Bairbre Power... Out and about
Our resident diarist calls into the best parties and events around the country
Diarmuid Gavin always seems to bring the good weather with him and that was certainly the case when he opened his Garden of Pure Imagination in the Pembroke district of Dundrum Town Centre. The eye-opening garden will be open to the public during the summer and is free of charge. Suitable for all ages, it's handy to access, just opposite the entrance to the Harvey Nicks menswear department.
"It's always a delight to bring a garden from Ireland to the Chelsea Flower Show but it's a rare treat to bring one back home," said Diarmuid, who oversaw the arrival of the 19 tonnes of steel, motors, cogs, crank shafts and wheels that make up the magical display.
Launch night was buzzy and full of friendly faces including Don Nugent, Dundrum Town Centre director, and his wife, Sandra. I spoke with Diarmuid and Fiona Campbell-Roberts, head of marketing for Hammerson, the centre's new owners (pictured above).
There were celebrations at NCAD after Shelly Corkery, fashion director of Brown Thomas, announced the Designer to Watch bursary prize. (4) Shelly (below, right) presented a €3,000 prize to Laoise Carey, who was chosen for her collection, Eidolon.
Speaking of winners, the excitement was building nicely as I drove into Ashford Castle, Co Mayo, where The Lodge, along with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, was giving one lucky couple a wedding gift to treasure forever - a fantastic luxury eight-day, all-inclusive river cruise worth €10,000. Happy couple Shane Regan and Nora Garvey, below, who met in Dublin and are both from Co Roscommon, were declared winners at a Champagne reception to launch the new wedding brochure at The Lodge.
Sean Dermot Fintan O'Leary Jr, aka Dermot O'Leary of X Factor fame, is launching a 24-hour men's grooming range for M&S. It launches here on Thursday June 8... just in time for Father's Day, which falls - mark those diaries now - on June 18.
Now, that was easy work - raising a glass at the launch of Slane Irish Whiskey on home shores. I chatted with Alex Conyngham, co-founder of the brand, and his wife, Carina (pictured). The couple have three children and Carina runs the glamping ecotourism business Rock Farm Slane. Alex - who is the eldest son of Lord Henry Mountcharles, eighth Marquess Conyngham - has certainly been busy and the family's new venture, a-triple distilled whiskey, uses barley grown by Alex in the fields of the Slane Castle estate, which has been in the family since 1703. Brown-Forman and the Conynghams partnered to create Slane Irish Whiskey and their state-of-the-art distillery opens to the public this summer. We'll drink to that!