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Monday 24 October 2016

The Edge: Amanda is ambassador for the high-style stakes

Published 04/05/2015 | 02:30

Glamour: Amanda Byram wants women visitors to the
Irish Derby to showcase their style. Photo: Ian West
Glamour: Amanda Byram wants women visitors to the Irish Derby to showcase their style. Photo: Ian West
Glitzy night: Michael Cullen, Suzanne Redmond, Dolores Delaney and Mark Redmond at the Beacon Ball
Fiona McGuirk, Nick Leund and Caroline Lee at the Inaugural Beacon Ball
Spanish trip: For Charlie Chawke (left) who was doing a recce of wedding venues for his daughter Jenny
Thumbs up: Una Foden at the party
Good news: Winner of The Voice Patrick O'Donoghue
Dancing beauty: Former Miss Ireland Aoife Walsh
Cake creations: Twink

Many are called but few are chosen. Amanda Byram is this year's Style Ambassador for the blingtastic Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. "I'm so thrilled to be this year's official Style Ambassador on such a landmark year," the international TV star from Castleknock told me, in reference this year being the 150th running of the Irish Derby.

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"I have been to many Derbies over the years but 2015 will be the big one! I'm encouraging all the ladies to put their best foot forward on Derby Day on Saturday, 27 June, and showcase their style."

Amanda will be staying in The Marker hotel on Grand Canal Dock and presumably will be bringing her mystery man boyfriend - they celebrated their first anniversary together recently - with her to Dublin.

I am, of course, delighted Amanda has finally found The One after apparent, and even mystifying, years in the relationship wilderness. So it will be great to see the loved-up Amanda help mark this milestone for the Irish Derby.

It will also be something of a milestone when all the stretch limos - and quite a few helicopters too - travel in the direction of The Curragh on the last weekend of June in the sort of chic cavalcade last seen during the boom.

The boom isn't back, but maybe the bad times are over, OK? I mean, 30,000 race-goers, dressed up to the nines, descending on The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby for some serious racing/people-watching has got to bode well, doesn't it?

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby is a second home for A-list celebrities, politicians and sports stars, both international and national. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Jerry Hall, Richard Gere and, yes, Bing Crosby have all been VIP guests at the Irish Derby down through the years.

The VIP marquee will be hosted by Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free and his stylish wife, Breeda. The style at The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby is legendary and will offer the ladies present on June 27 the chance to win a prize worth €20,000 for Best Dressed Lady, consisting of a holiday of a lifetime to Dubai, a weekend at The Marker Hotel and a Boodles necklace.

I think I'll drag up and go in for it myself.

I'll gladly say Dubai to my dignity for a 20 grand prize I can give to my wife.

They danced all night at hospital ball

Someone stop me before I turn into a ginger Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady. But I could actually have danced all night at Dublin's DoubleTree by Hilton hotel last weekend. Indeed so could many, if not all, of the other 700 or so  guests at the Beacon Hospital Inaugural Ball on the Saturday (it went on to 1.30am; some revellers continued the party afterwards in Buck's Townhouse). A great night for a great cause, the glam - and medics showboating on the dance floor -  was off the scale. Tatiana Ouliankina (ex of Fair City) pitched up in a dress by Chloe while Dolores Delaney (with husband, Michael Cullen, CEO of the Beacon) was in a designer outfit too. It was the ball of the year. 

"We were delighted with the interest in the ball and that tickets sold out well in advance of the night," Michael Cullen told me. "Thanks to the nearly 700 guests in attendance we helped raise funds for the newly established 'Beacon Hospital Patient & Research Trust'. A fabulous evening for attendees and the Trust," said Michael, adding, "we're looking forward to next year already!"

Those who will doubtless be already looking forward to next year's ball, and who attended on Saturday night, include: Dr Jennifer Westrup, Joint Medical Director, Beacon Hospital; Dr Rhona Mahony, Master of Holles Street; Lucy Gaffney, Communicorp Chair; hotelier Paul Fitzpatrick, and Brian Fitzgerald, Deputy CEO of Beacon Hospital - at whose table your diarist sat with Social & Personal publisher PJ Gibbons and his dashing boyfriend Richard Kavanagh.

Charlie in Marbs on wedding recce

One swallow does not a summer make. . .and one Irish celebrity in Marbella with his wife does not mean that Marbs is back as the place to go for the Irish beau monde.

Be that as it may, Charlie Chawke, my favourite publican - and yours - was with beautiful Bernice in Patrick's 19th Hole bar in Puerto Banus last Sunday night.

According to my Deep Throat in that part of the world, Charlie and Bernice were doing a recce of possible wedding venues for their gorgeous daughter Jenny and her fiance Rory Burgess, who got engaged on the first week in March, after going out for three years.

