The Diary: Andrew's girl set for Tattersalls
What a line-up of equestrian talent they have for the big 10th anniversary of the annual Tattersalls International Horse Trials and Country Fair, May 27-31.
At least eight of the top 13 of the world's top riders will compete over the week, including World No 2 William Fox Pitt, as well as Ireland's best riders who will be hoping to catch the eye of selectors for the Rio Olympics next year.
Incoming stars include Andrew Lloyd Webber's 19-year-old daughter, the Hon Isabella Aurora who will be competing in the under-24s competition.
Bella, as she is known, knows lots of people from the horsey scene here. Her father, Baron Lloyd Webber (he was knighted in 1992) has brought his wife Madeleine and their three children, Bella, Alastair and William over to Kiltinan Castle in Fethard, Co Tipperary, which he bought in 1995 and is one of the oldest inhabited castles in Ireland.
Sir Mark Todd from New Zealand, who is regarded as the greatest ever eventer in the world, is also coming over to Tatts. A former Olympic Champion, Sir Mark is one of NZ's most revered sportsmen, rivalled only by a few of their All Black rugby team.
Meanwhile, Irish Olympians Camilla Speirs, Aoife Clarke, Mark Kyle, Joseph Murphy, Ciaran Glynn and Captain Geoff Curran from the Irish Army's Equitation School will all be competing along with Esib Power, whose brother is well-known jump jockey Robbie Power and father is Captain Con Power who represented Ireland in show jumping in the winning dream team in the Aga Khan in the RDS all those years ago with Eddie Macken.
This week I was invited down to the 200-acre estate in Co Meath to meet Roger Casey, CEO of Tattersall's and we had tea at the stunning country house. During the five-day event visitors can enjoy afternoon tea at the house or take to the picnic field with their champers and picnic baskets to watch the Irish and international riders compete. Also enjoying tea at Tatts was Rachel Clarke, the stunning fiancée of jockey Paul Carberry, who herself rides with the local Ward Union Hunt and Melanie Young, an International Event Rider from Maynooth.
Roger was telling me that they're expecting over 25,000 people to attend over the five days. "We'll have some of the Irish hopefuls for Rio 2016 and of course Olympic and world medallists competing, but this event is more than just the horses. We have a big shopping village with Dubarry, Kildare Village to name a few."
The Duchess' Irish school pals excel
Busy times for the Duchess of Cambridge who will no doubt be delighted to read of the successes of two talented Irish girls from her old alma mater, the exclusive Marlborough College school in Wiltshire.
Kate and Pippa Middleton, along with Samantha Cameron and Princess Eugenie of York, are all old Malburians and it's where Irish fashion designer Zoe Jordan (below), who has a knitwear pop-up in Brown Thomas in June, met sneaker queen Rose Rankin.
"We played lots of sports, I was her tennis partner and I remember Zoe always being the most stylish on the court," said Rose, whose debut range of sneakers named after Irish islands launched today.
Rose is home this the weekend for a family Christening at the historic Cappoquin House where her dad, David Keane, farms and her mum Julia makes Crinnaghtaun Apple Juice. Rose's grandfather, Sir Richard, who died aged 101 in 2010, was the sixth Baronet Keane and a diplomatic correspondent for Reuters.
Ireland's Eurovision golden era is back
Oh Vienna! It's two weeks until singing spectacular, the Eurovision Song Contest, hits the Austrian stage. Better have those glitter canons at the ready.
To whet our appetite and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ireland's participation in the competition, former RTÉ Head of Entertainment, David Blake Knox, launched his new book, Ireland and the Eurovision this week in the Spencer Hotel.
The book charts the backstage thrills and spills of the song contest and was launched by RTÉ's Marty Whelan - who was bristling with excitement at the prospect of heading over to Vienna.
"The Eurovision is completely daft," Marty said. "Just when you think you've seen it all - they bring out dancing pirates, or grannies or Jedward or milk maids churning - it's completely and utterly bonkers."
