Saturday 24 August 2019

Society: Sallyanne in presidential blue

Kevin Thornton and Sally Anne Clarke at The Merrion Hotel in Dublin.
Kevin Thornton and Sally Anne Clarke at The Merrion Hotel in Dublin.
Maria McEnery ,Michelle Maguire and Tracey Dineen pictured at the launch of the 2016 Edition of Ireland's Blue Book at The Merrion Hotel Dublin. Photo: Brian McEvoy.
Susan Jane White and Bressie pictured at the tenth annual Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2015 which took place in The Double Tree by Hilton Hotel.
Francis Brennan and Louise O'Neill at the book awards
Louise Cooney and Lauren Arthurs at this morning's Alex and Ani Talk series, Fallon & Byrne, Dublin.
Marguerite Naughton with daughter Hildegarde at Anthony Ryans, Galway. Photo Martina Regan
Una Leahy and Sarah Doyle pictured at the splendiferous preview of Hendrick's Chambers of the Curious
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

Marty Whelan has another career waiting for him in the sidelines, if he wants it - as a stand up comic!

His book, That's Life, is climbing through the bestsellers list and the Lyric FM presenter was in sparkling form when he MC'd the launch of the 2016 edition of Ireland's Blue Book at The Merrion Hotel on Wednesday.

Marty had the guests in fits of laughter and there was a big turn out including Minister of State, Michael Ring, TD, Senator Catherine Noone, and TV3's Aisling O'Loughlin (who is blooming through her third pregnancy).

Chefs Kevin Thornton and Kevin Dundon who used to have a TV show together were in great form as was the ever glamorous Sallyanne Clarke who has taken over as president of Ireland's Blue Book from Catherine Dundon of Dunbrody House who did such a fine job. Swapping her usual work attire of Little Black Dress for a Little Blue Dress for the evening, Sallyanne told how thrilled she is to take over as president "because these are such exciting times in the industry".

After the formalities, I chatted with the Scally family, proprietors of the Killarney Royal, who are one of the six new editions to the guide book this year.

It's always a delight to catch up with chef-about-town Andrew Rudd. When he's not in the kitchen cooking up a storm, he's busy organising some of Dublin's most memorable events and dining experiences. And he was in fine form this week, knee-deep in menus and party plans as he and his team at Medley get ready for the festive season.

Andrew told me how he is relocating to impressive new premises on Fleet Street early next month. It marks a new chapter for our favourite host, who never fails to please the crowd.

Over the years, he hosted some amazing events at Medley in Drury Street including Mundy's 40th last summer with live music from the maestro himself.

He also hosted parties attended by former president, Mary Robinson, Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan, TV presenter Eamonn Holmes and former Dragons Niall O'Farrell, Bobby Kerr, and Nora Casey. Andrew's enthusiasm is palpable. He's using a novel way to part fund the project by joining up with the guys in Linked Finance.

"They've helped source crowd lending for hundreds of local businesses - everything from the butcher and baker to candlestick maker!"

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

By Bairbre Power

Lots of Christmas cheer at Dublin's chq on Thursday evening for the official opening of I Believe, a festive village where we watched, with Santa, the lighting of the capital's first 50ft Christmas tree.

I bumped into glamorous retailing sisters, Melissa and Michelle O'Gorman Group Buying Director and Retail Area Manager of the Kilkenny Group which has stores all over the country but this year, they have opened up a Christmas pop up shop at the chq dockland's location where they are only selling the very best of Irish brands including Orla Kiely, Newbridge Silverware and Max Benjamin candles.

Talking of successful siblings, the Van den Bergh brothers, Mark and David are Ireland's candle kings and they run the brand which is named after their nephews, Max and Ben, the sons of their sister, Orla, founder of the company.

Francis joins literati at Book Awards

By Kirsty Blake Knox

'I'm a wallflower really," At Your Service star Francis Brennan said wandering down the red carpet at the Irish Book Awards.

"I'm not used to all this fuss. I'd rather be in the corner eating a hang sandwich." Oh come off it, Francis!

Brennan joined Ireland's literary heavyweights at the Double Tree by Hilton in Ballsbridge for the 10th annual Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards. Children's Laureate Eoin Colfer was full of chat about penning Marvel's next Iron Man novel.

