Society: Hats off to a very stylish few weeks
I'm going to be a tad sad putting away my big hats this weekend, but after two busy Best Dressed competitions seven days apart, I think my feet, and tweeting finger, deserve a rest.
The style action moved to Dublin's RDS showgrounds on Thursday where Dundrum Town centre hosted their first Ladies Day. Don Nugent, manager of DTC, hosted a lovely lunch in the Dodder attended by JJ Jordan, Sarah Lynch and other fashionistas. My fellow judge Pippa O'Connor looked chic in Karen Millen and a hat by Jennifer Wrynne and was thrilled to share the news that her Pippa Palette with Blank Canvas has sold out in two weeks.
Later that evening, I was invited along to what has now become the most coveted invitation of Dublin Horse Show week, the Pre-Aga Khan Team Ireland Owners reception in the Intercontinental hotel.
It looks like Michael Cullen, Investec's well-known CEO, having seen the Investec Epsom Derby in action, is now looking to showjumping as a great place to meet and entertain clients. Also from Investec and greeting guests at the door was Nigel Poynton, Head of Wealth and Investments and a keen show jumper himself along with his wife Helena, and their head of marketing Jacinta Nangle.
The who's who from the equestrian world was in attendance including Olympic medallist Cian O'Connor and his wife Ruth, Bertram Allen, who is ranked in the top 10 riders in the world, Shane Breen and his wife Chloe. Conor Swail and his stunning wife Chrissie came along with Vanessa Mannix.
Georgina Bloomberg (Michael Bloomberg's daughter) popped in to catch up with the party organiser Tamso Doyle whom she met at the glamorous Wellington horse show in Florida last year. The Dublin Horse Show is one of Tamso's favourite weeks of the year having competed in the show as a child on her pony and she has not missed it since.
Greg Broderick, who is making a mark on the showjumping world having won the first class of the week, was there too.
Top eventing riders Aoife Clarke and Mark Kyle flew in from their UK bases for the party and enjoyed meeting up with many of their team mates including Joseph Murphy, Sarah Ennis, Camilla Speirs, Fraser Duffy and Sam Watson as they discussed their preparations for Rio 2016.
Other faces it was lovely to see included rider Edward Doyle and his wife Catherine, Barry and Sally O'Connor, Goffs Country's dashing Andrew Nolan, Gavin Duffy and his wife Orlaith Carmody and Horseware's jovial boss Tom MacGuinness who made the presentations to the Irish Team Owners ahead of Friday's Aga Khan Nations Cup along with HSI's Damian McDonald and Professor Pat Wall.
Guests enjoyed wine, bubbles and the best of Irish produce, while harpist Amy McAllister impressed the international guests with her repertoire.
Time out on the terrace for MPW
By Bairbre Power
Leinster rugby hearts are beating faster now that Johnny Sexton is back in the blue fold and it was lovely to see him out enjoying a relaxed family Bank Holiday brunch with his wife and young son at The Greenery restaurant in Donnybrook.
The D4 village is undergoing quite a foodie rush, with a new Italian, Fornos, opening on The Crescent beside the chic interiors store, Rowells.
And talking of interiors touches, Marco Pierre White's Courtyard Bar & Grill on Belmont Avenue has been made spick and span with a lovely new terrace and canopy before the arrival of the main man and the cameras.
MPW arrives into town next week to film the new series of TV3's The Restaurant, sponsored by Aldi. I'm not in the least bit surprised that applications from hopeful diners increased four-fold.
You just never know what the legendary chef is going to say, and I bet he'll be wearing Irish tweed.
Miriam and Mansergh on EP line-up
By Kirsty Blake Knox
You might not have broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan down as the welly-wearing, glo stick-waving, festival-going type. But turns out the Prime Time host loves nothing more than heading down to Stradbally for Electric Picnic.
"I've got my wellies ready," Miriam told me this week. "Hopefully I won't need them. It's my sixth year going to EP, so I am well prepared."
Miriam will be teaming up with comedian Al Porter to host a 'Late Late Chat Show' in the chilled out Mindfield area.
I was a tad surprised to hear Former Fianna Fáil TD Martin Mansergh will also be taking to the stage at EP. Mansergh will be talking about Charles Haughey (surprise, surprise) and the 1916 celebrations.
