Wednesday 21 February 2018

The Edge: Lovebirds Ian and Carol fly in for fundraiser at Leopardstown races

Carol Anthony and Ian Rush enjoyed dinner at House, on Leeson Street, last Thursday night
Carol Anthony and Ian Rush enjoyed dinner at House, on Leeson Street, last Thursday night
Wedding: Hannah Saunders
Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson went incognito in Galway
Princess Charlene of Monaco
Prince Albert pictured with Michael Smurfit last year. Photo: Frank McGrath
Michael Colgan. Photo: Arthur Carron Photography
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

Once more unto the beach, dear friends? Cork popstar-turned-businesswoman Carol Anthony and her beau Liverpool Football Club legend Ian Rush looked all tanned from their long holiday break in Mauritius when they arrived in Dublin last Thursday for a quick visit.

The couple, who have been together for over four years, are frequent guests in Dublin, of course.

Rush (who was over here ostensibly to be part of a Liverpool Legends event at The Button Factory with Steve Nicol, and the two Johns, Barnes and Aldridge) was staying in the Westbury Hotel with Carol.

They went to House on Leeson Street for dinner afterwards last Thursday night.

On Friday they travelled to Belfast before flying home to London. They will be at the big Liverpool v Manchester United game at Old Trafford in Manchester this afternoon.

Given Liverpool should have been beaten 4-0 by Southampton during the week at St Mary's, does Rushie expect his beloved team to be lucky not to lose in Manchester against Jose Mourinho's in-form team?

"For the first time in a long time," he answered. "Manchester United have to beat Liverpool to keep in touch with the pacemakers. That's why I don't think Liverpool will lose."

Carol and Ian are returning to Dublin on January 29 for the races at Leopardstown.

Spending the weekend at a suite in the sublime Moyvalley Hotel & Golf Resort in Kildare, the two lovebirds have invited a big gang of their pals - your diarist among them - to join them for lunch in their corporate box.

It promises to be a great day and for a great cause, too.

"It is the annual Shabra Charity event which Ian is the patron of," explained Carol.

"The elite of racing will be present including Richie Ricci and Willie Mullins among others, and all of Ireland's top medical professionals from Mater Hospital and has become a highlight of the Irish racing calender...and more importantly for a great cause!" she added.

"Building machinery to combat potential cancer growths - catching signs at the earliest stage! Precaution is our only cure at present!"

A princely €200k break for Charlene

Princess Charlene of Monaco

Princess Charlene

A private jet flew out of Baldonnel Aerodrome to the south-west of Dublin last Sunday afternoon. On-board the luxurious aeroplane - bound for Nice - was Albert II, Prince of Monaco, Charlene, Princess of Monaco, their two children, some friends and their security team.

Au revoir, Albert.

They had come straight from the K Club, which the reigning monarch of the Principality of Monaco and his family had called home for the previous 10 days.

Conde Nast Traveller magazine has said the club resembled a French chateaux. Perhaps that had something to do Prince Albert's decision to spend ten days at the luxury complex with his wife and family.

More likely the decision was made because his VBF in Monaco - a certain charismatic Irishman by the name of Michael Smurfit - owns this stately pile in Kildare on 550 ludicrously lush acres.

But Prince Albert didn't quite stay at the K Club. He and his family actually stayed at the ultra-exclusive Straffan House, a private residence in the grounds of the K Club, complete with its own swimming pool, a private chef, and a team of staff to cater to your every whim.

Befitting, perhaps, the head of the princely House of Grimaldi.

It has ten palatial bedrooms, plus your own spa and gym, games room, and screening theatre to watch The Crown on Netflix.

Prince Albert, who is not stuck for a few quid, probably spent well over €200,000 during his 10-day stay at Straffan House alone. Not that the prince and princess stayed cocooned in their chic lodgings.

They were surprise guests - certainly to the 150 people staying at the main hotel - at the ball held at the K Club on New Year's Eve.

They had dinner and also got up and danced to the band like the rest of the not-so-royal attendees at the ball.

A few nights prior to that, Dr Smurfit himself flew in from his home in Monaco to host a private dinner for Albert, Charlene, their children and their friends at Dr Smurfit's other home.

They were all - sans Dr Smurfit - also spotted having dinner several evenings at the Straffan Inn (owned by the K Club) in the village nearby, with their security in ever-so-discreet attendance.

Albert and Charlene also ventured out farther afield - to Newgrange, Kildare Village, the Guinness Hop Store and the Teeling Distillery.

They were also seen golfing, shooting and horse-riding at the K Club from the day they ever-so-discreetly arrived at their private residence on December 27; whereupon the French royals were picked up from their private jet at Baldonnel and whisked in a convoy of chauffeur-driven cars to Straffan House.

C'est magnifique.

Prince Albert pictured with Michael Smurfit last year. Photo: Frank McGrath

Prince Albert pictured with Michael Smurfit last year

Dry humoured Colgan alive 'n' kicking on Waterloo Road

Michael Colgan. Photo: Arthur Carron Photography

Gate supremo Michael Colgan

The late Cyril Cusack used to say that if you asked him for his New Year's resolution, it would be to "find out who I am".

Michael Colgan not only cast Cyril's three daughters Sinead (as Masha), Niamh (as Irina) and Sorcha (as Olga) in Chekhov's Three Sisters at The Gate Theatre in 1990, but he was so close to Cyril, in fact, that his wake in October, 1993, was actually held at Colgan's house in Dublin. Colgan, unlike Cyril, never seemed to have a problem with identity, especially at this navel-gazing time of year.

Last Wednesday, I bumped into a very slim and clear-eyed Colgan near his home on Waterloo Road. I remarked on his trimness, before going on to ask the moustachioed maestro if he was looking so well because he was soon to shake off the shackles of responsibility at The Gate. Colgan immediately put me right - as he often does - saying it was because of his annual 'dry January'.

And by that he meant alcohol, not wit.

Only two more shows to go and Colgan says he is really excited about the penultimate offering - the musical Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (which begins with previews on January 26 and opens on Wednesday, February 1). What a cast he said, referring to Risteard Cooper, Rory Nolan, the beautiful Stephanie McKeon and now his latest protege Karen McCartney has just joined this glorious collection of talents. Karen is currently playing The Heiress at The Gate to great success and as the trim impresario noted without recourse for once to his de rigueur dry wit, "with this role the heiress has inherited something very special".

Colgan is alive and well and living in Dublin 4.

Scarlett Lady hits Galway

SN Scarlett_Jo.jpg
Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson went incognito in Galway

Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson went incognito in Galway

The West evidently wasn't awake. Two weeks ago American movie star Scarlett Johansson was in Galway and nobody noticed. Perhaps the reason that no one recognised the blonde bombshell was she went incognito.

On the Thursday after Christmas, when she came into Kirwan's Lane restaurant in Galway city with a gang, she was dressed as unlike a movie star as she could possibly get - a big coat worn over runners, jeans, a woolie jumper and a woolie hat to match.

There wasn't a pearl earring in sight. This look was set off by big, thick glasses. The diners of Kirwan's Lane must have thought they had Bridget Jones's dour-looking sister in their midst and not Scarlett Johansson.

Had anyone in the restaurant been remotely curious, they wouldn't have been able to get a proper look at her anyway, as she sat with her back to everyone. Scarlett and her party of six, who came in at 8pm and stayed until midnight, ordered fresh oysters, lots of other seafood, and wine.

The star of Girl with a Pearl Earring and Lost in Translation and her pals were staying in the region and indeed went on a four-day tour of Connemara after their few days unrecognised in Galway.

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