Wednesday 21 August 2019

Society: Al serves up razzle-dazzle show

Totally tropical: Clodagh O'Hagan, Vogue Williams and Fiona Mullen
Totally tropical: Clodagh O'Hagan, Vogue Williams and Fiona Mullen
Dr Michael Smurfit and his daughter Sharon Smurfit at the K Club, Co Kildare following the opening of a €20m extension. Photo: Anthony Woods
President's Prize winner Lady Edel Decies at the K Club. Photo: Anthony Woods
Melissa Bari and Michelle Tighe for the launch of the K Club's €20m extension and renovation. Photo: Anthony Woods
Clamorous: Nuala Carey out for the shellfish tasting at Roly's in Ballsbridge.
Alison Comyn and Elaine Butler-Doolin for the launch of a shellfish tasting menu at Roly's Café on Tuesday.
Aisling Franciosi at the Stellar Shine Awards in a Roz Purcell power suit
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

I 'm quite partial to the razzle-­dazzle of a kitsch variety show. You know the sort; all camp asides and jazz-hand routines. So this week, I nipped along to the Olympia Theatre where King of the quadruple entendre, Al Porter, was filming his new RTÉ variety show.

The folks at Montrose have titled the programme The Al Porter Show - howzat for creativity? It was an evening filled with comedy skits, puppet acts and sequins. Hip hop artist Abandoman delivered impromptu raps, comedian PJ Gallagher chatted about stage fright while Al told us about the joys of growing up in Tallafornia.

Star of Mrs Brown's Boys Rory Cowan, DJ Colm Hayes, RTÉ 2's channel controller Bill Malone and Dublin's oldest bar maid Maureen Grant all cheered Al on from the stalls.

Once the show was in the can, we headed to Maureen's bar for a scoop - as is tradition. Porter, who makes his debut on the UK's hit show Live at the Apollo next week, will return to the Olympia stage in a few weeks' time to play Dame Lolly Polly in the Christmas panto Freezin'.

"Dustin the Turkey is also in it so there will be two fake birds on stage," he said. This week was all about kitsch-tastic knees-up. Nail bar Tropical Popical - a favourite with the likes of TV presenter Angela Scanlon and designer Brendan Courtney - celebrated their third year in business with a bang.

Dynamic duo and owners Andrea and Michelle Horan had transformed the Break for the Border bar into a sort of homage to Bet Lynch and Carmen Miranda with leopard print and glitter encrusted pineapples in every corner.

"I can't believe it's been three years," Andrea said. "It feels like we opened last week."

Ladies with lacquered talons and models posed in a glittery photobooth while bartenders served up signature Tropical Popical Wopical cocktails.

Vogue Williams and Sarah Byrne were on DJ duties and played a mix of 80s pop hits and disco gems. But the real highlight of the evening was when snapchat sensations James Kavanagh and Rob Kenny took to the stage and performed a rendition of 'You Don't Own Me' from The First Wives Club. It was, quite simply, unforgettable.

Night of celebrations gets into swing as K Club opens €20m extension

By Bairbre Power

Dr Michael Smurfit was a most gracious host to 300 guests from the worlds of business, sport, politics and ­entertainment who gathered at the five-star K Club in Straffan, Co Kildare last Friday night.

The black-tie gala evening, which was also attended by several K Club members, marked the launch of the property's €20m extension and renovation, and the official opening was conducted by EU Commissioner Phil Hogan.

The evening also saw the presentation of the President's Prize, with Lady Edel Decies picking up silverware on the night. Guests were greeted at the luxurious French château-style mansion by a bag piper, characters in 18th century costume and Irish wolfhounds before enjoying a champagne reception in the house.

Guests moved to the Legacy suite for a four course dinner with fine French wines by Barton & Guestier.

The wine choice was no accident because, back in 1831, Hugh Barton of the wine firm bought land at Straffan and nearby Barberstown Castle from the Henry family and had Straffan House built. The estate remained in the Barton family until 1949.

Dr Smurfit got a round of applause when, in his pre-dinner speech, he disclosed how he will turn 80 next summer. The very positive businessman said he always takes the 'glass half full' approach to life, and after expressing pride in the club and its new renovations and extension, he said he was thrilled that next year The K Club would host The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.

