Society: Hats off Philip Treacy and Vogue says no to drugs
Togas at the ready. Filmmaker Jim Sheridan and Voice of Ireland producer Larry Bass are one step closer to beginning work on their new epic TV series The Last Barbarian.
The Roman inspired series is still in the development stages.
"It's very early days," Bass said. "But we have the support of the Irish Film Board now, which is great. This would be Jim's first time directing a large-scale TV series.
"I can't say too much but I'd describe it as an epic period drama." Sounds intriguing.
Multiple Oscar nominated Sheridan (pictured)has been moving into TV work in recent years - he previously directed an adaptation of The Ten Commandments for producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein.
But this week Jim returned to the theatrical world with stage show Meet the Quare Fellow opening at Clontarf's Viking Theatre. Based on Brendan Behan's life, the show is being directed by Jim's brother Peter.
Jim penned the play many moons ago and had forgotten about it entirely until Peter found it lying around his house.
Speaking of rarely seen notebooks, this week Prez Michael D Higgins opened the new Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the National Gallery.
The show contains 10 original sketches from da Vinci's notebooks which Queen Elizabeth has lent out from the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. It's the first time the collection has been shown outside the UK so it was a crowded house with restaurateur Peaches Kemp, Norma Smurfit and the Italian ambassador to Ireland Giovanni Adorni Braccesi all moseying around the gallery.
Around the room there were delicate chalk and pencil sketches of waterways, cats stretching and the human anatomy.
"Drawing was Leonardo's laboratory," Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings of the Royal Collection Trust explained.
"It's what he used to think on. It helped him see the world, and make sense of what he was seeing around him."
But not everyone was captivated by the Italian master's work. "I've seen better," one press photographer shrugged.
There's always one.
O'Garas jet in for Ronan's induction into Hall of Fame
The ballroom of the Doubletree by Hilton hosted a packed IRUPA awards on Wednesday night when Irish rugby players came out in force to support their association. I spotted Rob Kearney practising his speech as chairman of IRUPA before the event, with his brother Dave coming to support the association.
CJ Stander arrived with his wife Jean-Marie, who looked stunning in a short white crochet dress. And Ronan and Jess O'Gara literally just made their flight from Paris to make the start of the awards as he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Jess looked beautiful in a short navy blue lace dress.
Shane Byrne wandered the room with a mic asking questions to unsuspecting rugby players, past and present, much to the enjoyment of the 800-plus guests.
The event is now a staple in the rugby calendar with all provinces well represented. I spotted Joe Schmidt, Pat Lam and Anthony Foley from the management side of the sport and some of the new faces including Garry Ringrose, who took a night off studying for his UCD exams.
Bertie teaches Byrne to plámás Eurovision crowd
Kirsty Blake Knox
Eurovision hopeful Nicky Byrne has a game plan for getting ahead at this year's camp and kitsch song contest.
Byrne (below) is taking a leaf out of his father-in-law Bertie Ahern's book, and intends on plámásing the crowd like there's no tomorrow.
"I'll be popping into a good few Eurovision parties, like a good politician, to drum up the votes," he told reporters at Dublin airport.
Former Taoiseach Bertie and Nicky's wife Georgina will join Nicky next week to cheer him on.
"The whole family are heading over," he said. "I'm buzzing."
Nicky will perform single 'Sunlight' and is confident his on-stage performance will give the number some added oomph. "We have LED lights."
Sadly, however, he won't be rolling around stage naked with a load of wolves like the Belarusian entry.
"No that's not for me." Instead, Nicky will wear a rather jazzy leather jacket with chain detail.
"It's not your average jacket," he said.
Hats off to Treacy and pals for a night to remember
Hat designer Philip Treacy owns a smile that lights up a room, and the Galwegian had the widest grin - and was almost crying with laughter when I sat down with him for a chat before the Lexus Irish Fashion Collective show at TCD.
Philip and fashion designer Deborah Veale were enjoying a journey back in time, remembering their times together as students at the National College of Art and Design in the mid 1980s.
It's been an enduring friendship and Philip and his partner, Stefan Bartlett, hopped on a plane for the fundraiser that Deborah helped organise in aid of Saint Joseph's Shankill. Her dad, Ken, is cared for at the centre where they hope to develop Ireland's first dementia village.
