The Diary: Guests have a ball at black tie fundraiser
Pre-drinks on the balcony always add to the build-up of a great night out. The lawn of Ballygarry House Hotel, Tralee, was the perfect backdrop for the start of the inaugural Primrose Black Tie Gala Ball last Friday.
Over 300 people attended the event held in aid of Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA), and in memory of Tommy Brosnan.
The evening was organised by Tommy Brosnan's family - his three daughters, Kate, Niamh and Aisling (pictured right), his son Niall and his wife Marelda.
The night commenced with a champagne reception on the lawn and musical entertainment in the Pavilion, followed by a sumptuous meal with wines, auction, raffle and musical entertainment late into the night.
Newstalk presenter and journalist, Jonathan Healy MC'd the night and special guests included Dr Helena Moore, neurologist, rugby star Alan Quinlan, and former Kerry footballers Eoin Liston and Darragh Ó Sé.
There was also a special live performance of The Spa in County Kerry by Dave Buckley, which was written by Dave Brosnan and his late brother Tommy, and the night raised substantial funds for IMNDA.
Mid-week the action moved to Galway where John Ryan of the Ardilaun Hotel in Taylor's Hill toasted the success of their 'Bubbly Brunch' which takes place tomorrow.
The invite-only event is being MC'd by John Brennan of RTÉ's At Your Service and the idea is to give bridal-parties-to-be an excuse to brunch together and talk weddings.
On Wednesday evening, women with a mission converged straight after work on the Marker Hotel.
Tempted to sit outside in the glorious sunshine, we all had a joint date (think 300 women and one man) with celebrity fitness trainer, James Duigan, who has put the words "clean and lean" on the lips of women worldwide.
James had flown in from his Bodyism gym and wellbeing centre in the beautiful Maldives and ticked a day of interviews, including one with Pat Kenny at Newstalk who were event partners on the venture.
Melanie Morris, Editor in Chief at Image Publications (who is herself an expert on all things nutritional) asked the questions while we took notes and munched on a delicious, super healthy salad of sprouted broccoli with a vial of lemon dressing
James Duigan who trains the likes of Elle Macpherson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Hugh Grant and David Gandy, is alarmingly straight-talking and he maintains that the best piece of equipment you have is your body and the most powerful tool is your brain.
It was a night full of laughs - most triggered by James who has a great sense of humour and is very funny and self-deprecating, but he got the message across loud and clear and we walked out promising to ditch sugar.
"I can't believe I walked away from the offer of a white wine for a green juice, this is a first," laughed one socialite who confessed she wants to drop weight way beyond her annual three-month sojourn in Portugal.
'Love/Hate' tough guy near to tears at his own wedding
Former Love/Hate star Ian Lloyd Anderson is an old softie really. The newlywed was still flying high after saying his 'I Dos' earlier this month.
Ian and Kim Harris tied the knot at Rathsallagh House, Co Wicklow. "I nearly cried," he said. "But my best mate clocked it and muttered 'get it together' so I managed not to. But Kim was like a machine - no tears."
And were any of the Love/Hate crew in attendance? "I got a text from Tom Vaughan Lawlor (Nidge) the night before." Bet that didn't help ease the pre-wedding nerves.
Ian is in the middle of rehearsal for the 50th anniversary of The Gaiety Theatre's John B Keane's The Field.
Michael Harding takes on the lead role of 'The Bull' McCabe while Fair City's Geoff Minogue - who recently starred as Rory McIlroy's old man in the Nike ad - plays Father Murphy.
"I play a good bit of golf so I think that swung it," he said. Aidan McArdle, who plays the dastardly Lord Loxley in Mr Selfridge, plays William Dee.
Having ducked out of the rehearsal room I headed over to the Solomon Art Gallery to take a peek at sculptor to the stars Orla De Bri's latest exhibition Flux.
Author Cecelia Ahern, Yvonne Keating, Jackie Lavin and Bill Cullen, Dylan McGrath, Norma Smurfit and Bono's buddy Guggi all wandered about the place admiring the bronze antler horn, branches and obelisks.
"It has been a bit of a roller coaster getting it all together," De Bri admitted. "I wasn't sure it would all come together until we unloaded it in the gallery."
Producer Moya Doherty was doing the honours and launching the exhibition. "Orla is so elegant and gentle in person and then you see her transform into this mechanic when she's bending and shaping all this metal," she said. "It's quite the transformation."
Moya is currently working on a new commemorative show for 1916 in conjunction with the Royal College of Surgeons. "And we're bringing Riverdance to Cork for the first time so that's very exciting," she said. The people's republic won't know what's hit it.
Parties for Punchestown are off and running
Lemongrass of Naas and Citywest hosted a lively party on Monday night to mark their fourth year sponsoring the Punchestown 'Leading Trainer and Jockey Award' which will be announced next Saturday.
