The Diary: Pippa hopes hubby has suprises for her big 3-0 bash
There's nothing like piano riffs and stiff drinks to ease those hump day blues. Thankfully this Wednesday, Ireland's fashion pack were treated to both as luxe label Parfois hosted a seriously swanky sit-down dinner in Dublin's Clarence Hotel.
Guests were treated to speciality Teeling Julep cocktails as they made their way into the penthouse suite while pianist Cian Boylan performed some old familiar standards.
The boudoir had been transformed into a makeshift atelier filled with bags and blinging necklaces.
Model Pippa O'Connor was enjoying a night off 'Mummy duties' and discussed her upcoming birthday plans - the Kildare beauty turns the big 3-0 next week.
"I'm being kept in the dark about the party but I hope my husband has a few surprises," Pippa said before discussing her and Brian Ormond's mutual desire to become Ireland's answer to Richard and Judy. "I think we have what it takes," she said. "Now we just need the screen time."
Stylist Courtney Smith flitted about the place ooh-ing and ahh-ing at statement pieces and advising guests on what to wear.
While fashion editor Sive O'Brien and blogger Lisa-Marie Jordan wandered out on to the balcony and took in the view. "Your worries just drift away when you're this high above the hustle and bustle," Jordan noted looking down at the street.
We were in the middle of discussing tattooed men and Jamie Dornan's fantastic facial hair when a dull bell chime reminded us it was time to eat.
Everyone rushed upstairs and tucked into smoked trout salad and sinfully good salted dulce de leche ice cream while analysing next season's key trends.
With our moods lifted, and the musical riffs drawing to a close, we sauntered out on to the quays just in time to watch the fat pink sun sink behind the Guinness brewery.
Wedding bells ring for 'Love/Hate' gangster
Who knew low-life gangsters could be such hopeless romantics?
Love/Hate actor Ian Lloyd Anderson was flying high at the launch of the Tiger Fringe Festival.
And why wouldn't he be?
Ian, aka Fran-The-Man's sidekick Deano, had just returned from San Francisco where he'd done the 'good deed' and popped the question to his long-term girlfriend Kim Harris.
"It felt a little surreal," he said. "I kept thinking I can't believe this is happening - and I was the one proposing."
Once Kim said 'yes', the loved-up pair then jumped on a plane to the Big Apple to toast the good news.
While in the City that Never Sleeps, they caught up with pal and rising star Sarah Greene who was performing in the Broadway production of Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Pat Shortt.
Corkonian Greene, who has just been cast in Bradley Cooper's culinary comedy Adam Jones, had set aside some champers for the happy couple back stage at the Cort Theatre and joined them after the final curtain call.
"It was a night like no other," Ian told me at the Tiger Fringe bash in Everleigh Garden on Harcourt Street.
The actor is busy prepping for his Fringe show Dublin Oldschool at Bewley's Cafe Theatre. "I finished Love/Hate, proposed to the missus, and now have this show to work on," he said. "It's good to busy."
The club was heaving with actors, artists and lithe and limber dancers.
One gent wearing pastel pants and carefully applied rouge shimmayed around the room while a group of giggling girls crowded into a novelty photo in the corner.
Comedian Eleanor Tiernan, the cousin of manic comedian Tommy, chatted about her show National Therapy Project.
"I'm hoping to talk the audience through our national traumas," she explained. "From Roy Keane ditching the Irish team in Saipan and Thierry Henry's hand ball, to Louis Walsh's mediocrity factory.
"Then there's Oliver Cromwell's careerism, Miley and Fidelma's roll in the hay, the alarming spread of foot and mouth disease and the space around Ryan Tubridy he doesn't inhabit."
Rex Ryan, the dashing son of late broadcaster Gerry Ryan, will stage one-man show Pilgrim at Smock Alley Theatre while singing sisters Maud and Zoe Reardon of alternative music group Maud in Cahoots will take to the Peacock stage in The Well Rested Terrorist.
Last week, Maud performed at President Michael D's summer garden party: "It was a little less boisterous than tonight, but still a lot of fun."
After all the speeches had drawn to a close the real partying could begin. Phelim Drew, the son of musician Ronnie Drew flicked through the shiny new programme while dance duo Lords of Strut jumped around.
"This is going to be a sexy and sweaty festival," new festival director Kris Nelson said.
"The fringe is all kinds of fabulousness - there is something for everyone. Expect dancing in the street, singing out the windows and laughter in the aisles."
Telling the snapper to smile makes nice change
I love it when the shoe is on the other foot, and that's exactly what happened at Galway's g hotel on Wednesday night after we raced back from Ballybrit for the opening of the Majestic Spirit exhibition of equine photographs.
Martina Regan, the snapper responsible for the stunning images has instructed me, on more than one occasion, to "please smile" as she frog marches me into social photos for the glossies.
So on Wednesday, I got my revenge as I coaxed a shy smile out of Martina who found herself on the other side of the lens, posing for local photographer Dave Ruffles at the opening of her exhibition.
