Society: Already making Mark on 2016
Director Mark O'Rowe - the man behind the 2003 classic movie Intermission - is gearing up to shoot his next feature film.
The Delinquent Season is all about infidelity (ooh-er missus!) and will be shot in Dublin this summer.
"We have a name attached but we don't want to say too much," he told me at the Gate Theatre this week. "But it's exciting." Before all that, O'Rowe will helm The Gate's upcoming production of Sean O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock.
"It's a great play and a great theatre to be returning to," he said.
The show stars Love/Hate actor Peter Coonan, Emmet Kirwan and theatre royalty Derbhle Crotty and Ingrid Craigie. Crotty, who will take on the role of Juno, has been careering around the West this week filming a new RTÉ documentary all about dear old Lady Gregory.
"It'll be my first time presenting anything," she said. "I'm sure I'll hate watching myself on TV but I couldn't turn it down. I've played Lady Gregory on stage so it's nice to make a show about her." Musician Fiachna Ó Braonáin, formerly of the Hothouse Flowers, will also pop up in the RTÉ series to air later in the year.
With First Fortnight tearing along, I nipped into Morning Gloryville - an early morning rave in Hanger on Andrew's Lane. I had just stepped inside the door when a middle-aged man wearing gold lamé leggings dumped a tub of glitter over my head.
"Now dance!" he exclaimed before running off. In one corner, crowds flailed about to Faithless, while super bendy yogis did sun salutations.
The youngest raver in the room was 12 week old Henry. "It's an incredible bonding experience," his mother Laura McCarthy told me as she adjusted his noise cancelling headphones.
On leaving, we were handed 'late notes' which explained to our bosses why we were tardy. Later that evening, I made a beeline to the Project Arts Centre where Alan Shatter's daughter Kelly brought back her award winning show Big Bobby, Little Bobby, starring the talented Camille Lucy Ross. The show attracted a substantial crowd.
Valerie O'Connor who plays Nikki Grogan in TV3's Red Rock along with co-star Patrick Ryan and playwright Peter Campion enjoyed a drink afterwards, while comic Alison Spittle chatted about her show Alison Spittle Discovers Hawaii. "It isn't about Hawaii, but I thought that would encourage people to come see it," she confessed.
Miriam offers tips to beat January blues
By Kirsty Blake Knox
I'm glad to see not everyone is being virtuous this January.
Broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan has no intention of jumping on the puritanical bandwagon.
"I don't do dry January or anything like that," she said.
"I believe you should do nothing in excess and I enjoy a glass of red wine - so does my mother who is 88. If it's good enough for her it's good enough for me." Miriam adds there's a much easier way to stay in shape.
"Have three and a half thousand children and spent your life running after them," she said at the BT Young Scientist exhibition.
Clarins lifted my mood further with a make-up master class in the Fitzwilliam Hotel. The spring summer looks helped distract from the howling wind outside.
Roz Purcell, who had just returned from Thailand, showcased the season's 'Instant Glow' look. Beauty boffins examined pots and palettes while dreaming of sunshine.
Racing, romance and the love seat
By Bairbre Power
The wind and rain threw all it had but nothing could dampen my spirits judging Monart's 'Most Stylish Lady' at Leopardstown, Dublin on Lexus Chase day.
I was armed with a hot tip from a racing pal but I had more success with my 'won't blow away' red hat designed by milliner Jean Condron whose business, 'Hats by Jean' is HQ'd at Feather & Frill in Terenure.
You might have read about Jean when her mannequin in the window morphed into a Christmas tree display and it went big on social media.
As it happens, Kerry milliner Carol Kennelly was the winner on the day and over a glass of bubbly in the Lexus Chase Day marquee, she told me how her upcoming collection is inspired by art deco. Carol is now off to the newly refurbished Monart Destination Spa.