Morah, Lottie, Bonnie, and Babette Ryan and Mrs Brown's Boys star, Rory Cowan, discussed Johnny Logan's white suit while Louis Walsh chatted about returning Ireland to its 'Eurovision Golden Era'.
"We need to do ballads with a key change performed by a boy band," he said. Sounds strangely like Louis' protégés Hometown, don't you think?
There was plenty of talk about Linda Martin's bouffant, Shay Healy's song writing skills, Rock 'N Roll Kids and Michael Flatley's silken blouses.
"For me Riverdance is the ultimate Eurovision winner," former U2 manager Paul McGuinness said.
"It's pretty rare the interval act becomes the star of the show."
As if that wasn't enough Eurovision excitement, the following evening, Austrian Ambassador Thomas Nader Thorbjornsrud invited us all over to his Ailesbury Road digs to raise a glass for Ireland's entry Molly Sterling.
"I love the song contest," he said. "Ever since I saw Puppet on a String. I think they will have a fantastic time in Vienna."
TV host Angela Scanlon arrived wearing spectacular sparkling sequinned shoes.
Scanlon told me all about her upcoming Eurovision documentary while keeping an eye out for the Ferrero Rocher. "Where are they?" she asked.
Molly was soaking up the ambience.
"I am getting a little overwhelmed but will enjoy it once I'm there," she said.
"For me music is my therapy. Hopefully this is just the start."
All is fair in curry war for Tom and Colgan
I would have paid good money to see playwright Tom Murphy dump a plate of chicken korma over Michael Colgan's head at Colm Tóibín's 50th birthday bash.
The infamous incident occurred 10 years ago and is the stuff of Irish theatre legend.
"It's not entirely true," director of The Gate Michael Colgan told me this week. "He did smash a plate over my head but it wasn't full of curry. We work in the theatre where no one likes to waste food."
Thankfully, the two gents have let bygones be bygones and for the first time ever, Murphy's The Gigli Concert will hit The Gate later this month.
Actress Dawn Bradfield will take on the role of Mona - returning to the stage after a four-year hiatus.
"I have been working on my own productions," she said, referring to the birth of her two young children Dylan and Jamie. "I have been playing the part of mammy but being back on stage is thrilling."
Monster in the Poolbeg Towers
The candy striped Poolbeg Towers are as quintessentially Dublin as Burdocks fish 'n chips and Clearys' Clock. So no wonder model and artist Jessica Patterson, who featured in Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model, has been inspired to make a short movie about the picturesque towers.
"It's about a monster living inside them," she said. Jessica is one of several lucky artists to make the cut for Sky Academy Scholarship. Willowy dancer Liv O'Donoghue and Dan Colley of theatre troupe Collapsing Horse also got the nod.
"I think everyone remembers walking towards the chimneys during the height of summer and wondering what was inside," Jessica said.
Speaking of sunshine and lollipops, this week there were plenty of summer-themed bashes taking place. Nicky Logue, general manager of The Gibson Hotel invited us all to throw another shrimp on the barbie for the hotel's Chillin and Grillin' BBQ. Ruth Scott and Stephen Byrne caught up with Cathy O'Connor and blogger Leanne Woodfull.
Across town, celebrity make-up artist Vanesa Guallar demonstrated the must-have festival looks at Boots Summer Party.
Sharon's series with Dustin will be no turkey
The nation's favourite turkey, Dustin, is teaming up with comedienne Sharon Horgan (below) to work on a new comedy series.
At first, this might seem like an odd pairing but on closer inspection it makes a lot of sense. Horgan, the sister of former rugby star Shane, spent her formative childhood years living on a turkey farm, where she mastered the art of perfectly plucking poultry.
The aforementioned farm is based in the glorious county Meath - a place Dubliner Dustin has never set feather in.
In fact, Dustin highlighted this fact when he released 1996 single 'I've never been to Meath'.
The series is in the early stages of development but hopefully it will take flight soon enough.
Horgan seems to be going from success to success; her Channel 4 series Catastrophe got rave reviews and HBO have commissioned an entire season of her series Divorce starring Sarah Jessica Parker.