Executive chef Finbar Higgins prepared a stunning meal of smoked salmon and prawns starter and a handsome fillet of beef. Guests on the night included Dr Smurfit's daughter and director of golf, Sharon (inset, with her father), and her fiancé Emmet Savage, champion jockey-turned-trainer Johnny Murtagh and his wife Orla, RTÉ presenter Ronan Collins and his wife Woody, Goffs CEO Henry Beeby and his wife Vanessa, chairman of Goffs Eimear Mulhern, Andrew Marshall of Kildare Village, and Kildare County Council CEO Peter Carey.

The golfing fraternity was well represented by The K Club's own members, former CEO of the European Tour George O'Grady and professional golfer and Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Ambassador Des Smyth and his wife Vicky. Later on the glamorous crowd danced the night away to the sounds of The Bentley Boys.

Many of the guests stayed overnight and next morning got a better view of the €20m extension with its 70 new bedrooms, new bar and conference room.

Hope Clodagh stays away for Christmas!

By Bairbre Power

We blew into Ballsbridge, literally, for the launch of a shellfish tasting menu at Roly's Café  on Tuesday.

Talk about finding the right person on the night. I pulled up a chair beside RTÉ's favourite weather gal, Nuala Carey, to find out when the awful wind outside might abate.

Over Castletownbere crab claws and Dublin Bay prawn scampi, Nuala told me how Storm Abigail and that night's bad boy, Storm Barney, were the first two storms to be officially jointly named by Met Éireann and the Met Office in the UK. And under their agreed schedule of names, the next one up will be Storm Clodagh, to be followed by Desmond, Eva, Frank, Katie, Mary and Orla, amongst others.

UTV's Alison Comyn popped in for a while and she was on the receiving end of lots of compliments for her dapper grey hat and matching over-the-knee suede boots. Unfortunately, Lorraine Keane got blown off course as she headed out of town from the UTV studios but with the gridlock, she ended up at home in Monkstown.

Roz has fashion pack all sewn up at Stellar Shine

By Kirsty Blake Knox

Rozanna Purcell's power suits are fast ­becoming the go-to uniform for Irish starlets and ­ocialites. Four guests at the ­Stellar Shine Awards arrived wearing her razor-sharp jackets.

Stylist Courtney Smith opted for metallic green leopard print, actress Aoibhinn McGinnity went for a plunging black tuxedo jacket, Winning Streak's Sinead Kennedy looked chic in a spangled white blazer while Aisling Franciosi teamed her check suit with some black Adidas Gazelles.

Writer Louise O'Neill picked up the gong for Best Writer at the awards ceremony which was held in Scandi-Asian eatery Soder + Ko. The rights for O'Neill's first novel Only Ever Yours have been bought by Killer Content who plan to turn the book into a film and Broadway show.

Pippa O'Connor Ormond picked up Best Blogger while footballer Stephanie Roche won Sports Star. "It's great to glam up and celebrate with other women," she said.

Going berry wild for the cocktails

By Bairbre Power

The foodie brigade will be out in force tonight for the annual Wild Foods dinner at the award-­winning BrookLodge and ­Macreddin Village. Hard to believe that it is 20 years since Evan Doyle came up with the idea, and on the menu for the dinner at the ­Strawberry Tree restaurant will be cured venison and wild teal.

However, the night kicks off with an unusual wild berry cocktail. Talk about a labour of love, they harvested the wild strawberries in June, wild bilberries in July and finally, the wild sloes.

I can't go as I'm donning my sparkly dress to attend the Strictly Against Breast Cancer black-tie gala ball hosted by Nicky Byrne. Now there's a fella who knows something about dancing. My spies tell that top beauty PR Róisín Tierney-Crowe and her dancing partner, Stephen Kelly do a very good cha cha.

Wednesday night saw me signing a disclaimer and then taking up my shucking knife with expert advice from Niall Sabongi of Klaw in Crown Alley.

Aldi hosted a sneak preview of their Specially Selected Carlingford Lough Oysters which arrive in stores on December 23. It was a lively night with 2FM's Ruth Scott and Senatorial candidate Ross Golden Bannon amongst those enjoying oysters au naturel and blow torched with bacon.

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