Thursday 19 April 2018

The Edge: Lisa at Dromoland? It's a case of another Cannon in the castle

Lisa Cannon
Lisa Cannon
President Michael D Higgins with brothers Patrick (left) and Frank Cassidy
Meraid and her late husband Patrick at last year's ball
Lucy Nagle introduced her latest collection in BTs
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

Whatever will they think of next? Married couples going away to mark their anniversary? What an age we live in.

I'll give you an expose. Last night, Lisa Cannon - who recently departed Xpose after a decade on the TV3 show - and her husband Richard Keatley celebrated their first wedding anniversary in Dromoland Castle in Newmarket-on-Fergus in Co Clare.

Lisa and Richard clearly have a thing about castles, because - need I remind you? - they got married in the fairytale Castello di Vincigliata in Florence in Italy in front of over 100 guests.

This time Lisa and Richard commemorated their big day last night in Dromoland Castle with just an audience of two: each other.

That is - apart from the team at Michael O'Doherty's VIP magazine who popped along to record the intimate celebrations for the next edition of the glossy organ.

The castle, once upon a time the ancestral home of the Kings of Thomond, is close to the relatively newlyweds' hearts. "We spent New Year's Eve there on our first as husband and wife," gushed Lisa. "So it's only fitting that we go back and enjoy some anniversary celebrations there too!

"I'm looking forward to spending some quality time together as the last few weeks have been busy. I was also away in Ibiza for a week at the beginning of September with seven girlfriends. So now it's time to unwind with my hubby of a year."

To help them unwind in advance, they also had recent trips away to another castle, Castle Leslie in Monaghan, and The Merchant Hotel (sadly, not a castle) in Belfast. It was in the Red Room of the former establishment, Castle Leslie, that Richard and Lisa exchanged wedding anniversary gifts.

"Everything from to a beautiful watch, to a framed picture of him and his groomsmen in a walking Martin Scorsese shot in their sunglasses in Florence, a weekend away; he gave me a slip of paper, which is the symbol for a first wedding anniversary, with a holiday on it!" said Lisa, not saying where.

"I also got a stunning handbag. I'm a lucky girl."

Don't hate her all at once.

The other Don turns Holly into Hepburn for the red carpet in Los Angeles

Holly Taylor in the Don O'Neill creation at the Emmys

Anyone who watched Donald Trump last week 'debating' with Hillary Clinton will be forgiven for thinking Trump has the intellectual capacity of a dysfunctional and terrifyingly narcissistic, even pathological, even bonkers, 18-year-old in a hissy fit.

At the recent 68th Annual Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, there was an actual 18-year-old who captured the imagination of many for the right reasons.

I speak, of course, of Holly Taylor, star of FX television series The Americans. I can reveal the reason why she looked so splendid at the Emmys. She was wearing a creation by my good pal, Don O'Neill. "She came back to me during the madness of New York Fashion Week, asking if I would make a special all-important gown for her first Emmy Award Show red-carpet appearance," Don told me on that most old-fashion of contraptions, the telephone, from his office in New York. "Crazy as we were, we screeched to a halt and I created a series of sketches for Holly."

At this point Don and his team learned that two other designers were in the running to dress the young star and their sketches were being sent to her over Labour Day weekend.

"My key gown was the white gown with jewelled high collar to cling to her long elegant neck" - inspired by Audrey Hepburn's Embassy Ball gown in My Fair Lady.

"I dragged Holly in to my studio and in front of the mirrors swathed her in the luxurious white crepe and pinned a jewelled embroidered piece around her neck - a transformation happened!

"Holly immediately stood straighter," Don continued, "became more regal and exuded Hollywood glamour and poise. For fun and a modern twist, we added intricately embroidered silver crystal bumble bees and butterflies to the neckline. She left here excited. Sunday night we got the go ahead . . . the gown would be THEIA." (Don's label, sillies).

Holly felt, according to Don, that this was the gown that would take her from teen starlet to regal Hollywood actress. "So all hands on deck with just four days to make the gown. She arrived for fittings all sweaty from karate classes" - potential spoiler alert: a top secret character development - "and slipped in to the gown, knotting her hair on top of her head . . . and before our eyes, a young Audrey Hepburn materialised. Her mom, who was with her, was teary-eyed and in awe."

As will America and the world if that crazy fool Trump gets near the White House.

Our poetic President pitches up at the NCH for the Children of Lir

President Michael D Higgins with brothers Patrick (left) and Frank Cassidy

President Michael D Higgins with brothers Patrick (left) and Frank Cassidy

My favourite President - after Obama - is Michael D Higgins. It says something satisfying about modern Ireland that we have a poet in Aras an Uachtarain. And a bloody good poet at that. Unsurprisingly, he knows how to string an eloquent sentence together, too, unlike quite a few of our elected representatives in the Dail. Or even the Dail bar.