Good job the Monkstown designer hadn't put on her mascara yet because the tears were rolling down her face - and Philip was bent over laughing - as the pair recounted tales of their student days.
"I got into the International Wool Secretariat competition with Eddie Shanahan in 1984, and after I made this black suit, Philip said 'do you know what, I'll make you a hat' so he made this fabulous black, twisted pixie hat.
"The clothes were stored in Jurys hotel and there was a break-in. The bloody hat was stolen but they left the suit behind," laughed Deborah.
"I came third in the competition and to this day, I often think, if only they had left the hat, I'm sure I could have won."
It was a reunion too, as they caught up with the third member of the pals triumvirate - namely Mari O'Leary.
"Mari was the biggest model in the country at that time and she was really kind to us, a very sweet person, and she would wear our designs to events," explained Philip. "I remember after moving to Dublin, I was in town one Saturday afternoon and I saw her on a street off Grafton Street, she was wearing a John Rocha coat, she looked amazing, I'd never seen people like this."
As friendship would have it, Mari did the PR for the show which was attended by Ali Hewson, designer Mariad Whisker and her daughter Domino who provided music for the show, the MC for show Lorraine Keane, ace hotel manager Marie Chalke, and Frances McDonagh, former head of design at NCAD where so many of the designers studied.
Philip is currently flat out with work - well it is the racing season - and when I enquired if he wears a hat himself, he was polite but direct: "I don't and Karl Lagerfeld doesn't wear dresses."
The three enjoyed a late supper and Philip and Stefan overnighted at The Conrad where, as it happens, Deborah designed the new staff uniforms.
The fabulous show was produced by Catherine Condell, and in the audience at the Dining Hall in Trinity College, I spotted Peter O'Brien and Umit Kutluk with his guests, the Turkish Ambassador Necip Eguz and his wife, as well as Carmel Breheny of M&S, and Mary Greene from Divine Boutique.
Food odyssey of Tipp top delicacies
Food, glorious food, and all from the county of Tipperary where my own Power roots stretch back to in Clonmel.
The spirit of meitheal was alive as the Tipperary Food Producers network welcomed the Guild of Fine Food and a host of international and Irish judges to the Great Taste Awards and a food safari around the county.
Charles Campion, known for Sky TV's The Greatest Dishes of the World, was over along with BBC Radio 2's Nigel Barden and many of the best chefs, buyers, restaurateurs and writers.
Coolmore Stud hosted the first event and judges and guests met Galileo, the crown jewel of the stud before a relaxed BBQ supper. It featured local products such as the famous James Whelan Butchers burgers and The Butcher's Daughter sausages, freshly made corn tortillas from Blanco Niño and breads, all washed down with delicious wines selected by Gary Gubbins of Clonmel's own Red Nose Wine. The night was rounded off with craic n'ceol at McCarthy's in Fethard.
Butcher Pat Whelan (pictured right with Charles Campion), is the chairman of Tipperary Food Producers. Pat brought home the top honour of Great Taste Supreme Champion 2015 for his beef dripping at the Great Taste Golden Forks Dinner, attended by the food world's royalty, in London last September.
During the three-and-a-half days of tastings around Tipperary, guests enjoyed a tour of the Rock of Cashel before strolling down the hill to Chez Hans. The six-course tasting menu included pulled pork ravioli from Crowes Farm and a fillet of Irish Piedmontese beef, with fondant potato cooked in... what else but beef dripping!
Vogue just says no to drug experiment
Kirsty Blake Knox
It seems the drugs don't, and won't, work for TV starlet Vogue Williams (above).
After announcing she was going to sample hallucinogenic drugs as part of her new RTÉ TV series, Vogue on the Edge, the DJ has now predictably decided against it.
"I don't think it's right for me or the show," she said. "Talking about drugs makes more sense."
Plus, that shtick might have been cutting edge many years ago, but it has been done to death. In the 1950s, British MP Christopher Mayhew took mescaline on the BBC's Panorama. Last year, there was the bizarre spectacle of Channel 4's Jon Snow smoking skunk on camera. I suppose some people will do anything for ratings.
Vogue was back in town this week to attend the Aussie Blog Awards. "I miss the Australian sunshine but prefer Irish tea," she said. You can take the girl out of Howth...