independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Mary shows that she has the write stuff at launch

On Tuesday night you could be forgiven for thinking that you had accidentally dropped in to an RTÉ party instead of the launch of Paper Tigers, Mary Kennedy's memoirs.

On Tuesday night you could be forgiven for thinking that you had accidentally dropped in to an RTÉ party instead of the launch of Paper Tigers, Mary Kennedy's memoirs.

Proving just how popular she is, on and off the screen, Mary, voted the most stylish woman in Ireland earlier in the year, was joined at the launch in the Merrion Hotel by her Open House co-presenter Marty Whelan and his gorgeous wife Maria. Now that Marty's hair is au naturel he looks totally different and quite distinguished.

Marian Finucane arrived with her bubbly producer Kate Shanahan, and newscaster Anne Cassin came with Eileen Dunne who was just back from a trip to Boston.

Muirne Laffan, Executive Director of RTÉ Publishing, arrived with Ray Walsh, the editor of the RTÉ Guide. Ray has recently become a father and it's certainly agreeing with him. Both were thrilled with the turnout as the magazine was sponsoring the party.

Celebrity gardener Dermot O'Neill arrived with RTÉ's celebrity chef Neven Maguire. They both also launched new books last week. Presenter and PR guru Bill O'Herlihy was in fine form as he chatted to friends and colleagues. Riverdance's John McColgan arrived with his son Justin and they were busy catching up on industry gossip with Bil Keating and Larry Masterson. The recently married Sheana Keane, presenter of The Health Squad and the fashion guru on Open House, looked positively radiant.

TV and radio personality Ronan Collins looked extremely fit and healthy. He is getting ready to travel to South Africa next week to head up a fundraising golf classic. Also there was Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly and Bill Hughes. Bill had celebrated his birthday last weekend and looked as if he was still recovering from the party!

Not surprisingly, An Tanaiste Mary Harney was called upon to launch the book as she and Mary Kennedy have been friends since their schooldays in Clondalkin. She was running a bit late due to unfolding events in Northern Ireland and apologised profusely upon her arrival. She regaled the crowd with anecdotes about herself and Mary's schooldays and revealed that she lived at home with her mother until she was in her 30s, which drew gasps of surprise.

The two women are clearly great fans of each other's work and the Tanaiste looked very happy to catch up with friends and neighbours from her childhood including her old headmistress. In the family corner, Mary's four children, Eva, Tom, Eoin and Lucy looked very proud of their mum as did Mary's aunts, Kathleen, Eilish and Phyllis.

Christmas has a silver lining At a time when so many indigenous Irish companies are downsizing, it's great to see what was once known as Newbridge Cutlery not only going from strength to strength but also forging ahead in the international style stakes. The company has a fascinating history. Newbridge MD William Doyle regaled me with tales at the company's Christmas Giftware launch in Kilkenny Design on Wednesday evening.

William is one of those restless souls who while launching one new range is already well on his way to the next one. And does it show? The wonderful array of silverware and jewellery has now been joined by a super cookware collection. Apart from being so well designed and reasonably priced, it is the quality and the imaginative and stylish packaging that makes everything such suitable gifts. His sister Oonagh also has a huge input into the company. They're already thinking ahead to next year and a few weeks after Christmas, at Showcase in the RDS, the Doyles will take the wraps off Christmas 2004 and new products that will launch through 2005.

Over a hundred guests sipped on the gorgeous cocktails while nibbling on mini Christmas puds. The Vard sisters Cathy, Lisa and Wendy, looked stunning as always. Miriam Ahern popped in to show her support to her old friends the Doyles. She regularly wears Newbridge jewellery and even wore a selection at daughter Georgina's wedding in France.

Current Miss Ireland Rosanna Davison, who is the new face of Newbridge Silverware, arrived with her mum Diane, the original Lady in Red. Rosanna will shortly jet off to China where she will take part in the Miss World. By all accounts, she seems to have a good chance of ending up, at least, in the final five in the competition. She spent a lot of time chatting to former Miss Ireland Andrea Roche, yet another gorgeous girl who wears a lot of Newbridge jewellery.

Dave Browne, lead singer of Picture House, was there celebrating his band's successful gig in Vicar Street the previous weekend. Rose of Tralee Orla Tobin put in her first public appearance since the announcement that she is to become a Unicef ambassador.

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