I gave his new book, When Ideas Matter: Speeches for an Ethical Republic review: a president's philosophy (okay, a bloody annoying title but I digress) to Mary O'Rourke as a present last week.

Unsurprisingly, she was delighted. Not as delighted perhaps as composer Patrick Cassidy and the audience (Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald among them) at the National Concert Hall last Thursday when the President pitched up to watch a truly sublime performance of Cassidy's Children of Lir. "To live abroad in Los Angeles and come home to such a welcome is just wonderful," Patrick told me, with the President in the seat beside him.

I think I am starting a trend here - of Patrick with presidents past and present - because last week this column featured a picture of him with Mary McAleese. Next week, it will be Her Poloness, Mary Robinson. And then maybe the following week, a picture of Patrick as a young boy with Eamon de Valera.

Beacon lights up old Burlo

Meraid and her late husband Patrick at last year's ball

Meraid and her late husband Patrick at last year's ball

Medicine is my lawful wife and literature my mistress," said Anton Chekhov, "when I get tired of one, I spend the night with the other."

So, I spent the night with my wife at the Beacon Ball - in aid of the Beacon Hospital Patient and Research Trust - last night at the old Burlo, Doubletree by Hilton. I went last year, but this one was even better, even bigger, even more glam.

Well, last night's soiree was to celebrate 10 years of the famous hospital in Sandyford. It was great to see Meraid Hyland-McGuire at the ball. (Her very popular and respected consultant husband Patrick sadly passed away this year.)

CEO Michael Cullen and his wife, former fashion goddess Dolores Delaney, attended, as did Tim McKeown, director of strategy, VHI, and his wife Elizabeth - to say nothing of chief of staff for Beacon, Prof Mark Redmond and wife Suzanne, Colm Doherty, chairman (formerly AIB), and board member Niall Devereux (formerly Topaz, Siteserve), and Lucy Gaffney, chairperson of Communicorp (and her husband Gerard Maguire of 64 Wine in Glasthule).

I'm never bored around board members. Indeed, last year at the Beacon Ball, fellow red-head Lucy and I were the first onto the dance-floor together.

"In its 10 years of operation, Beacon Hospital has established itself as a significant pillar in the provision of health excellence in Ireland," said Colm Doherty last night.

A Power launch of a literary classic


We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars, quipped Mr Wilde. In truth, the stars were in The Gutter -  albeit the bookshop of that name in Temple Bar last Thursday for the launch of The Hungry Grass, by the late, great Richard Power, above. First published in 1969 about the last days of the fictional Fr Tom Conroy, it is regarded as a classic.

Obviously, because the guest list was quite an illustrious one: actor Nick Dunning, director Paddy Breathnach of Viva (which was nominated at this year's Oscars); producer Rob Walpole (just back from LA and Toronto Film Festival where he was showing Handsome Devil, starring Andrew Scott and Amy Huberman), plus authors Henrietta McKervey and Andrea Carter (the latter having just signed a further book deal with Little, Brown for her series of thrillers.) The most illustrious guests were, of course, Richard's wife, Ann, a tender 86 years of age, who spoke movingly, and four-year-old Rory, the son of Richard Power junior.

Lucy Nagle at sister's wedding in Algarve while Jerry Buting in House

Lucy Nagle introduced her latest collection in BTs

Lucy Nagle introduced her latest collection in BTs

Gansey goddess cum designer Lucy Nagle recently introduced her fab A/W cashmere collection in Brown Thomas in Ireland. Be that as it may, the cosy jumpers weren't needed two weeks ago when lovely Lucy was in Portugal to celebrate the wedding of her younger sister Suzie at the fabulous Casa do Lago in Quinta do Lago, in the Algarve.

There was no shortage of star quality either in House last weekend. Jerry Buting, who defends Steven Avery, the unlikely star of Making a Murderer on Netflix, on the charge of murder, popped into the Leeson Street establishment last Saturday night at 1am with his beautiful wife, Kathy.

My Deep Throat in House told me that the fashionable duo "opted for the cosy surroundings of the wine room before heading out to the main bar for a dance." On Thursday, former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher arrived at approx 11pm and was joined by family and friends including Assets boss Derek Daniels.

Meanwhile, across in Lillies Bordello on Grafton Street last Friday, Paralympic discus silver medallist Niamh McCarthy and swimming bronze medallist Ellen Keane popped in to enjoy the club, mingling with fellow sports stars, Irish rugby legend Cian Healy and the man that goes by the name of The Punisher, MMA star Cathal Pendred.

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