Sporting and racing personalities as well as local business leaders attended the party including jockey Ruby Walsh, Irish Grand National winning trainer Sandra Hughes, Bill Cullen, Jackie Lavin and PR and marketing consultant, Tamso Doyle (left), who hasn't missed a Punchestown festival since she was a child. She is heading to Limerick today where she is organising the Molony Brothers race to raise funds for the Injured Jockeys fund and Sheikh Fahad Al Thani of Qatar is riding the race!
"Next Thursday is girls day out at Punchestown and I'm looking forward to bringing my daughters India and Isla to the family day on Saturday when Clondaw Warrior, the horse I own with the ACTDWAG syndicate is running," said Tamso.
The night featured a fashion show from Aria Boutique and Lemongrass hostess Camilla Grey pampered us with canapes of Thai beef salad, fresh tuna and avocado tartare and tempura of prawn makisushi. Master of ceremonies was former Apprentice judge and PR consultant, the charming Brian Purcell.
All aboard Ireland's 'Orient Express'
If I needed any more proof after my visit to Ashford Castle last week that people are back spending on holidays, it came on Tuesday at the Winter Garden in the National Gallery of Ireland where luxury travel group Belmond unveiled their Grand Tours of Ireland.
Gary Franklin, MD of Belmond who operate the famous Venice-Simplon Orient Express, was the man who came up with the idea of a 'country house on wheels' and he welcomed guests including Michelin chefs, Kevin Thornton and Derry Clarke (right) to view the Grand Hibernian luxury sleeper train which goes on rails in August 2016.
Lorraine Keane looked fab, back from 10 days at her French home with her daughters and husband, and Ryan Tubridy called by as he loves trains - well, his late grandfather, Todd Andrews, was boss at CIE for years. A glossy guest list sipped Laurent Perrier champagne and Marty Whelan reduced me to tears of laughter as he described meeting Van Morrison in Belfast "and we swapped our CDs with each other," said Marty, with a twinkle in his eye, explaining that Van The Man's 'Moondance' is on his debut CD, Marty Recommends.
Prices on the luxury sleeper from Dublin-Belfast-Portrush start from €3,160 per person for two-night journey or €5,420 for four and within hours of the story going out on independent.ie, it has 25,000 hits.
Birthday bash for rapper's delight as Hennessy celebrates 250 years
Fun Fact: Hennessy is the most named dropped liquor in the history of rap music.
Kanye, Snoop, Ice Cube and Ludicris can't get enough of the stuff.
But I'm afraid Busta Rhymes is more of a Courvoisier man - I guess you can't win them all.
This year, the amber coloured spirit is celebrating its 250th anniversary by taking their exclusive 250 Collectors Blend on a world tour.
And this week the House of Hennessy arrived in Dublin for the oh-so exclusive Irish Gala Dinner.
RTÉ broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan (right) was hosting the shindig and shimmered in a gold sequinned gúna.
Publishing powerhouse Norah Casey, novelist Dermot Bolger, and fashion designer Helen Steele all floated about the ornate surroundings of Dublin City Hall.
Photographer Anton Corbijn - the chap famous for snapping David Bowie, Joy Division, Clint Eastwood and our very own Bono, had taken silver-tinged portraits of the good folk who make Hennessey.
After enjoying a cocktail or three, guests took their seats while Master Blender and Taster, Yann Fillioux, told us about different eaux de vie and decanters.
Horse trainer Willie Mullins, musician Donal Lunny and artist Nick Miller were presented with gleaming awards before James Vincent McMorrow took to the stage, serenading the troupes.
"Isn't it all so magical?" Norah Casey asked.
Next stop on the Collectors Blend Tour is Moscow's New Manege after which Maison H will hot foot it to New York's Lincoln Centre.
"Talk about a high flying spirit," one socialite said as she dashed out the door.
Bronzed bloggers and blaggers at Tanchella
Is that a two-man tent and a pair of ill-fitting denim hot pants I see before me?
Why it can only mean one thing; festival season is around the corner.
To get us into the swing of things Irish fake bake brand KARORA invited scenesters to 'TANchella' - see what they did there?
There was plenty of chit chat about festival checklists - wet wipes, dry shampoo and a fleece were all deemed essential.
As far as schytle is concerned? "It's all about bindis, braids and bumbags," one stylist told me.
"Hot pants are out but fringing and suede are both in." So now you know.
The penthouse of the Morgan Hotel was bustling. Artist Issey Conway sketched pictures of bloggers and blaggers, Michelle O'Connor weaved tresses into up-dos, while Arefa Ali carefully traced henna tattoos on to open palms. Fortune teller Daniella Vierling set up camp in the corner of the roof garden and told anxious looking ladies and gents what this summer has in store for them.
"I am seeing and supporting you, for you," she explained. Right so.
Founder of KARORA and self-proclaimed 'Bronzing Queen' Karen Brown dashed about the place offering up sage tan advice.
"Irish women love to lash on the fake tan but remember," she warned. "Don't over do it."
Andrea Horan of Tropical Popical nail bar talked to PR guru James Alan Kavanagh. TV3 stylist Justine King sipped a cocktail while soaking up the first of the summer sun.