Sunday 18 March 2018

Society: A week of happy celebrations

Karen Fitzpatrick is pictured launching the shop, drop and flop initiative with Suesey Street's general manager John Healy
Karen Fitzpatrick is pictured launching the shop, drop and flop initiative with Suesey Street's general manager John Healy
Blathnaid Treacy at the red carpet opening night of Mary Poppins at The Bord Gais Energy Theatre Dublin
Blaithnaid Ni Chofaigh and niece Evelyn Coffey at Mary Poppins in Dublin
Aoibhinn McGinnity at the opening night of Mary Poppins. Photo: Brian McEvoy.
Elaine Donnelly and Sarah Jane Scaife at the launch of Stage and Screen Design Ireland - Highlights 2007- 2014. Photo: Arthur Carron
Singer/Musician Lorraine McDonald from Moate, Co Westmeath (centre) with Ciara Quinn and Natasha Carty of Catwalk Models, Galway
Glen Killane of RTE
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

Lots of happy celebrations this week starting at Suesey Street where popular TV foodie, John Healy, has joined the team as general manager and will be responsible for day-to-day operations in the Dublin restaurant located beside Leeson Street bridge.

It was packed as they are running a handy 'shop, drop and flop' offer so the ladies were coming back laden with goodies from retail therapy on Grafton Street.

John is maître ' on the TV show, The Restaurant, which returns to our screens on TV3 next month. He has loads of VIP fans from his days running the restaurant at the Four Seasons in Ballsbridge and it was lovely to see him looking so well three years after receiving his heart transplant in 2012.

Model Karen Fitzpatrick was there and told me that she will be spending Christmas at home in Kilkenny with her husband and family. John's New Year's Eve plans are to host a party at Suesey Street with live music from saxophonist Aneta Moran, who was classically trained at the Richard Strauss Conservatoire in Munich. We laughed about his party etiquette advice I heard him give in Anton Savage's show on Today FM. And yes, I agree, mobile phones have no place at a dinner party. And no, ladies shouldn't be texting across the dinner to each other while the hostess refreshes their low cal glasses of vodka and water.

Last Saturday, the great and the good came out for a Santa breakfast at the Merrion Hotel as it officially started its festive season. The Bugle Babes serenaded guests with classic jazz Christmas carols, Santa made a special appearance and guests were treated to horse drawn carriage rides around the Georgian splendour of Merrion Square. Back at the Merrion, I chatted with Debbie O'Donnell, executive editor of Xpose and Aisling O'Loughlin from the show who was there with her partner, Nick, and children. Culinary treats were in abundance with Rudolf inspired muffins and for the big kids, festive cocktails, and mini savoury bites specially prepared by executive head chef Paul Kelly, the Wexford man, aka the expert star on The Great Irish Bake Off' which has its finale tomorrow night.

Fashion designer Danielle Romeril has lots to celebrate after being chosen to receive AW16 NEWGEN support yet again for London Fashion Week and there were celebrations for her on Thursday when the [MADE] Store and gallery opened in the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre.

Franc enchants St John's Castle visitors

By Bairbre Power

I never need a second invitation to head to Limerick and this week, I was utterly enchanted to see Franc spread his magic dust across King John's Castle, one of the country's most historic castles located on a dramatic site Shannonside.

The country's best known events and wedding planner, Franc, the Corkman, has commandeered the 13th century castle and transformed it into a spectacular festive, virtual wonderland entitled 'Enchanted'.

Now I did warn you all about the incoming Storm Clodagh earlier in the month and I couldn't help thinking of Denis and Caroline Desmond's daughter, Storm, as the winds whipped up and it became a twitter phenomenon, ahead of Kim and Kanye's baby's arrival.

But Storm Desmond did nothing to put off Enchanted visitors and extra shows have been added for December 21 and 22.

Among the visitors headed there this weekend are birthday gal, Celia Holman Lee and her grandchildren.

Poppins practically perfect in every way

By Kirsty Blake Knox

'Wash your mouth out," an outraged theatre goer screeched at Pat Kenny at the opening of Mary Poppins at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre.

Kenny had committed the ultimate faux pas; slating Dame Julie Andrews in front of Poppins enthusiasts.

"I was a teenager when her movies were out. I didn't think she was cool," he said shrugging his shoulders.

"But I appreciate her and the movie now." But it was too little, too late.

Winning Streak host Marty Whelan was much more excitable.

"I'll fly my kite wherever and whenever I bloody want!" he said proudly. Following on from the success of his first book That's Life Marty is now considering writing a follow up.

