer season, the social scene is fairly quiet at the moment as people to and fro from holiday destinations. Rosanna Davison is just back from Las Vegas while Astrid Brennan is off there next week and Avila Lipsett is back from St. Tropez while Cindy Cafolla and co. are there this week. The Galway Races will occupy the masses for the next few days, while the Dublin Horse Show will be hosted in the RDS the following week. Thankfully though there are still a select few parties happening about town.

The top floor of Fallon and Byrne was bedecked in rousing red and teeming with women (stop me before I sound like a Jackie Collins novel) on Thursday night as the Slimfast "Love Your Shape" party was hosted to celebratethe launch of the new curvy Slimfast bottle. Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘why was Wayne there, he’s hardly a candidate for Slimfast?’, and you’d be right, I’m not.

But in the name of research (and pink champagne) I was ummoned by party planner Gemma Kenny to have a look at some of the latest designs on show from one of Ireland’s premier couturiers Synan O’Mahony. He’ll be one of the judges at the Evian Best Dressed Ladies Day at the aforementioned RDS next week, and having dressed the likes of Jasmine Guinness, Yvonne Keating and Georgina Ahern, he knows what makes a stylish lady.

Channel 6 beauty Jenny Buckley was the emcee for the evening and with everything from stylists, milliners, hair & make up experts, caricaturist and even professional bra fittings (I’ll leave that one to you imagination) the Slimfast guests left with a firm grasp of how to dress their curves and love their shapes.

Details of one of the final social events of the Summer 2007 calendar were announced on Friday evening at the United St. Stephens Green Club, with thelaunch of the Inchydoney Island Ladies Polo Tournament, in aid of the BubbleGum Club. In its eighth year, the glamorous event attracts the top Irish, UK, American and Argentinean players to challenge for the Inchydoney IslandCup in the picturesque setting of Polo Wicklow at Ballyhenry in Co. Wicklow.

Ireland's Siobhan Herbst and Derval Hoey, who have just returned from theUSA where they were representing Ireland and taking on Yale University andRhode Island were there and will be taking part in the tournament this year. Joining them to play will be Nina and Tamara Vestey, two of the top female polo players in the world.

Guests enjoyed a champagne reception in the newly opened courtyard of the private members club, among them Ruth McCarthy from Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, Nadine Wai-O'Flynn, Emily O'Donnell, Ann Smurfit, Lisa Fitzpatrick, designer Deborah Veale and TV presenter Sinead Desmond. TV producer Debbie O’Donnell was also there with her boyfriend Johnnie Carroll and was thrilled to announce that they’re expecting their first child soon.

Ladies Day and the Final matches commence at 12 noon on Sunday 19th August with a Champagne Reception to the sounds of The Dublin Hot Club Jazz Band. As the polo takes place, the 250 guests will enjoy a sumptuous summer lunch. I’m not sure if tickets are still available but you can check out http://www.bubblegumclub.ie/.

All funds raised from the event will go to the Bubble Gum Club, which was set up in 1994 to look after children with life threatening illnesses and children in crisis. Since it's inception 12 years ago, the Bubble Gum Club has looked after over 15,000 children. According to these children's consultants, the trips and events organised by the Bubble Gum Club can add months and even years to the children's lives as it gives them something special to look forward to and reminisce about.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Love Your Shape

Pictured at the Slimfast Love Your Shape evening were: 1. Jenny Buckley from Channel 6 and Couturier Synan O'Mahony; 2. Sinead Sanderson; 3. Sinéad Kavanagh & Shauna Penney; 4. Muireann McCormack; 5. Diane Henderson & Fionnuala Diffen.