"I don't know if I will get to meet Robert Downey Jr," he laughed. "I think we're all going to Comic Con next year so, perhaps, but either way I'm having a lot of fun writing it." Colfer's best selling novel Artemis Fowl is currently being adapted for the silver screen by Conor MacPherson. "And Kenneth Branagh is starring," he said. Niall 'Bressie' Breslin arrived with his model other half, Rozanna Purcell, and was delighted to pick up the Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year award for Me and My Mate Jeffrey.

"My old English teacher is probably raging," Bressie said. "I can't spell at all." Chef Donal Skehan talked about moving to LA with his wife Sofie early next year.

"We fly out in February. I am really just going for the tan," Donal joked.

Author Louise O'Neill, who won Specsavers Children's Book of the Year with Asking For It, was enjoying a well earned night on the tiles.

"I spend so much of my time in my pyjamas in front of a computer screen so getting dressed up and drinking champagne is lovely."

TV presenter Ryan Tubridy dashed through the doors as the ceremony was about to start."He's been busy working on the Toy Show," one of his team said. Fellow broadcaster Joe Duffy scooped a gong for his best seller Children of the Rising. "It started out as an egg, then grew into an idea, then a project and then a movement," Joe said. And Laureate for Irish Fiction Anne Enright spoke about potential film adaptations.

'Scared' Louise ready for her next

By Kirsty Blake Knox

Having received rave reviews for her documentary F**k Cancer, 2FM's Louise McSharry is now writing a book all about her life.

"It's about my childhood and cancer and career stuff," she said.

"And I am so scared about it. I cannot begin to tell you how terrified I am." Louise was on hosting duties at Alex and Ani's latest Talk Series in the Ballroom of Dublin's Fallon & Byrne this week.

The morning aimed to ''enlighten, enchant and empower" a room full of ladies - and two slightly self conscious looking gents. She was joined on stage by comedian Deirdre O'Kane and former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh. Maria admitted she is still acclimatising to life without the sash.

"It takes some time getting used to being sash less - it was my barrier," she said. Meanwhile, O'Kane informed us all about her preparation for a comedy tour.

During the course of the breakfast pow-wow, the trio dished out sage advice while we all tucked into warm croissants and supped mugs of tea.

Night for mums  and daughters

By Bairbre Power

The Shelbourne Hotel's Style Butler Marietta Doran teamed up with Catwalk Model's owner Mandy Maher in Galway on Wednesday night to host an evening of style for Mums and Daughters at Anthony Ryans store on Shop Street.

Senator Hildegarde Naughten attended with her mum, Marguerite.

The uber glam Hildegarde must have been eyeing some sensible shoes given that canvassing for the elections is only around the corner.

Showcasing the newest brands at Anthony Ryans were some well known Galway mums and their daughters including milliner Gillian Duggan and her mum Breege, Caroline Garvey-Downey from Galway Now magazine and her mum Phil, and Tuam milliner Caithriona King and mum Nora.

More than 150 attended and enjoyed a reception and mini makeovers from Late Night University Pharmacy's Lancôme makeup artist Eileen Hegarty.

Special prizes included a pampering package at the G Hotel, a Furla bag, and Louise Kennedy crystal.

A curious night of stiff drinks and strange antics

By Kirsty Blake Knox

If there's one thing any self respecting hipster loves - aside from check shirts, moustache twirling and Victoriana paraphernalia - it's a strong gin bevy.

So Hendrick's Chambers of Curiosity - which rolled into town this week - was nothing short of hipster haven. At one stage I even saw a woman play a tea pot like it was a flute!

"She's with the band Twin Headed Wolf," a 'Lumbersexual' informed me.

The topsy-turvy setting of Dublin's 12 Henrietta Street had been transformed into a consortium of the weird and wonderful.

A group of questionable 'scientists' performed various experiments on guests, including Una Healy and Sarah Doyle, to heighten our appreciations of gin. There were worried glances when one 'doctor' presented us with a human brain to eat. Thankfully, it turned out to be panna cotta.

Guests headed to an apothecary bar where mixologists shook together some seriously stiff drinks.

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