For social diarists it is the end of an of a golden era – Gerald Kean and Lisa Murphy officially split up. The celebrity couple whose public displays of glamour and romance personified the boom, and then the bust in Ireland, are no more.
The dream crumbled. And with it our dream of watching their wedding on telly.
John Norton – producer of TV3's Dublin Housewives, the reality TV show that Lisa is one of the stars of – told me yesterday: "I had spoken to Lisa about it and given the nature of the show, we did expect to film some element of it," he said referring to the wedding that was not to be.
It was the end of the fairytale for the blonde with the Marilyn Monroe figure. She and the loquacious lawyer called off their three-year engagement.
It was, of course, the worst kept secret in Ireland for quite some time. The story has been going around for months. And for months Gerald and Lisa have been denying it was true and adding, with gusto, that they were going to get married in Cork or Dublin next year.
You had to take it – like most things the golden couple said – with a pinch of something white and crystalline. The more Gerald and Lisa talked about the big wedding, the more part of me suspected it was never going to happen. When she flew to New York without him in May of this year, there was strong chatter that Gerald and Lisa had split up finally. This had extra significance because May was when the wedding was supposed to have been set for.
"I've been engaged three times, and I've never tried on a wedding dress," Lisa told Niamh Horan prophetically in the Sunday Independent in June, adding that this time it was for real. "I think everyone just knows what a good party Gerald throws and they can't wait for it. But I'm very laid back about it and I know it will happen – we've the band and everything picked."
In May of this year masked raiders broke into their home, Drayton Manor, stole jewellery worth thousands of euro, including Lisa's engagement ring, and tied Lisa up. Lisa told me a few days later that it was "the most terrifying night of my life."
Gerald and Lisa split up last month. They hadn't been seeing eye to eye for a time before that. She ended the relationship. Everybody on Dublin Housewives has known for at least three weeks that Lisa had broken up with Gerald. "It is no secret that Lisa and Gerald have broken up," the producer Norton told me. "Lisa is living with Jo at the moment."
When I spoke to Lisa's Dublin Housewives co-star Jo Jordan, who lives in Castleknock, she said Lisa "is in great form, she is happy and is just getting in with her life."
"Look," Jo added. "She is fine." Jo was naturally cagey and defensive when asked about the reasons why Lisa and Gerald had broken up? "I couldn't go into those details," she said.
I asked why Gerald had thrown the big showy surprise 40th birthday party for Lisa in September?
"Lisa told me to tell you personally that she has never spoken about her relationships in the past and nor will she ever."
It is a terrible cliche but Gerald Kean and Lisa Murphy really did bring a sort of gaiety to the nation amid all the doom and gloom of the recession. So for that at least we should be thanking them. Their unrestrained desire to go to every swish social gathering – be it in Marbella or Miami and invariably on a private jet – left many of us speechless. They were larger than life in their seemingly endless pursuit of pleasure and ostentatious happiness; and then telling us all about it.
Some of their detractors will be getting their Schadenfreude rocks off now that the celebrity couple have broken up. Others will cry salty tears into their glasses of sauvignon blanc.
I liked them for their sense of fun. I went with them to lots of events and parties around the world yet never really got to know them that well. You never really know Gerald Kean. I don't think it is possible. He gives so much of himself away but at the same time – nothing. It is all smoke and mirrors with Gerald but very entertaining smoke and mirrors.
Bold extravagance seemed to be a concept long close to his heart, of course. For Gerald's 40th birthday, his then wife Clodagh organised a surprise party for 100 friends in the 12th Century Abbaye des Vaux de Cernay, south of Paris. Boarding the hired private plane, he thought he was going to a football game in Liverpool with his brother.
Of course, Mr Kean is the man who bought Clodagh a private jet in 2002 as a birthday present. "When he said it to me first, I thought it was a joke," Clodagh said in 2003.
"I knew nothing about this. In fact, I would have blocked it. It was his gift to me but I thought: 'What do I need a jet for?' When I saw it, I thought: 'You've got to be joking!' But it is super. I go to Old Trafford in it. I go shopping with mum to London on it. I try not to bring Kirsten (their daughter) on it too often, because going into school the next day ... I don't like that kind of stuff. But I've had a ball on it.
"It has taken me a whole year to realise that it's there and it's at my disposal. To be honest, it's great. We love Man United so we go there every second Saturday!
"I've always loved doing special things for Clodagh," Gerald said. "And she for me. I just felt it would be a tremendous – and certainly very different – idea to buy a private jet for my wife. But Clodagh isn't the type that expects it or wants it."
In October 2007, Gerald held a massive bash in the Ritz Carlton in Enniskerry to mark his 50th year. The birthday boy arrived dressed in black and gold brocade as King Louis XVI. Ms Murphy, from Dundrum, came as Marie Antoinette, complete with diamond jewels that dazzled the three hundred guests – including Ronan and Yvonne Keating, Cecilia Ahern and David Keoghan, Lorraine Keane and Peter Devlin, Marian Finucane and John Clark – who were all attired in full 18th Century regalia.
Gerald and Lisa had a long and illustrious history of celebrating significant life dates in their lives. Gerald threw a giant party for 200 guests at Drayton Manor to mark Lisa's 40th birthday. There is a story that Lisa was visibly upset at the party and went crying to her room. The sense was that she didn't want everyone to know she was 40. What she wanted most in the world was a wedding.
Gerald and Lisa got engaged over Christmas in 2009 at Residence private members' club on Stephen's Green in Dublin.
Lisa had previously been engaged to boxer Joe Egan and, more famously, to Irish dancing legend Michael Flatley.
I met Lisa for the first time in 2006 at the Marbella Ball. She had just split with Flatley and was the talk of the ball. Equal parts Aphrodite, Ursula Andress and busty Bet Lynch, she stole the limelight in a cream-and-lace outfit from Harvey Nichols. She was quite emotionally frail and thin-skinned (which she remains still) but very likeable and personable.
I remember an extraordinary conversation in the Merrion Hotel that we had on the evening before Flatley's wedding in Castlehyde to Niamh O'Brien. It was extraordinary mainly because Lisa was engaged to Flatley only eight months before (and engaged to him for four years). Lisa's mother Eileen waited for her in the car outside as we talked
"To be quite honest," she said of Flatley, "I had my time with him and I have moved on. I am happy for him and I hope he will be happy. I wish them all the best."
I said that surely a part of you must think it was strange that a man you were engaged to eight months ago is getting married now? Do you not think that it should have been you walking up the aisle?
"I don't look at it like that," Lisa answered. "I feel everything happens for a reason. It has just gone that way, you know, and it just wasn't meant to be. I wouldn't be crying over spilt milk. It is not about that. Things happen in life. And you just accept it and move on. So I don't have any feelings as regards the wedding day."
And, who knows, perhaps that is just how Lisa Murphy feels as she wakes up this morning without Gerald Kean.