Ireland and Munster rugby veteran- turned-pundit Donal Lenihan made a very entertaining guest of honour at The Ireland Funds' ninth annual rugby lunch at The Shelbourne.
The suits were out in force and I chatted with (1) hotelier John Fitzpatrick, Chairman of The Ireland Funds America, pictured here with Melanie Morris, editor-in-chief of Image magazine, and Moira Murphy, the MD of Kennedy PR + Brand. John flew in for the fundraiser but was missing the France game, as he had a date with a snowboard!
Kieran McLoughlin, CEO of The Ireland Funds worldwide, proved yet again to be a very engaging speaker, and he welcomed guests including former internationals and Ireland Funds board members Hugo MacNeill and Trevor Ringland. Full of stories, what with 52 international caps under his belt, Donal was very diplomatic in his comments on Irish rugby - but, in the end, the Corkman couldn't help but declare he loved the colour of RTÉ journalist Joanne Cantwell's red dress.
At the reception beforehand, I joined designer Louise Kennedy chatting with Michael Flatley, above.
The previous evening, I was blown along the M6 to the Galway Hospitality Industry Ball at the Galway Bay Hotel. Storm Doris luckily didn't prevent this year's guest of honour, Connacht Rugby head coach Pat Lam from attending the soirée. Despite wind warnings and flight delays around the country, Pat made quite the entrance, flying in directly from Bristol, where he'll be taking up a new coaching position once the Connacht season ends. In a heartfelt speech, Pat spoke of how humbled he is by the support of the people of Galway. Photographed with lots of fans and Lorna Byrne, fiancée of Connacht captain John Muldoon, above, Pat bid farewell by getting everyone in the room on their feet to teach them his hilarious dance to Rock the Boat - proving that his swift footwork isn't just limited to the rugby pitch!
Before Christmas, it was all about bespoke cocktails and speciality gin bars, which PRs turned to for their festive point of difference. Now it seems that breakfast launches are all the rage. Just as well, then, that I'm a morning person - which comes from my days soldiering on The Herald, when I'd have two coffees onboard before first light. Last week, I was invited to no less than three breakfast events, including M&S's fashion breakfast to launch their Spring/Summer 2017 collection, where I caught up with (above) Carmel Breheny, M&S Ireland's marketing manager, as well as visiting style director Belinda Earl, pictured with Ciara O'Kelly, below.
Congrats to Pestle & Mortar founder Sonia Deasy, a mum of five from Newbridge who's off to Pennsylvania to sell her skincare range on QVC, the shopping channel with a global audience of 200million!
Psst! The happiest dog in Ireland is surely Fynn the Cockapoo. He’s been reunited with Xposé’s Cassie Stokes after moving here from Canada last weekend with his other mum — Cassie’s partner, Kathleen. Good luck to the family as they set up their new home in Dublin
picture: Martina Regan Photography