Sunday 18 March 2018

The Edge: Rachel decamps to Sri Lanka for month

Fabulous foodie Rachel Allen is full of East Cork promise, and she’s bringing it to the East. Photo: Tony Gavin
Fabulous foodie Rachel Allen is full of East Cork promise, and she’s bringing it to the East. Photo: Tony Gavin
Helen Cody held her autumn/winter show in Dublin last week. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Lucinda Creighton. Photo: Mark Condren
At the conference were, from left Janet (Moderator); Sharon Stone, actor and peace activist; Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol; Prof Mary Aiken; Victor Ochen, UN Global Goals Ambassador; and his excellency Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein UN High Commissioner
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

Devotees of a certain gorgeous gourmet goddess might need to lie down for a minute. Or maybe try a spot of comfort eating.

Or better still, lying down eating comfort food . . .

Rachel Allen is swapping the sea views in Shanagarry near her home in East Cork for the equally sweeping vistas of Sri Lanka.

But it is not a permanent move. It is only for three weeks in November.

The reason she is decamping to that part of the world later this year isn't that East Cork isn't especially beautiful in the winter (it is).

"On a recent trip to Sri Lanka while working in an official capacity for the Sri Lankan government," Rachel told me, "I discovered to my total surprise that oddly the prime minister there is a big fan of mine and also a big fan of Ireland.

"He loved my show Rachel's Coastal Cooking and has been onto me for a while to film something similar out there in his beautiful country. So it's all very exciting, we are now in the final stages of planning." Unsurprisingly, Rachel's zig-zagging of the globe - or at least Tullamore - doesn't end there. . .

Later this month, she'll be at the National Ploughing Championships in the aforementioned Tullamore where, as well as teaming up with Landrover, the blonde will also give a series of cookery demonstrations.

From there, the galloping gadabout gourmet will be heading up north to film a one-hour doc on Norn Ireland food, before going straight to Japan where she make a programme for BBC Earth on the rice industry there.

Upon her return, Air Miles Allen is straight to Le Mans in France where she and her husband Isaac will be cheering on their son Lucca who is racing as part of the Irish team in the IAME Karting world finals.

Once she gets back to East Cork, Rach will only have time to pack for Sri Lanka.

Plenty of food for thought.

Helen of Christchurch  rallies all the girls for a great cause

Fashion, I always say, is something that goes in one year and out the other. And when I see some of those pious fash automatons enter my  space, I immediately go in one door and out the other. But I digress. The lovely Helen Cody held her Autumn/Winter 2016 couture show on Tuesday evening in Christchurch Cathedral in aid of St. Francis Hospice.

All the gang were there: chief among them being Deirdre Kelly, Cecelia Ahern, Yvonne Connolly, costume designer Joan Bergin, event planner extraordinaire Tara Fay, and Aisling Kilduff of the Design Centre in the Powerscourt Centre. Allow me to make this as clear as the glasses of Veuve Cliquot served at the reception before the show: we should be heartily congratulating these amazing women who always come out in their droves to support a great cause while attending a great fashion show - and in their own way do their bit to keep the Irish fashion industry going.

This Tuesday, Peter O'Brien is unveiling his Autumn/Winter 2016 collection in Arnotts. With all this talk of Autumn/Winter collections, I'm thinking of bringing out an Autumn/Winter collection of my social columns.

Someone stop me before I turn into a pious pouting trout-face bore with an expression like last season's leather handbags.

What do you mean - I already have?

Miss Brunker & Miss Candy to host Etihad Airways charity bash

Does Yvonne Connolly ever stay in? Not, of course, that I want her to stay at home in Malahide. But when she is not on TV3's The Seven O'Clock Show cooking up a storm, the blonde ambition appears to be on the town. And more power to her.

Yvonne and her VBF Cecelia Ahern are expected to bring some glamour into the girl-zone at The Etihad Airways International Charity Lunch and Fashion Show in aid of the Rape Crisis Centre on September 23. This delightful afternoon, hosted by Amanda Brunker and the incomparable Miss Candy (aka Joe Supple), takes place in the Westin Hotel and features the likes of Rebecca Storm and Paul Harrington performing.