Meanwhile, Rex Ryan, son of late broadcaster Gerry, will bring his show Pilgrim to the theatre tent if you fancy a little culture after slogging around in the mud.
Festival vibes seemed to engulf Dublin this week as Unilever threw their Personal Care Festival in the Morrison hotel.
Heineken Cup winner Isa Nacewa and Conor McGregor's trainer John Kavanagh were on hand to discuss the evolution of the "modern male".
"I might be an MMA coach but I still appreciate good moisturiser," John Kavanagh said.
Dubliner Kavanagh was full of chat about UFC champ McGregor and Icelandic fighter Gunnar Nelson's "ying and yang" relationship and the secrets of being a good coach.
"Guys aren't afraid of getting hurt, they're afraid of looking silly," he said. "So I just tell them they won't look ridiculous if they lose."
Model and Snapchat queen Holly Carpenter is relishing the single life and let us all in on her Instagram tricks and tips. "If you're not feeling hot just share a pic from a few weeks ago," she said. Simples.
There were Heidi-esque creations and gents were treated to hot towel shaves.
Jenny McGinn of OPSH is planning on expanding her fashion empire overseas. "It's exciting but I have no time to get my HD brows done," she lamented.
Thems the breaks I'm afraid.
Once everyone had carb loaded on BBQ treats and posed for vintage Polaroid snaps, we scarpered out the doors armed with our festival essentials (plenty of baby wipes).
'Love/Hate' star to take to stage in Miller classic
By Kirsty Blake Knox
There was plenty of excitement on Cavendish Row this week as rehearsals for the Gate Theatre's production of A View From the Bridge kicked off.
Having stepped down from the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, outspoken director Joe Dowling has returned to our shores and will helm Arthur Miller's classic play. "Terrific!" he exclaimed proudly leaving the rehearsal room on Tuesday. "We've just finished the first read-through and I'm already excited to get the audience in."
Former Love/Hate star Peter Coonan will play the part of Marco and has been perfecting his Italian American twang by binge-watching classic gangster films.
Coonan's late mother Betty starred in an amateur production of Miller's play and Coonan has been learning his lines off Betty's old script.
Lauren Coe, who played Juliet in Wayne Jordan's recent staging of Shakespeare's tragic romance, will play Catherine.
Revenge on menu for 'Once' director Carney
By Kirsty Blake Knox
Once director John Carney is using his latest film project to exact revenge on former school yard foes.
Carney has just finished editing Sing Street. Set in the 1980s, the coming of age flick stars Aidan Gillen and Belvedere boy Jack Reynor.
"It's a sort of wish fulfilment for me," he said. "I get to travel back in time to my school days, punish all the bullies and awful teachers and get the girl of my dreams."
The movie is due to hit the silver screen early next year and is being produced by one - if not, the - most powerful man in Hollywood; Harvey Weinstein.
"He is an old school producer," Carney said. "Formidable, like something from the 1930s."
Carney is already planning his next project; a US TV show, but right now his attention is back on musical Once which has just extended its run at the Olympia Theatre until September 12. "The secret to its success is its simplicity," he said. "You could write the plot on the back of a stamp."
Lisa Fitz is back on the fix-it trail
By Bairbre Power
Lisa Fitzpatrick was the picture of industry when I bumped into her in BT2 on Grafton Street this week where we were both hunting down newness from COS.
After a deliciously long summer of relaxing days and sandcastles in Brittas, Lisa is back in the grove, and fresh from talking layers on Ireland AM, she told me how she has nailed the first of her new season of FashionFix roadshows around the country.
And appropriately, Lisa kicks off her first in the family's Spencer Hotel in the IFSC on September 19, and before that, she is judging Best Dressed at Killarney on August 22.
When we met, Lisa was dashing off to Brown Sugar on South William Street to get her roots done, but we made plans to go racing at Leopardstown next Thursday, where The Human League are performing, and there are the finals of the Beacon Hotel 'Dare to be Different' Style Awards.
Seven finalists from the summer heats have been asked to return with a new look and outfit for the finale.
"It should be a great night and Alan Hughes will be doing it with me so it should be a bit of fun and you never know who you might meet," said Lisa, with a smile.
Last time she said that, the mystery guest at her FashionFix show turned out to be no less than Louis Walsh.