"It all started when I started doing horse riding at the Galway Equestrian Centre as a hobby and it was then that I decided to challenge myself and do equine photography," she explains.
Guests at the launch toasted Martina's collection with appropriately named Prosecco cocktails named Hair of the Horse and Bits 'n' Bridle.
The collection drew a big crowd straight from the course as the party kicked off with Leo Powell, managing editor of The Irish Field, opening the exhibition.
The 'sold' stickers quickly flew up on the beautifully lit images which cost from €350 each.
On the night I spotted top jockey Davy Russell, pictured here with Martina, and horse trainers Willie Mullins and Jim Culloty. Roger Casey, MD of Tattersalls Ireland, was there along with Damien McDonald, CEO of Horse Sport Ireland, and Barbara White, marketing manager of Horse Racing Ireland. Also invited were Sky Sports' Ollie Canning and top sports agents, Jennifer Walsh and Andrew Kelly.
Martina later changed into an elegant coral dress bejewelled with pieces by Natasha Heaslip, who was also at the party.
Jen's left in stitches as Dara goes to the birds
A flock of rough and ready seagulls ruffled a few feathers at the Vodafone Comedy Festival when they interrupted Dara Ó Briain's stand up gig.
The birds, who had "lost the run of themselves altogether", croaked and cawed outside the Big Top in Dublin's Iveagh Gardens.
Thankfully, Dara knew how to deal with the rowdy reprobates, turning their heckles into a pun-laden gull gag-fest. All of which went down well with newlywed Breakfast Republic host Jennifer Maguire, who had just returned from her honeymoon in the Seychelles.
"I was in stitches," she said with husband Lau Zamparelli by her side. "Loved Dara and the gulls, but wasn't so impressed with the drunk Australian girl sitting behind me. You can't win them all."
Jen and Lau tied the knot in Castle Leslie earlier this summer and are settling into married life. "It doesn't feel any different to be honest," Jen said. "Although it's nice seeing him with a ring on his finger."
The annual laugh fest attracted some of the biggest names in comedy; from Russell Howard and Jason Manford to David O'Doherty and New Zealand's Rhys Darby.
"It's a bit like the final frontier for comedians before they jet-set off to Edinburgh," funny man Karl Spain explained.
Jason Byrne talked about his upcoming Snaptastic TV3 show which sees him analyse and critique embarassing baby photos of well-known celebs.
"I really want to get Enda Kenny to appear in it," he said. "I think he's checking his schedule."
Sean Flanagan of comedy trio Foil, Arms and Hog was seen enjoying a drink or two in between sets and curly haired comedienne Maeve Higgins talked about her new life in NY.
Across the lawn, a horsebox that had been transformed into a tiny four-seater theatre. "It's the hottest show in town," one onlooker noted. "Literally".
Bolger stays course
Racing figure Jim Bolger showed remarkable staying power in Galway on Wednesday, a trait we've come to appreciate from his horses like 2012 champion Dawn Approach and Galileo, the prince of stallions.
Up at dawn, it was a red letter day for Jim and his wife Jackie, who packed a huge amount into the day - the highlight of which was the conferring of an honorary Degree of Doctor of Arts from NUI Galway.
It was an outdoor spectacle in the university's Aula Maxima as Jim and fellow trainer Dermot Weld, both in gowns and caps, were feted and photographed beside a replica of the winner's post from Ballybrit.
Later, there was time to relax in the sunshine and enjoy the occasion - which had everything from a harpist and jazz music to champagne to strawberries and cream.
I caught up with the Bolgers over food at Kirwan's Lane where they were guests of honour at a small dinner hosted by Liam and Anna Ó Coinne.
Amongst the other guests were Professor Michael Kerin and his wife Annette, Dr Jim Browne, president of NUIG and his wife Maeve, Tom Joyce, CEO of the Galway University Foundation and his wife Eilish, Miriam Hand from NBCRI and Gillian Ó Coinne.
Next stop, Dublin's RDS for style squad
The fashion squad were moving at speed this week as they darted across the many style events and competitions taking place during Galway Race Week.
Stylist Marietta Doran seemed to be everywhere, wowing with her hats and outfits at Ballybrit and at the g on Thursday night where IMAGE editor-in-chief Melanie Morris and Sunday Independent beauty expert Triona McCarthy judged the best hat prize, with a coveted Philip Treacy original to be won.
The two glamazon judges were accompanied by their other halves, Melanie's husband Trevor Rigley and Triona (who is expecting her second child) was joined by her partner Will Whyte.
Marietta and Melanie will be teaming up again next Thursday after Ladies' Day at the RDS to judge the Shelbourne's Most Stylish Lady competition with Irish designer Helen Cody. The prize includes two nights in the chic Princess Grace suite at the Shelbourne and two nights in the stylish Renaissance Le Parc Trocadero Hotel, off the Champs-Élysées in Paris.