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Monday 22 September 2014

Author Peter Cunningham movingly recalled one of his lasting memories of his late friend Maeve Binchy at the launch of her last work 'Sister Carravaggio' the other night.

Published 05/09/2014 | 02:30

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Author Peter Cunningham movingly recalled one of his lasting memories of his late friend Maeve Binchy at the launch of her last work 'Sister Carravaggio' the other night.

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One year, Maeve decided to organise a festive meal at the Shelbourne dog track for a group of 12 of her nearest and dearest pals. "It will be great fun," she said. "I'll arrange the whole thing."

A few days before the meal was due to take place, Peter rang Maeve to ask what time they were meeting.

"Holy Jesus, Mary and Joseph!" she said. "I completely forgot. Don't worry, I'll sort it."

Getting a table at the stadium in the 11th hour was no mean feat - the Celtic Tiger was in full roar and most places had been booked months in advance.

But Maeve nabbed the best spot in the room - right next to the finishing line.

Bemused, Peter asked how she managed to wangle it.

Maeve admitted it was a struggle. Having argued with the receptionist till she was blue in the face she reluctantly said: "'Listen, I don't normally do this, but I'm Maeve Binchy'."

"You could be Teresa of Calcutta," the receptionist said. "You're still not getting a table."

"So how did you end up with the best table in the joint?" Peter asked.

"I did the only thing I could do," she said. "I rang Bertie Ahern."

And old Mr Fixit, fixed it.

The Billie Barry Stage School is celebrating its 50th year in the wonderful world of showbiz. To mark the occasion, those adorable little mites at the school are doing what they do best - prancing and dancing about the Gaiety Theatre in new show 'GOLD'.

It combines the music of Beyonce, Jesse J and Stevie Wonder with scenes from 'Matilda', 'Shrek' and 'The Great Gatsby'.

"We're trying to merge the old with the new," Lorraine Barry said.

"There will be plenty of show-stopping numbers and more jazz hands than you can shake a stick at."

I wouldn't expect anything less.

Tanaiste Joan Burton was the guest of honour at an exhibition called Reminiscence by rising artist Leanne McDonagh (pictured) in the Origin Gallery.

Ms Burton seemed a little flustered, having come from the first autumnal Cabinet meeting.

"We had the first get-together and I think we have everything sorted," she told the crowd, who immediately burst into derisive laughter.

"Well, I hope we do," Joan added.

the Shelbourne Hotel boasts not one, not two, not three but four resident butlers - a traditional run-of-the-mill butler, a floral butler, a genealogy butler and, last but not least, a style butler.

"The style butler helps if someone loses their suitcases and need to get suited and booted as soon as possible," revealed Shelbourne general manager Stephen Hanley. "Fashion emergencies can often be the most traumatic."

mulcahy@independent.ie

Irish Independent

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