The more aesthetic entertainment will be provided by the brilliant fashion designer Catriona Hanly who will give a privileged preview of her Autumn/Winter at The Etihad Airways beano.

Other lucky attendees on the day will include dashing Dave Egan and his gorgeous ginger-haired wife Mairead, plus Sally Anne Clarke, Lorraine Keane and Lisa Kean. . ..sorry, Murphy.

Is it just me or does Gerald Kean seem to have gone too far on the comfort eating ever since he and Lisa broke up?

Flatley reminisces in Lillie's

Bow your heads. Genuflect. Don't attempt to touch the hem of his garment. The Lord returneth. Or at least Michael Flatley returned last Tuesday night to the place that was almost as associated with him, once upon a time, as the stage of Riverdance: the VIP area in Lillie's Bordello on Grafton Street.

The greatest dancer of his generation was in Lillie's with his best friend Dave Egan - who owned the world famous club before he sold it to Oliver Hughes in December, 2004, for a reported €5.5m. Egan was also one of The Lord's groomsmen at his October 14, 2007, wedding at St. Patrick's Church in Fermoy, Co. Cork, to Niamh O'Brien. Dave Egan (no relation) is one of the nicest guys you could meet. As is Mr Flatley, whom I met at a Ronan O'Gara soiree in London a few years ago and he was utterly charming.

So it proved on Tuesday night in Lillie's where The Lord and Mr Egan enjoyed a few drinks, reminiscing with each other about the good old days in the very spot that Flatley made them happen. They left by 2am.

I might also mention that Brian McFadden was also in Lillie's that night. I can only assume that if he is staying with Keith and Lisa Duffy that he is not waking the whole house up upon his return.

Or maybe they're leaving a key under the mat for him?

All at sea at Cliff Townhouse on Green

Lucinda Creighton, below, was at a wedding in Mayo last weekend. Sure, what else would she be doing? Last Wednesday at the annual Cliff Townhouse Oyster Festival there were oysters pretty much from everywhere in Ireland (Kelly's in Galway. Flaggy Shore Oysters in Clare and Carlingford Oysters, Harty's, Waterford) as well as Mayo (Achill Oysters).

Everyone from Xpose's Cassie Stokes to RTE star (and Sindo stalwart) Brendan O'Connor, plus Lorraine Keane and husband Peter Devlin watched Shay Harty win the shuck-athon, hosted by TV3's Tommy Martin. PR princess Tara O'Connor (having just moved back from London with her family), Disney guru Trish Long and actress Orla Brady also attended. I might speculate the bon vivants present in  Cliff Townhouse last week were so over-refreshed on endless goblets of Moet & Chandon and snazzy glasses of Cliff Pearl Martinis that they must have felt they were in a wacky Disney movie about oysters from a beautifully bottomless Irish ocean. Hiccup.

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Lucinda Creighton. Photo: Mark Condren

Profs pitch up with Mary Mitchell O'Connor for Mary Aiken book soiree

At the conference were, from left Janet (Moderator); Sharon Stone, actor and peace activist; Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol; Prof Mary Aiken; Victor Ochen, UN Global Goals Ambassador; and his excellency Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein UN High Commissioner

The question used to be: how does Miriam O'Callaghan do it? I am now changing it to: how does Mary Aiken do it? Two weeks ago, she launched her book The Cyber Effect in New York, Washington and Los Angeles.

Last weekend, Michael McDowell officially launched The Cyber Effect in Hodges Figgis on Dawson Street, with Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Prof John Hegarty (the former provost of Trinity College) and another Prof, Philip O'Connell, director of the UCD Geary Institute pitching up. Profs pitching up? The two Marys?

Afterwards there was a private dinner in Suesey Street.

On Monday, Mary flew to Holland to be one of the speakers at the Hague Talks on Peace Justice and Security. Another fabulously good-looking blonde was also a speaker that day in The Hague: Sharon Stone. On the Tuesday Mary flew to London to speak at Amazon - a speech that was broadcast to Amazon's staff worldwide.

I'm going to start calling it the Mary Aiken effect.

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