Friday 24 May 2019

Greece is the word for Yvonne and John

Yvonne Connolly enjoying the sunshine in Santorini where she is with her beau, John Conroy, who is enjoying a well-deserved break from filming in Rome before heading to his next project in New Orleans
Yvonne Connolly enjoying the sunshine in Santorini where she is with her beau, John Conroy, who is enjoying a well-deserved break from filming in Rome before heading to his next project in New Orleans
Wisdom ... Vivienne Connolly
Victoria Smurfit is enjoying a brief spell at home
Harry and Meghan
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

It's swelteringly official. Summer and the loving is easy. Not least if you are Yvonne Connolly and you are sunning yourself with other half, award-winning film cameraman John Conroy in one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea.

When your diarist asked the beautiful blonde bombshell what was the secret of her and John's success as a couple, Yvonne answered with her characteristic wit, even chutzpah: "The secret is we're happily - unmarried." Are these remarks in camera, so to speak? Only joking.

Yvonne added that "this break in Santorini has been a much-awaited romantic trip away for John and I as he has finished filming in Rome and moves on to his next project in New Orleans. Although a holiday, I've managed to talk some chefs into teaching me about their local dishes and imparting recipes and secrets. I look forward to sharing on The 6 O'Clock Show on TV3 and my RSVP magazine Eat Easy column."

Yvonne described their five-day sojourn in Santorini as "not long enough". At least I assume she was referring to the length of their stay.

Be that as it may, the loved-up duo enjoyed many a splendid repast on the island. "Our favourite traditional restaurant was Katri in Fira," Yvonne told me last Friday as she and John waited for a taxi outside their hotel for a boat trip. I'm happy to confirm that Yvonne and John are all at sea, in a good way. "Then," she said, "we're flying home tomorrow for the heatwave."

Meanwhile, going the other way, Derry and his wife, that other beautiful blonde bombshell, Sallyanne Clarke, were spotted on a flight to Milan last weekend, by my Deep Throat at Dublin airport. Apparently the two deities of L'Ecrivain were going to Lake Como for some well-deserved hols.

Viv brings masterclass to the good women of Cork

That other Connolly, Vivienne - ex wife of Mark Dunne - is putting together a show for Mna na hEireann of a certain age at the Clayton Hotel in Cork on September 23.

This fashion/ beauty/ lifestyle event, the first of many in partnership with Dingle Gin, Vivienne is thinking of calling Viva La Viv, or Be FabYOUlous with Viv - "proving life can be beautiful at any age".

So naturally your diarist asked the actress-turned-entrepreneur what wisdom has she acquired with age.

"Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance," Viv (46) replied, quoting Coco Chanel. "Don't ever assume or presume anything. You never know the full story."

(Unless you've read it in the Sunday Independent, obviously.)

"You can be gorgeous at 30, charming at 40 and irresistible for the rest of your life - hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity.

"The life we live is the lesson we teach," Viv added. "If you do what is easy, your life will be hard; if you do what is hard, your life will be easy. Good habits are hard to form but easy to live; bad habits are easy to form but hard to live..."

Bad habits? I'm 'nun' the wiser as to what Viv means.

Maybe I need a glass of Dingle Gin to help my search for clarity.

Victoria and kids all set for European Grand Tour

Victoria Smurfit is enjoying a brief spell at home

I can solve the mystery of why the nation seemed a little more joyous last week: Victoria Smurfit was back home in Ireland. The movie star, who has been setting Hollywood alight these last few years in her adopted home of Los Angeles, was looking gorgeous in black jeans, black T-shirt, leather jacket and boots of Spanish leather when I met her in the Merrion Hotel on Tuesday night. As much rock star as movie star, Victoria told me she was "on a tour of the best Irish hotels - the Merrion, Ashford Castle and the K Club - while I wait to take my kids on a European tour", referring to Venice et al.

"I'm catching up with friends and family while meeting with broadcasters for a show I'm developing," she said.

"The kids are having a ball in Dunmore with their grandparents and their dad, Doug. They're having a blast.

"I couldn't be happier or more relaxed. So grateful," Victoria said, adding that she is putting together a fundraiser for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London in September at the National History Museum and is looking for a musical entertainer.

You read it here first, Ed Sheeran.

Leo to host a bit of a do for Harry and Meghan

Harry and Meghan

Since he came out, Leo has never stayed in. And we wouldn't want it any other way, as An T's appearance at events lights up a room, rather than sucking all the air out of it, the way so many grim-faced Irish politicians do. He is going to Body & Soul today. Enjoying the summer solstice in Westmeath will put Leo in the mood for hosting Ginger Prince Harry and Meghan (right) at a bit of a do in Farmleigh, or the general region of the Park, in early July. Ginger Prince Barry (ie, me) is up for helping Leo on plans for the royal beano. A bit of Nick Cave? Or maybe Leo will perform his party piece, Rainy Night In Soho? I'm told Leo favours Damien Dempsey's version of the song over the original by The Pogues.

Don’t put the blame on me, blame Emily...

Was it something the normally blameless Emily Hourican said? There ought to be a public inquiry. This I say because several luminaries who attended the unveiling of the esteemed Emily’s magnum opus The Blamed (brilliantly launched by our own Brendan O’Connor) at Dubray on Grafton Street have since jetted off on holidays, presumably carrying a copy of the aforesaid magnum opus: Domini Kemp took it to Greece, Cathy Belton will be taking it on honeymoon to the South of France, Pandora McCormick took it to Italy, Emily’s sister Bridget and beau Frank Callanan took it Amsterdam. Minister Josepha Madigan also attended but I can’t vouch for her jetting off to foreign climes, while Neven Maguire dropped by on a break from proofreading his own latest book, due in autumn.

At the launch, the fab Frank Callanan reminisced about the days when he, then a junior counsel, along with the late great Adrian Hardiman, settled a case — for an apology, and the price of lunch in Guilbaud’s. Ah, but for the days when justice could be served with a fancy nosh-up.

It’s all in the past now. Especially if you are Emily Hourican, who told me: “This is the first time I’ve written about Brussels, the city where I grew up, and I was surprised by just how strongly the past came flooding back. The Blamed isn’t remotely autobiographical, but writing about streets and squares that I knew as a teenager was strangely emotional. The past is a foreign country” — especially if you are Domini Kemp, Pandora McCormick, Cathy Belton etc etc, you get the drift! — “but it’s funny how unexpectedly easy it can be to access.”

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