Monday 25 September 2017

Alison hits the Hamptons as Viv tans in the Algarve

Alison Doody, escaping to her Long Island paradise
Alison Doody, escaping to her Long Island paradise
Comedian and Broadcaster Al Porter. Photo:Mark Condren
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joke about the Taoiseach's Canadian socks in Farmleigh. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Pippa Middleton arriving with husband James Matthews at the Sacred Heart Chuch in Glengarriff where the wedding of Camilla Campion-Awwad took place. Photo: Steve Humphreys
The bride Camilla Campion-Awwad arriving with her sister Aysha Campion-Awwad who was a bridesmaid at the Sacred Heart Chuch in Glengarriff where the wedding took place. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Victoria Smurfit, up early last Tuesday for the red eye from LA
Anna Friel
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

It's America's answer to the Riviera. Vanity Fair magazine once said that the Hamptons with its "gorgeous beaches, painterly light, and swanky estates" lures "the moneyed and the talented".

The famous paradise on the far shores of Long Island got both last weekend when former Bond girl and ex-Mount Anville pupil Alison Doody visited chichi Sag Harbour in the East Hamptons. The blonde actress was wearing a white kaftan and a cowboy hat.

A few weeks before her stateside vacation, Alison was spotted dining in Bovino steak restaurant in Quinta do Lago in Portugal. And why not?

Also in Portugal, actress and model Vivienne Connolly is on hols at the Vilamoura with her two children - Katie and Ben Jnr - and her mother, Liz, in a five-star resort in the Algarve. "Portugal is our home from home," she told me. "The kids adore it here and we have built up beautiful memories and friendships over the last 14 years."

And still on the subject of lovely seaside retreats, Blaise O'Donnell (formerly of Gorse Hill in Killiney) was seen in Dunmore East, County Waterford, last weekend with her other half.

The story behind that dress in west Cork

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Pippa Middleton arriving with husband James Matthews at the Sacred Heart Chuch in Glengarriff where the wedding of Camilla Campion-Awwad took place. Photo: Steve Humphreys
 

Say Yes to the Dress? Camilla Campion-Awwad did just that last weekend in west Cork in a guna magicked-up by award-winning Irish designer and couturier, Claire O'Connor.

The wedding bash at Derrycreha House was, of course, attended by Pippa Middleton, the crisp-sandwich-loving sister of the Duchess of Cambridge. But then you knew that already. What you don't know is the story behind that wedding dress. Someone stop me before I turn into an air-kissing fash mag hag! Camilla contacted Claire a few months ago; a friend of the bride-to-be whom Claire had designed something for in the past passed on her details to Camilla... "Camilla was the dream bride," Claire told me. "She knew exactly what she wanted, and as I came highly recommended to her, she was happy to let me get on with it and do what I do best. So we worked closely together throughout the whole process - creating numerous toiles for various ideas, before creating the finished gown."

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The bride Camilla Campion-Awwad arriving with her sister Aysha Campion-Awwad who was a bridesmaid at the Sacred Heart Chuch in Glengarriff where the wedding took place. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The dress itself, Claire continued, consisted of layers of crepe silk, with an ultra-fine chiffon sleeve and back detail. Got that?

"There was always going to be hand-beaded embellishment as we both love a bit of 'bling', and when it comes to attention to detail I am a complete pedantic," said Claire, adding that "the buttons down the back were real pearls, after all... It was wonderful to see the coverage the wedding got, and for a small Cork town to be at the centre of attention, and didn't Pippa look great! I loved how Camilla styled it too, the bouquet, her hair, exactly the kind of bride I like to dress," Claire went on.

"I think Camilla and myself will both agree that we were a little sad when she came to pick up the dress as we thoroughly enjoyed the whole process."

And doubtless Pippa has already got Catherine tipping off all her Royal chums about a certain couturiere in Ireland.

Leo and FG to give it socks next Tuesday

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joke about the Taoiseach's Canadian socks in Farmleigh. Picture; Gerry Mooney
 

I'm not great at keeping secrets. So I'll share this with you. Next Tuesday at 9pm a big bus will pull up outside Leinster House and take the main members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party away. No, I'm not describing a non-violent coup d'etat of the government by Anti-Austerity Alliance. It is merely a night out - possibly not in Copper's but hopefully not involving coppers around a bus like the Jobstown incident - for 70 Fine Gael TDs, Senators, and my VBF, An Taoiseach.

They will be whisked away to an as yet undisclosed location for the evening, where doubtless Leo, et al will truly give it socks. My Deep Throat in FG tells me the party chairman Martin Heydon apparently wants this bash to be exclusively only those on the magic bus going to the party. In other words - no randomers. I am not aware as yet whether An Taoiseach has issued an edict about novelty socks - or whether any former FG Taoisigh will be there.

Enda Kenny, meanwhile, must have put the word out about his favourite Dublin restaurant. Either that or Leo told Justin Trudeau about Hugo's on Merrion Row, because the Canadian Prime Minister's "entourage" were in for dinner last week as was Chicago senator Billy Lawless last Wednesday.

You can call him Al in Lillie's, and Chapter One

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Comedian and Broadcaster Al Porter. Photo:Mark Condren
 

Salty comic genius Al Porter (above) was in Lillie's Bordello last Saturday night with a gang of friends. Two weeks ago Al was in Chapter One on Parnell Square filming a promo for his new dating show, Blind Date. The new King of TV3 had a meal cooked by proprietor Ross Lewis, who has perhaps cooked for bigger royals than Al in his time.

Indeed the Michelin-starred chef cooked, smoked and cured wild ­salmon followed by Angus beef for Her Maj at ­Dublin Castle in 2011. For Al, Ross cooked "a nice plate of spring lamb with aubergine and new season garlic".

Speaking of comic geniuses, Mario Rosenstock dined in Marco Pierre White Courtyard restaurant in Donnybrook with his wife, Blathnaid, two weekends ago.

Victoria on the red eye from LA as her sister cycles to Paris

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Victoria Smurfit, up early last Tuesday for the red eye from LA
 

Smurf's up? Victoria was, anyway, up early last Tuesday on the red-eye flight from her adopted home town of Los Angeles for 24 hours in London. Or "an adventure", as she called it. The beautiful Irish movie star was in London to work on season 2 of Marcella, the ITV/Netflix production with "the super-talented Anna Friel" (below).

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Anna Friel

"I'm delighted," Victoria told me. "It's a gritty, tightly woven drama."

Meanwhile, Victoria said that next week her sister Sophie (along with others) is cycling to Paris from London to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity. Sophie's goal is to raise £30,000 for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital. "As a family we're big supporters of GOSH," Victoria told me. "I am so proud that my little sister, who I usually see glossy in 6in heels, is cycling to Paris to raise money for this incredible institute. Glamorous but tough, she's a Smurfit all right," said the glamorous but tough Victoria. "All donations are very welcome and go straight to the hospital."

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