Thursday 25 December 2014

Doting granddad Bertie all smiles at Campbell launch

Laura Butler, Bairbre Power

Published 03/11/2013 | 01:00

Star-studded: Caroline Erskine and Barry Devlin at the Royal Hibernian Academy launch of Alastair Campbell's book, 'The Irish Diaries'
Star-studded: Caroline Erskine and Barry Devlin at the Royal Hibernian Academy launch of Alastair Campbell's book, 'The Irish Diaries'
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern

He received considerable praise from the author, at what it is fair to say was one of the most star-studded literary events this year, but Bertie Ahern's smile at Alastair Campbell's book launch this week was largely due to doting over his new granddaughter, Gia, earlier that day.

The former Taoiseach got suited and booted to attend the unveiling of The Irish Diaries on Wednesday night, for which he has joined Tony Blair to write an introduction.

"I was there through all of it. so in that sense it was relatively easy to sit down and write it," Bertie told The Diary. He then beamed when asked about the latest addition to daughter Georgina and son-in-law Nicky Byrne's family.

"I spent some time with baby Gia this afternoon; she's absolutely gorgeous," he said, as he sat next to novelist John Banville and PJ Mara.

The Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin's Ely Place was packed to the rafters with well known faces from the worlds of politics and entertainment.

Barry Devlin was still recovering from the Horslips' biography and album launch the night before which, he said, "was a late one".

Steve Carson was simultaneously supporting his wife, Miriam O'Callaghan – who hosted the Q&A session with the author – and busy "getting a programme out".

"I'm not off to the BBC until December, so I'm not finished with RTÉ by any means," he informed us as he ran off to take another call in the corner.

U2 manager Paul McGuinness took a seat towards the back while Harry Crosbie and The Gate's Michael Colgan happily stood.

Ali Hewson was the late arrival and beamed with pride when it was put to her that her daughters, Jordan and actress Eve, seem to be carving out high-octane careers.

"They're running New York City now," she said, laughing.

– LB

Irish Independent

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