Slimfast Fashion

At the Slimfast 'Love your Shape' evening were: 1. Niamh Griffin & Jennifer Good; 2. Former Miss Ireland Sarah Morrissey & Ruth Griffin in creations by Synan O'Mahony; 3. Mary Brown, winner of a Synan O'Mahony dress with Slimfast boy Peter.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Refresh with Coors Light

Coors Light recently hosted a party in a warehouse with the theme of Refresh, which included graffiti artists, DJs and dancers. Looking suitably refreshed were: 1. Aisling O'Brien, Will St. Leger & Ciara Whyte; 2. Emma Cavanagh & Emily O'Callaghan; 3. Rebecca Crotty & Deirdre Poole; 4. Carol Fagan & Jason Kelly; 4. Caoimhe St. John & Deirdre Brosnan.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Special Olympics Gala

Pictured at the recent gala ball in aid of Special Olympics Ireland, hosted in the new Hilton Hotel Limerick and gererously sponsored by LALCO, were: 1. Helen & Patrick McCarthy; 2. Aine Mulcahy & Nicola O'Callaghan; 3. Una Holiday, Sinead Cobbe & Donna O'Connor; 4. Shane Daly & Mary Morris.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Evian Ladies Day launch

Some of the guests at the launch party for Evian Ladies Day (which takes place on August 9th at the RDS) were: 1. FMI Aoife Cogan, newly crowned Miss Ireland Blathnaid McKenna & FMI Sarah Morrissey; 2. Kerry O'Sullivan & Carolyn Odgers; 3. Judges couturier Synan O'Mahony & TV presenter Pamela Flood; 4. Astrid Brennan & Tamso Doyle; 5. Lucy Kennedy.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Highs and Lows of Society

There have been many trials and tribulations involving the rich and famous lately. Ubiquitous socialite Paris Hilton, music producer Phil Spector and former head of BP Lord Browne to name a few. The troubles incurred by these well known people provide media fodder for the entertainment hungry masses, despite their situations being far from entertaining. There’s something compelling about ‘those more fortunate’ having a hard time (makes a difference from hearing about ‘those less fortunate’ I guess).

One trial that I‘ve been following closely though is that of Conrad Black, or Lord Black of Crossharbour to give him his full title. He is the former head of media empire Hollinger International, which published newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph in the UK and the Chicago Sun-Times in America. Conrad Black was accused of siphoning off millions and millions of dollars from Hollinger, through various corporate means, of which I won’t bore you here – details of the trial are widely available on the net.

Apart from the corporate payments that were said to have been unauthorised, it was the lavish lifestyle that Conrad and his wife, Barbara Amiel (aka Lady Black), lead that drew attention to the issue of mismanagement of funds. It was claimed that Hollinger cash was used for their personal entertaining, including a birthday bash for her, which was hosted at La Grenouille, a top restaurant in New York.

The party, for 80 of their close friends, cost over $60,000. However, it was the payment of just $20,000 out of the Black’s pockets, with the remainder being picked up by Hollinger, that drew suspicion. I met Barbara Amiel once at a cocktail party in London sometime ago and it was easy to see that she was used to the finer things in life. A stunningly elegant woman, she had an air of superiority about her, even though she couldn’t have been a nicer person.

Black has always claimed his innocence (in terms of the birthday bash, he said there were Hollinger clients present and therefore the balance could be put down as a business expense), and vowed to hit his detractors with lawsuits upon his acquittal. I, for one, thought him innocent too. Having followed the trial over the last number of months I decided that he had done no wrong; acted recklessly with the company credit card maybe, but not conducted any illegal activity.

Anyway, I was on holiday in Monaco last week when I read that Lord Black of Crossharbour was found guilty and convicted of three charges of fraud and one of obstructing the course of justice. I was genuinely shocked and surprised. The Blacks were fond of the French Riveria and I thought ‘it might be a while before he experiences this again!’. As I write he is awaiting sentencing but will appeal, natch. Conrad Black is down but not out.

Another piece of bad news I read while I was away was the death of Nigel Dempster, the renowned British gossip columnist and social diarist. He wrote for the Daily Mail for over 17 years and is credited with moulding the then staid ‘diary’ section of the paper into what we have today – the entertainment, social interaction and celebrity gossip that fuels the media.

Throughout his career he broke major stories, such as the resignation of Harold Wilson as Prime Minister and the news of Prince Andrew's engagement to Sarah Ferguson. On one occasion, at an event in Phoenix Park in Dublin, he was confronted by an aristocrat after he had reported that the man was known to friends as "Handbag". Such was Dempster’s predilection for mischief that no story, no matter how tall, could not be believed. A close friend of the late Princess Margaret, he too was familiar with places such as Cannes and St. Tropez, but, alas, no more.

