Bairbre Power... Out and about
Our resident diarist calls into the best parties and events around the country
Holidays, staycations and racing breaks were the topic of conversation everywhere I went this week.
Debbie O'Donnell, executive producer of Xposé, looked a million dollars in a strapless Victoria Beckham dress at the annual M&S barbecue, hosted by Carmel Breheny, at their sun-soaked rooftop cafe overlooking Grafton Street.
Carmel Breheny and Debbie O'Donnell
Debbie's striped tangerine and navy gúna was a total find - €200 at a recent designer rail sale, a fraction of its original price. Lucky Debbie, she's off to Bali with her husband, Johnny, and their two tousled-haired blond sons to holiday with her in-laws.
Meanwhile, leading fashion illustrator, David Downton, is still talking about the amazing welcome designer Louise Kennedy rolled out for him on his recent break in Ireland. David is Artist-in-Residence at Claridges in London, and he tells me he likes to stay, when possible, in room 425/426, a glorious suite designed by top interior designer, India Mahdavi.
David Downton and Louise Kennedy
There were a record 10 Irish winners at Royal Ascot. The Act Da Wagg syndicate is made up of four busy mums who each have a leg of Clondaw Warrior and they cheered it home in third place last Saturday.
It's an acronym of the four lucky lady horse owners made up by jockey Ruby Walsh with Aine Casey (manager of Burberry in Brown Thomas), communications consultant Tamso Doyle who runs Baroda Stud with her husband, David Cox, interior designer, Aisling Gannon and Ruby's wife, Gillian, busy mum of three.
Gillian Walsh, Aisling Gannon, Tamso Doyle and Aine Casey
"We have been incredibly lucky as this wonderful horse has taken us to the most amazing places, winning in Ascot and the Galway Festival last year and clocking up the air miles running in Paris, York and Doncaster," Tamso told me. Tamso is looking forward to the Irish Derby next week and told me "it's a race day I don't think I have ever missed and my late mum started hosting a party on Derby day when I was about six years old so it has always been a big day for me."
I will be joining Melanie Morris and Rachel Stevens (above) to judge Best Dressed at the Irish Derby. At the launch party, Rachel revealed how she studied fashion before she joined S Club 7 and became a pop singer. Look at what happened when Victoria Beckham did it in reverse! Surely it can only be a matter of time before The Voice judge enters the fashion label world. Watch this space…
Myrtle Allen, the sprightly dynamo who put Ballymaloe on the map, is a youthful 92 and she took her daughter, Fern, completely by surprise when they attended the 200th birthday celebrations of the Imperial Hotel in Cork City. The four-star Flynn family-owned hotel is where Myrtle, the matriarch of modern Irish cuisine, revealed that she and her husband, Ivan, got engaged - which Fern never knew before. I must say, the Imperial is looking good after its €1million facelift. Guests at the party included the Mayor of Cork, Cllr Chris O'Leary, Lady Mayoress Angela O'Leary, and the President of UCC, Dr Michael Murphy.