The holidays also saw lots of engagement celebrations: for Jamie Heaslip and Sheena O'Buachalla, Amanda Byram and Julian Okines, fashion designer Emma Manley and Eoin Ó Súilleabháin and also for Sophie Morris who is marrying fellow entrepreneur, Robbie Godsil next autumn. Sophie sprang to our attention with 'Kooky Dough,' and the business she co-founded was sold last year.
This month Sophie drove the launch of fitometrics.com, an online health and fitnesses business she set up with Robbie and it is accepting applicants for a six week fitness programme starting next Saturday. The couple knew each other at Trinity. Fate intervened much later and when Robbie spotted her hailing a taxi, romance blossomed.
"We were on our way to the airport in November to fly to South Africa to see my mum and Robbie stopped outside the Palace Nightclub in Camden Street and proposed at the spot where we had our first kiss," said Sophie.
Robbie started PlanMyDebs.ie with €10,000 and now has an annual turnover of over €1m. He worked on the FitoMetrics algorithm "which means just you and your bodyweight," said Sophie who wears a sapphire and diamond ring - chosen by Robbie to match her eyes. Irish men can be so romantic. I spotted one guy ordering a Love Seat from Finline Furniture in which he hopes to propose to his girlfriend. Finline is holding a sale this weekend so, if the cap fits, there are stores in Portlaoise, Cork and Dublin.
Saoirse in the market for a wow wardrobe
By Bairbre Power
All eyes on Saoirse Ronan and her sartorial choices for the upcoming awards season and the Oscars in LA on February 28.
The actress recently collaborated with artist/fashion designer, Helen Steele, on a stunning green dress for the Irish première of Brooklyn.
Helen is just back from celebrating the New Year with family in Sneem, Co Kerry. Talk about synchronicity, Saoirse wears Irish designer, Simone Rocha, quite a bit and Simone and family were in Kerry and Valentia Island over the holidays.
Simone's seriously gorgeous SS16 collection arrives into Havana in Donnybrook next Tuesday and her Irish fans will be ready to pounce.
New mum Simone harnessed her extensive talents into a truly impressive collection of dresses inspired by a visit to Tokyo, any of which would look perfect on Saoirse in the run up to the 88th Academy Awards.
Awards season lure for Roisin
By Kirsty Blake Knox
Lo and behold, Hollywood's awards season is well and truly upon us.
Tomorrow night the Golden Globes kick off and then it's a mad dash to the Oscars with plenty of tulle dresses and earnest acceptance speeches in between.
Folk pop starlet Roisin O'Reilly, the daughter of Mary Black, will be heading over to La-La Land next month to attend Star Wars director JJ Abram's pre-Oscars Oscar Wilde party.
In preparation, Roisin has penned several new songs with the help of her brother Danny of The Coronas.
"They are putting one of my CDs in the goodie bag so I wanted something fresh," she told me this week. Roisin, who is performing alongside Snow Patrol, is looking forward to finding herself slap bang wallop in the middle of Oscar mania.
"I can't wait. I'm a bit nervous but it should be great," she said. "I'm also a huge Star Wars fan - I've seen the film twice - so meeting JJ will be great. I might fan girl a bit."
However, the really important question is whether or not Roisin intends on gate crashing any Oscar after parties.
"You never know I might get invited."
Best face forward with Patricia's timely advice
By Bairbre Power
The anti-ageing industry gets bigger here annually and I'm always intrigued to know what people are having done? Chemical peels and lasers or a little filler, threads and some skin tightening?
Patricia Molloy (pictured above) is the nurse who opened Derma Clinic, Ireland's first skin laser clinic in Ireland in 1999. She is way too professional to discuss what her top drawer client list is having done!
The appointment book for her Blackrock clinic is always packed, with a growing percentage of male customers.
Patricia is a big advocate of something very simple and that's wearing SPF sunscreen every day - not just for the summer or skiing in Aspen. She says the reason Irish women look so natural beside their American counterparts on the slopes is that they go for continual maintenance skincare programmes rather than full on fillers which can leave you looking like a chipmunk as the eyes retreat and cheeks move up. Now you know!