Sunday 24 September 2017

Ro and Jessica's Bordeaux hols

Jessica O'Gara will visit Ireland later this month with her husband Ronan to take part in the Corinthian Challenge horse race. Photo: Kip Carroll
Jessica O'Gara will visit Ireland later this month with her husband Ronan to take part in the Corinthian Challenge horse race. Photo: Kip Carroll
Edie Campbell
Romance ... Helen Goldin and Patrick Bergin. Picture Brian McEvoy
Pauric Sweeney has started new furniture business in Portugal
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

The French are revolting! At least they were from 1789 until 1799. The French are all absolutely lovely people now, of course, as Ronan O'Gara and his lovely wife Jessica, who are based in Paris, will happily attest.

The rugby guru and his family are currently holidaying in the south of Bordeaux. How do I know? Jessica's daddy, cool Dominic Daly, Cork's foremost auctioneer and raconteur, told me. Jessica, Ronan and their substantial brood (twins Rua and Molly, along with JJ, Zac and Max) will then travel back to Ireland on July 16.

Sporty type Jessica, who was dolled up to the nines with Ronan at Royal Ascot a fortnight ago, will take part in the Corinthian Challenge horse race at the Curragh to raise funds for Irish Injured Jockeys.

Doubtless Ronan will be roaring her on from the stands along with yours truly and the indefatigable Dom.

Another sporting God Rory McIlroy has his big-name Rory Foundation Pro-Am on Wednesday at Portstewart Golf Club, sponsored by Dubai Duty Free (which sponsored the Derby at the Curragh yesterday attended by the great and good in all their designer finery). Dubai Duty Free is also hosting a gargantuan Arabian nights party at the Galgorm Resort and Spa in Ballymena, in tepees specially constructed in the five-star hotel's garden.

Everyone from Cold Feet star James Nesbitt, actor Aidan Quinn (flying in from the US to play in the Pro-Am) and Fifty Shades of Grey star Jamie Dornan to TV presenter Vernon Kay are expected, as are, of course, Rory and his wife Erica Stoll.

The latter reminds me, for some reason, of that old Jack Benny joke about golf: "Give me golf clubs, fresh air and a beautiful partner - and you can keep the clubs and the fresh air."

Actor Patrick joins the 'Goldin circle' with Helen

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Romance ... Helen Goldin and Patrick Bergin. Picture Brian McEvoy
 

It's official. Patrick Bergin has joined the "Goldin circle". The charismatic Irish movie star (Sleeping with The Enemy, Patriot Games, Mountains of the Moon and more recently, TV3's Red Rock) is seeing the very beautiful Helen Goldin. They were spotted at Bagots Hutton on Ormond Quay last Saturday night. Patrick was clearly so happy with his Helen of Mitchelstown that he got up and sang. Doubtless he could see the mountains of the moon sparkling in her green eyes. Later that evening, Patrick and Helen (whose great-grandmother was Lady Catherine Louisa Moore Morgan) shared some plates in Red Bank on Duke Street. The ultra-glamorous and dynamic duo have been enjoying each other's company and having fun together now for over four months.

They were also at the recent CARI Summer Lunch - organised, as ever, with great aplomb by Helen's VBF Miriam Ahern - at the Shelbourne hotel. There have also been regular sightings of Helen and Patrick in the Sugar Club on Leeson Street and the aforesaid Red Bank restaurant.

"Helen has been on her own for almost 10 years since she lost her soulmate Paul," a friend of Helen's told me in reference to famous hypnotist Paul Goldin who passed away in 2008. "She is very social but no one has entered her life until Mr Bergin came along. It is romantic. Dating is something teenagers do. But they are definitely smitten with each other."

Hypnotised, even.

Aristos jet in for swish wedding at Strancally Castle

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Edie Campbell
 

Bring your spats, whatever about your secret stash of bootleg booze: The Gate Theatre is having an exclusive 1920s-style party/opening with a difference on July 12 in honour of its new production of F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Illicit liquor notwithstanding, there was plenty of vintage champagne as aristos and models jetted into Ireland last weekend for a chic wedding in the beautiful Strancally Castle, Co Waterford.

Guests, who enjoyed the wedding of Portia Alen-Buckley, included Otis Ferry (son of Roxy Music star Bryan Ferry), Lady Aliai Forte with her model daughters, Irene and Lydia (both friends of Prince William's), plus Chanel model and bridesmaid, Edie Campbell (pictured above).

Is the boom back?

Pauric raises a glass of Port to his new venture

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Pauric Sweeney has started new furniture business in Portugal
 

Pauric Sweeney is the patron saint of arm candy: everyone from Rihanna to Madonna to Victoria Beckham have worn his illustrious bags over the years. But he's been keeping me at arm's length of late. Or maybe he's just turned into the JD Salinger of Irish fashion?

Living in Knocknasillogue, Blackwater, Wexford, the international designer of some note, I suspected, had been plotting something. And now I can reveal what, precisely.

I hadn't seen him in almost a year, so when I met him last week the Donegal dandy told me that he is "refocusing" on his own world-famous brand and is adding, as he says, a new notch to the bedpost - "my first passion, furniture design..." Madonna and Rihanna et al can put in their orders now. Pauric has secured on old converted factory space in the docklands of Lisbon to begin developing his furniture and a new range of handbags. He is currently house-hunting in Porto, ''where leather tanning began. I recently heard so much about Porto and Lisbon," Pauric added.

"So I immediately jetted in to see what was happening there. A place full of wonderful opportunity, craft and creativity on the cusp of new renaissance which can merge with our continued work in Ireland.. I also had the chance to visit some shoe factories which are under consideration. Ireland was once the hub of shoe making. It would be a fine thing to see this craft re-emerge in our lands."

And if anyone can do it, Sweeney on his tod can.

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