Enough of these negative tidings though. One party I attended just before I left was the launch of the Evian Ladies Day, and it would have been hard to choose an odds-on favourite from the glamour on display that night.

Guests included Evian Ladies Day Judges Pamela Flood and couturier Synan O'Mahony, Lucy Kennedy (sans Podge and Rodge), TV3's Karen Koster, Virginia Macari, fashionista Maria Fusco, Rachel Wyse, and TamsoDoyle. Evian's own Kerry O'Sullivan managed to look very calm despitehaving another big day looming; her wedding in September.

Guests were treated to a choice of champagne, Kir Royale or, of course, Evian at what was a very pink affair. A fashion parade showcased the latest high style looks with recently crowned Miss Ireland Blathnaid McKenna in one of her first major public appearances. There’s a top prize worth €10,000 up for grabs at the event in the RDS on the 9th of August.

OK, so €10k won’t get you a lifestyle like Lord and Lady Black, nor open doors to the society world favoured by Nigel Dempster, but hey, it’s a start.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Water Angels

At the Water Angels Ball in Marbella were: 1. Valerie Roe; 2. Marc and Lynn Quinlan (Founders of Water Angels); 3. Kate Moran and Karen Mc Evoy; 4. Lisa Murphy.

Water Angels

Enjoying the recent Water Angels Ball at Finca La Conceptionin in Marbella were: 1. Bernard and Theresa Rocca; 2. TV3's Alan Hughes and Aisling O' Loughlin; 3. Water Angels Ball Committee; 4. Annette Rocca.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Kildare Voice

At the launch party for the new Kildare Voice paper were: Gillian Quinn and Killian O'Sullivan; 2. Brenda Donohoe and Gerry Ryan; 3. Pippa O'Connor, Glenda Gilson, Samantha Mumba, Katy French and Andrea Roche; Glenda Gilson and Ronan Ryan.

Raise your Voice

Despite the not so summery weather prevailing throughout the country this week, it did not stop our much loved party people getting out and about for what was a busy week in terms of the social calendar. Last Thursday, Kildare was the place to be for the launch of the latest Kildare paper to hit the stands, the Kildare Voice and Naas Voice.

Over 500 people attended the big bash in the Osprey Hotel, Naas, to celebrate the launch with well known faces from the world’s of sports, music, media and fashion among those in attendance. Greeted by fire eaters, stilt walkers and a range of entertainment, guests enjoyed a champagne reception before MC for the evening Gerry Ryan got proceedings underway. Celebrations went on well into the night with entertainment from renowned pianist and singer Paul Harrington. Among those in attendance were Kildare Voice contributors Tracey Piggot, Valerie Roe and Gillian Quinn as well as Irish rugby stars Denis Hickie and Shane Horgan and GAA’s John Doyle.

Valerie, who many of you will know from her time at the helm of Lillies Bordello, will pen the social diary for the K4 set (K4 being the Kildare version of Dublin's D4). Still no official word on where she will open her new nightclub, which is rumoured to be in association with Ronan Ryan of Town Bar & Grill. A few places mentioned include a location on Barrow Street (too far from town I think) and the old Georges Bistro on Baggot St. (although I've noticed no work being carried out there). Another possibility is the former McGrattans pub, also on Baggot Street. Extensive refurbishment has been undertaken on the upper floors lately (with a ubiquitous convenience store just opened on the ground store). All will soon be revealed , no doubt.

Among the other guests were Irish footballing legend Niall Quinn, who was joined by Renault Ireland Chairman (soon to be former) Bill Cullen and his partner Jackie Lavin. Raising the fashion stakes at the event were chart topper Samantha Mumba, Oona Doyle of Newbridge Silverware and Bubble Hits presenter Glenda Gilson with fellow top Irish models Andrea Roche and Katy French.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Dressing Up for Summer

Hellmann's hosted a party in Fallon & Byrne recently to launch the Dressing Up for Summer promotion with guests including: 1. Alan Byrne & Samantha Mumba; 2. Sybil Mulcahy; 3. Adam Booth & Susan McFadden; 4. Keith Barry & his wife Mairead; 5. Roisin Ni Mhorda & Andrew Rudd.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Lording it Up

At the gala opening of Clontarf Castle were: 1. Amanda Houlihan and friend; 2. Claire Louise & Shane O' Donoghue; 3. Maeve O'Higgins & Dee Kavanagh; 4. Yolanda O' Meara & Marcia O' Connor; 5. Louise Kennedy & Enda O' Meara.

