Bairbre Power: Out and about
Our resident diarist calls into the best parties and events around the country
'If he's good enough for David Beckham, then he's good enough for me." Fighting words from Vogue Williams, who explained to me how she was treated by the same surgeon as the footballer after she ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in a fall during Channel 4's The Jump. We were sitting in the organisers' office at Punchestown racecourse on Ladies' Day, the fourth day of their annual April festival.
Vogue - pictured here with our fellow judges in the Bollinger Best Dressed competition, Heather de Bromhead, wife of top National Hunt trainer Henry de Bromhead, and Bastien Mariani, representative of Bollinger Champagne - was quick as lightning getting in out of her Penneys heels, which were strictly for the photographs. The rest of the time, she relaxed in fur-lined mules from River Island, which matched her Needle & Thread embroidered dress and Anthony Peto bow hat.
It was amusing to see how many of the hardcore snappers all stepped forward asking Vogue to do individual shots with them - a real sign of how popular the Howth lass is with the photographic community. She gave them lots of time and also had all the time in the world for young girls looking for selfies - even though, back at home in Howth, her boyfriend had just arrived for the weekend. In case you didn't know, her new love is Spencer Matthews, of Made in Chelsea fame - and best man at the most keenly anticipated wedding in the UK this summer: Pippa Middleton's.
"I'm here racing with a friend and we're going back to Howth for dinner and to have a chilled one," explained Vogue, "because tomorrow I'm minding my niece, Jeanie, who is 14 months old. I've got her for two days." So, does looking after her niece put 'the want' on her?
"It does, you know what, she's so cute. After the two days, I will be absolutely wrecked. I do love minding her but, right now, I'm quite happy where I am. I'm not ready for children just yet. I definitely do see them in the future. Don't worry, I'm not rushing."
Vogue confirmed that herself and Spencer will share a few days in Ibiza this month with colleagues from The Jump, including former English rugby hero Jason Robinson. Vogue's also filming on the Spanish island for the RTÉ series Getaways. Not content with that, she starts work on her own RTÉ series in July, will be DJing for Virginia Macari in Spain, and her new book launches in October. "It's written, all done, and now I'm just deciding between two cover options," she reveals.
When Vogue shows me the two options, we both plump for the same image... a bit like our shared style taste in the Bollinger Best Dressed competition, really. The overall winner was Ann-Marie Phelan, wearing orange, pictured with finalists Sophie Edghill (left) and Charlene Brosnan.
The Gentle Giant of Irish and Leinster rugby, Mike Ross, is hanging up his boots from the game. And after an emotional afternoon on the turf at the RDS last weekend - where he ran on for the Guinness PRO12 match against Glasgow Warriors accompanied by his young son, Kevin, in matching headgear - it was a quick turnaround. The Corkman pulled on his tux and went dancing with his wife, Kimberlee, at the Leinster Rugby Awards Ball that night. Titian-haired Kimberlee looked fabulous in a black cross-over dress from Kara Maher's Frock 'N' Fabulous on Exchequer Street, Dublin.
Leinster manager Leo Cullen and his wife, Dairine Kennedy, also cut a dash, and mum-of-two Dairine turned heads in her strapless gown in eye-popping pink.
Coffee at Dean & DeLuca is one of my SoHo rituals in New York, followed by dinner at The Mercer. Congrats to the Brown Thomas team who secured the exclusive European launch of Dean & DeLuca gourmet food products here. Try their jalapeño peach BBQ sauce... hot stuff!