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How socialite and the solicitor to the stars became hot topic for gossip columnists

THE glamorous blonde and the legal eagle with the cheshire cat grin are known for their penchant for all things sparkly, a jet-setting lifestyle and their prominence on Ireland's social scene.

The gregarious pinstripe-suited solicitor Gerald Kean and beauty-salon owner Lisa Murphy are instantly recognisable as they are regularly photographed in the society pages of glossy magazines.

They are known as 'party people' and are frequently snapped dining in fine restaurants, sipping champagne in hotels, frequenting big parties and jetting abroad each Christmas to Miami.

Yet, behind the scenes, the engaged couple are praised for their charitable work, with many friends of the solicitor eager to point out that he is very loyal and also swift to provide advice.

Lisa first dipped a stillettoed toe into the social scene on the arm of the 'Riverdance' star Michael Flatley.

It was a long way from a suburban upbringing in Ballinteer, Dublin, when the shy girl was photographed on beaches in Barbados with the Chicago-born, Irish-American dancer.

Flatley had surprised her with a diamond-encrusted Cartier engagement ring at a party in Monte Carlo. Yet, after around five years together, the couple split in 2004. Flatley went on to wed fellow dancer Niamh O'Brien.

In 2006, 'solicitor to the stars' Gerald split from his first wife, fellow solicitor Clodagh Hopkins, to whom he had been married for 20 years. The couple have a daughter together. Since opening his solicitor's firm, he had built up a list of clientele including footballers, artists and musicians.

Gerald and Clodagh were also known to enjoy a high-profile lifestyle, and she flew her husband and 70 of his closest friends to Paris for his 40th birthday in 1997. A private jet was also hired to bring the pair plus 150 guests to a ball in a castle near Salzburg, Austria, a few years later.

Gerald and Lisa met through mutual friends in the Ice Bar of the Four Seasons Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. After a few years of dating, they got engaged in December 2009, with a Sotheby's diamond ring to mark the occasion.

The gregarious solicitor showed his romantic side by getting down on bended knee in the smoking section of their favourite pub, the private members-only club Residence, surrounded by her family. He had intended to propose while on holiday in Miami.

"In my relationship with Michael, we were very quiet, I wouldn't have been out as much," Lisa told the Irish Independent in an interview last year.

"Gerald is so much more gregarious," the beautician who runs New Lisa Life, a salon in Sandycove, said.

"I'm going to a lot more things and meeting more people, and getting my own business has helped," she added.

Her fiance -- who is 16 years older than her -- also talked of his busy lifestyle.

"I spend every day of my life helping others; whether that is portrayed in the media or not doesn't interest me," Gerald said in the same interview.

"I travel the country all week and any appearances I do for charities, I insist the fees go to the charity. I get footballers and musicians involved in fundraising."

Gerald has appeared on television shows such as 'Celebrity Bainisteoir' and 'The Restaurant'; for her part, Lisa has starred in the reality series 'Driving Me Crazy'.

She's also regarded as having a strong influence on slimming down the once-expanding waistline of the man who admitted loving big meals and desserts. After he was diagnosed with diabetes, the slim blonde revealed she sent him to the gym to shed the pounds.

The couple have revealed they plan to tie the knot in Gerald's home county of Cork and are considering requests from a camera crew seeking to film their wedding -- however, they have not yet set a date.

Irish Independent