En force; En masse!

There have been a host of well attended bashes across the city recently, with many of the guests making last minute connections before they fly off to the various parts of the world for summer holidays. Almost every party this week was packed to capacity with the general buzz of vacation plans thick in the air.

One man who’ll be looking forward to a break is An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, who has had a busy time of it lately. With Dáil Eirean in recess later this month I’m sure he’ll still be in demand, but hey, no rest for the wicked I guess. He was doing the honours at the recent gala opening of the newly refurbished Clontarf Castle, where the guests included designer Louise Kennedy, photographer Richie Stokes and his stunning girlfriend Abbey Smith and RTE’s Joe Duffy.

The 12th century hotel has been given a 21st century makeover with the completion of a €10million stylish interior renovation. Situated in Dublin’s leafy north side suburbs, Clontarf Castle which is steeped in history has maintained its original structure, while incorporating an internal modern design scheme.

On arrival, guests enter the new atrium style lobby which is the finest example of the merging of modern design with the Castle’s original features. The Castle’s bedrooms have been luxuriously updated with junior, superior and even Grand Presidential Suites designed by Belfast-based interior design team, Red Sky Design. Meanwhile The Indigo Lounge is an uber-chic bar that will rival the city’s top night spots, lavishly decorated with rich colour, oversized sofas and chandeliers. There’s no excuse for not being King of the (Clontarf) Castle now.

Giving the girls a good excuse to show off their tanned, and no doubt toned, legs was the annual Social & Personal Summer Party, which was hosted by publisher PJ Gibbons in Howl at the Moon. The event also saw the announcement of the magazines Top 100 Sexy Legs list, a coveted list to be on and even better as it was in association with Nivea.

Enjoying the party and the cool cocktails, organised by S&P events supremo Richard Kavanagh, were Lorraine Keane, Glenda Gilson, Paolo and Ivano Cafolla, actor Liam Cunningham and Aishling O’Loughlin.

The top 5 positions, or the 10 sexiest legs if you will, belong to (in no particular order) former Miss World Rosanna Davison, socialite Cindy Cafolla, TV presenter Pamela Flood, TV news anchor Colette Fitzpatrick and singer Andrea Corr. There are 95 more recipients but I don’t have time to list all so you’ll just have to get your hands on the July issue of Social & Personal to find out.

For many years Cocoon, on Hibernian Way, occupied the top spot when it came to stylish and hip bars. And indeed it was top of the heap. But there comes a time when people get bored and the fickle trend setters move on to the next big thing. I’m not saying that happened to Cocoon, but it certainly lost cache over time and began to look a bit shabby around the edges.

Well, fear not darling readers, Cocoon has had a face lift and owner Eddie Irvine hosted a bash recently to celebrate the re-opening. The party was rather ostentatiously entitled “One Enchanted Evening with Eddie Irvine” and yes, that should have been enough to keep me away but I guess curiosity got the better of me.

Poor Eddie must have been very enchanted as I didn’t see him all night, but that may have been due to the capacity crowd who turned up for the festivities (maybe we were all curious). Among the crowd were Gordon Darcy, Channel 6 presenters Michelle Doherty and Jenny Buckley, The Blizzards, TV3’s Karen Koster, Paul Byrom, Laura Haughey, Astrid Brennan and Geraldine Mahony, who was looking forward to a bumber weekend of racing at the Budweiser Irish Derby at the Curragh. Irvine’s former business partner John Foley was a surprise guest, a sign perhaps that all is forgiven between the two after their recent court battles.

Anyhoo, the bar looks well, but don’t expect major changes, we’re talking cosmetic here. In the way that Halina Ashdown – Sheils can make you look subtly younger or thinner, you might not think Cocoon has had a makeover but you’ll notice something different. Society fave Avila Lipsett has been brought on board to revive the clientele and will be in situ Friday and Saturday nights.

Oh, and the place has recently been voted by Condé Nast as one of the top Hot Spots in Dublin. Back on top baby!