"But it's only the germ of an idea at the moment. But I think it'll be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious don't you?

"Now I just have to tell my publisher. "

Presenter Blaithnaid Treacy was full of chat about her new 2FM show. Blaithnaid will take over From Maniac 2000 hit maker Mark McCabe.

"It's very exciting," she said. Mark recently left the station and is now gearing up to take on the role of resident DJ on the inaugural Copperface Jack's ski trip 'Party on the Piste' in Andorra next year.

Theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh was on hand to tell us all why we all love OCD nanny Poppins so much.

"She brings out the best in people - with a spoonful of sugar," he said. "I think that's why people love her after all these years. She has heart." She certainly pulled in a crowd with Aoibhinn McGinnity, comic Oliver Callan, model Daniella Moyles and actress Aoibheann Garrihy all discussing their favourite moments from the iconic 1964 film.

Colm Hayes leafed through the programme while weather wonder woman Jenny Buckley, author Cecelia Ahern and Brian Ormond collected tickets.

Rival soap stars Adam Weafer (of Red Rock) and Aoibhinn McCaul (Fair City) posed for the cameras while Irish vlogger Riyadh Khalaf told us about moving into a 'YouTube House' in London next year.

"We are going to film and vlog everyday," he said. "It'll be hectic and fun." Sounds it.

A touch of cloth for Meryl and Consolata

By Kirsty Blake Knox

Irish costume designer Consolata Boyle is reuniting with her old pal - Oscar winner Meryl Streep no less - to work on upcoming flick Florence Foster Jenkins.

Set in the 1940s, the movie is all about heiress Florence, who became an opera singer best known for her utterly dismal singing skills. The film also stars raffish actor Hugh Grant and is being shot in Manhattan.

Consolata and Meryl previously worked together on The Iron Lady.

"Every film I work on is my favourite," Consolata said at the launch of new book Stage and Screen Design Ireland Highlights 2007 - 2014.

"Meryl is a joy to work with."

As its rather clunky title suggests, the book celebrates iconic costumes and sets from some of the country's most successful productions including Vikings, Ripper Street, Waiting for Godot and The Dead. Joan Bergin launched the book in the Irish Theatre Institute. "These costumes hold a lot of creative memory," she said.

"Let's not forget that."

Glamazons out in force for show

By Bairbre Power

The glamazons were out in force in Athlone on Sunday last when Olivia Danielle hosted a fashion showcase and drinks party and sure, with so many gorgeous labels around us, we ended up compiling lists for Style Santa that included lots of Paule Ka, Sonia Pena and Nissa.

Olivia's was flanked by her sister Jose, and mum, Breda and the welcoming food was a truly local affair with canapés coming from the Wine Port down the road in Glasson.

Sarah, from the new coffee shop and deli next door, served lovely mulled wine to the guests including long-time customers who travelled through floods in east Galway for the festive fashion showcase featuring models from Mandy Maher's Catwalk Model Agency.

I met singer Lorraine McDonald whose dad, Frankie, played with the Joe Dolan Band for 40 years. The Co Monaghan man left the Army Band and joined Joe Dolan and The Drifters, playing trumpet with that legendary showband up to Joe Dolan's last show in late 2007.

Lorraine looked fab in Heidi Higgins who I expect to see lots of at the races over the holidays. Chatting with Galway milliner, Suzie Mahony in Athlone on Sunday, she will be busy with Christmas racing commissions right up to Christmas Eve.

Glen keeps his own counsel over  RTE top job

Glen Killane of RTE

By Kirsty Blake Knox

There's fierce speculation in 'meeja' circles  these days about who'll succeed RTE's Director General Noel Curran when he steps down next year.

Especially since TV3's David McRedmond's announced he's leaving his telly home in Ballymount.

But RTE MD Glen Killane (above) was remaining coy at the opening of the Abbey's latest production of George Bernard Shaw's You Never Can Tell.

Asked whether or not he was going for the biggest gig in Irish TV Glen replied; "I have decided to keep my counsel." So that's a Yes then.

There was a boisterous mood in the foyer as the curtain went up. Gay Byrne seemed a little concerned to hear the play was three hours long.

"Oh my," he said. "Let's just hope there are a few laughs along the way."

Gay is looking forward to a chilled out Christmas sans festive knits. "I had to wear woolly jumpers when I presented The Late Late Show and it was terrible - I sweated like a pig and hated them." Yikes!

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