Bairbre Power: Out and about
Our resident diarist calls into the best parties and events around the country
The kingdom of Kerry hasn't seen the likes of a wedding like this in eons. Dr Don O'Neill, who dresses everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Carrie Underwood, tied the knot with his partner of 23 years, ballet dancer-turned- florist Pascal Guillermie in the ruins of Ballyheigue Castle last Saturday.
As social gatherings go, in my years of social diary writing, I can't remember attending a party or event with such a magical setting. We sat on rows of white chairs looking out to the ocean, the majestic sweep of the Kerry mountains stretching in front of us in a panoramic arch across to Castlegregory. The US visitors piped up that it beat Californian clifftop weddings hands down.
The grooms arrived on foot, holding heart-shaped balloons they released into the wind. The fuchsia theme, which popped up on our invitations and table setting, was in memory of Don's late mum, Mim, and it was embroidered with Celtic scrolls on to the grooms' suits and cufflinks. Note to self: do NOT wear mascara to a wedding. We laughed and cried, and there was lots of dabbing of eyes on my row as I sat beside Gráinne Seoige - who herself has a wedding to plan - and her sister Síle, pictured here with grooms Don and Pascal.
After the vows were exchanged in French and English, guests danced the night away at a seriously snazzy marquee at Ballyheigue golf club. The biggest pic of the night was undoubtedly Don with all the female guests, who attended wearing his Theia dresses. They included Síle Seoige and ace hotelier Marie Chawke, singer Mary Black (whose daughter, Aoife Scott, brought the house down with her rendition of All Along the Atlantic Way) and RTÉ's Mary Kennedy. The next day, we walked the expansive beach to the Black Rock at Banna and celebrated Don's 50th birthday with a BBQ at Flahives Bar.
Headed down to Co Carlow for the Borris House Festival of Writing and Ideas, which was packed with celebrity faces including gravel-toned broadcaster and journalist Mariella Frostrup, below, who loves Ireland and went to school in Bray, Co Wicklow.
Novelist Martin Amis, whose first novel The Rachel Papers won the Somerset Maugham Award, attended as did former U2 manager Paul McGuinness. Hennessy partnered with the festival for the first time, and their stage in The Granary played host to actor Simon Callow.
Guests includes photojournalist Don McCullin, above, famous for his striking war images. Beatles fans will know his work, which features on the gatefold sleeves on their Red and Blue compilation albums.
Enjoyed a celebratory afternoon tea with Louise Duffy at Galway’s five-star g hotel, the new sponsors of Ladies Day ‘Best Dressed’ and ‘Best Hat’ at the Ballybrit racecourse on July 28. The TODAY FM broadcaster from Mayo is, I can reveal, the celebrity judge this year
Pssst! They’re still talking about Annie Leibovitz’s ‘Wild Irish Rose’ shoot for ‘Vanity Fair’ and Kerry locals were thrilled to see the ace photographer back in their midst last week, this time on assignment with ‘Star Wars’