So now, it seems, that Ireland's most colourful publican Mr Chawke is possibly planning something special for them in sunny southern Spain.

One of Ireland's more colourful entertainers, Mr Pussy is also planning something special, albeit not in sunny southern Spain but in London in mid June. And before you ask, no - pussy-cat, pussy-cat is not going to London to visit The Queen.

He will meet another regal queen, his old mucker Paul O'Grady for Paul's 60th birthday at the Design Museum by the River Thames. The invite, intriguingly, says party starts at 7pm, police raid at midnight.

"I'm going over to commiserate with Paul on his 60th year," he laughed when I met him in the Shelbourne for tea last week. "I've known him for 30 years. We both started in the Vauxhall Tavern together. We shared a caravan on the set of In The Name Of The Father. He always throws a great party," Mr Pussy, aka Alan Amsby, told me, adding that at the last bash everybody from Barbara Windsor to Ian McKellen attended.

He will be going solo to the bash. Asked how is his love life, Mr Pussy positively purred: "Love? Ohh, I can't be doing with any of that nonsense!"


Hip 37 is right note for Voice party

My VBF Louis Walsh feels the show - not entirely inaccurately - is "verging on the karaoke". And  The Voice Of Ireland's end-of-series after-party last weekend in 37 was certainly verging on something. Possibly the feel-good, or perhaps the kitsch.

I'm not sure about the singing, but there was quite a bit of dancing at the Dawson St establishment.

All of which was chiefly because The Voice Of Ireland winner Patrick Donoghue celebrated his triumph in the country's biggest showbiz competition with friends and family last Sunday night with a hooley.

The one-time supermarket worker danced the night away with, among others, glamour-puss judges Una Foden and Rachel Stevens. This is to say nothing of the equally groovy dynamic duo, musicians Bressie and Kian Egan. Singer Ryan Sheridan was spotted in 37's Whiskey Bar at the back of the VIP venue.

The bash went on into the early hours as all the finalists from the series pitched up to help Patrick mark his good news

Rosanna and mother lunch for charity

If there is a theme to this week's column, perhaps it is this: that people are out enjoying themselves again, granted mostly for a good cause.

Although some people were just - perish the thought - enjoying themselves.

Take Miss Ireland 2013, Aoife Walsh, one of the most beautiful Miss Irelands ever. She was spotted dancing in Xico last weekend, accompanied by her beautiful gal pals. Some Leinster rugby players, among them Cian Healy and Marty Moore, were also in the new Mexican-themed hotspot on Lower Baggot Street, as was stunning Coronation Street actress Georgia May Foote. But back to people enjoying themselves for a good cause.

More than 250 guests attended the Annual Spinal Injuries Ireland (SII) spring lunch, sponsored by Windsor Motors, at the Marker hotel in Grand Canal Dock last weekend.

In an emerald green dress, Diane Davison, a Board Director of SII, was there with her daughter Rosanna, in a black outfit from Ivory Closet. The lady in black was also with her husband Wesley Quirke. New CEO of Spinal Injuries Ireland, Fiona Bolger, wearing a white dress, welcomed all the guests - who included TV3's Sybil Mulcahy and actress Orlaith Rafter. Oliver Callan was MC for the proceedings and duly raised cackles with impersonations of Enda and Joan. He also referred to Rosanna's husband Wes as her manservant. Not as bad as when, at the Student Media Awards two weeks ago, Oliver introduced Claire Byrne on stage as Miriam O'Callaghan's daughter.

Twink and The Game of Scones

Zip up your mortgage?  What commentators forget when they talk about Twink's financial troubles is that she is one of the country's true survivors.

And cake-makers.

The legend of the Irish entertainment world might be selling her house but she is also selling her delish cake creations in the market in Bushy Park, Terenure. Game of Scones, anyone?

Looking alluring in a cardy and a plunging neckline, Twink was at the opening night of The Field on Tuesday night, with her daughter Chloe (who was off to Prague the following day to sing).

Also at the opening night at The Gaiety were Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh, Aoibhinn McGinnity and John McColgan.

A great evening was had too by Keith Duffy and wife Lisa and their friends at House on Leeson Street after the VIP Style Awards last weekend at The Marker. Did everything happen in The Marker last week?

They were joined by Glenda Gilson and her husband Rob, Brent Pope, Gail Kaneswaran, Amanda Brunker, and Dave Murphy and his model girlfriend, Laura Scanlon. They arrived in the wee hours of Saturday morning and stayed until closing time.

On the following night, Caroline Morahan arrived into the same venue at 12.30 and stayed late bopping in the main bar with her friends. On the same night Munster demi-god Conor Murray was also in House with seven of his friends. It was a joint celebration for their friend's birthday and Conor's birthday (it was the rugby star's birthday a few days later.) Naturally, they had a birthday cake with some candles on it.

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