Bairbre Power... Out and about
Our resident diarist calls into the best parties and events around the country
As blissfully rewarding summer nights go, this was beyond exceptional, and for the lucky few fortunate enough to be invited to the Summer Soirée hosted by the Westbury Hotel and the Dublin International Piano Competition (DIPC), the musical memories will stay with us forever.
Picture the scene: three internationally acclaimed Irish pianists aged 69 down to 10 performing for us at the Westbury which sits, appropriately, on Balfe Street, named after the Irish opera composer Michael Balfe, the man who penned the iconic I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls.
Our musical evening was attended by supporters of the DIPC, like the families who open their homes to allow competitors to practise, or to drive them to events, and was kicked off by the ever smiling John O'Conor who, the Washington Post famously described as an artist who "has the kind of flawless touch that makes an audience gasp" - and he did just that.
Rising star, Cork Pres schoolboy, Kevin Jansson (15) pictured with John O'Conor and Vincent O'Gorman, GM of the Westbury, above, performed and told me he is off to Switzerland next month to record his first CD. Joe O'Grady (10), pictured, main photo, with his dad and mum, Brian and Rachel, gave a mesmerising performance, especially his playful rendition of Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee, and his talent stunned the audience which included the French and Chinese Ambassadors to Ireland.
I chatted with John's wife, Mary O'Conor, pictured with Doctors David and Reita Powell, above. If the name rings a bell, you might remember her as Reita Faria who was crowned Miss World in 1966 and who moved to Dublin after meeting her Irish medic husband in London.
Congrats to popular Galway milliner, Edel Ramberg and her husband, Philip Black, who have welcomed their first baby, Vivienne Ava into the world three weeks early. She is a darling and already has her dad wrapped around her little finger.
As if we didn't have enough great style out at Ballybrit, I headed back to the g Hotel to cheer on my fellow Galway Races judges, Melanie Morris and Louise Duffy, pictured above with Triona Barret, (centre) GM of the g Hotel. The pair were booked to judge the Best Hat after the races and with a €2k Philip Treacy chapeau up for grabs, the place was rammed. Earlier, I popped into the Meyrick Hotel on Eyre Square to say hi to their GM, Cian O'Broin and I was delighted to see Army Captain Catherine Lundon take their Best Dressed award, pictured below, wearing an Umit Kutluk pant suit she wore for her Weekend mag cover shoot in May.