Sunday 25 March 2018

The Edge: The Bear, a grandson arrives for the Dunner

Gayle and Sean: Granny and Grandad Dunne
Gayle and Sean: Granny and Grandad Dunne
Good Golly, Miss Holly: Cooling down in the House. Not once, but twice
The visitor: The late playwright Brian Friel with Ralph Fiennes in Friel’s Donegal home
A jewel: Joan Collins here for Newbridge launch
Home-cooking: Daithi O Se likes his mother’s bacon and cabbage
Blaise of glory: Blaise O’Donnell’s family difficulties feature in a new book by Tom D’Arcy
In fashion: Deborah Veale will be paying homage to the fashion and style icon
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

Now that the economy is - kind of - back, everyone is having babies again. It's the Dunne thing even. Sean Dunne's son (from his first marriage to Jennifer Coyle) and his wife Nivek Begley had some great news last month.

They had a baby boy. Not just any baby boy, I'll have you know. This is Sean Dunne's grandson. So, Stephen and Nivek called the new arrival Bear. Presumably as a homage of sorts to Bear Grylls, the British TV adventurer and desert island-survivor?

The Dunner, who is the child's grandfather, is of course, the ultimate business survivor. But I digress. Bear Dunne will be a sister for Stephen and Nivek's arrival last year, Coco. Nivek and Stephen (who was his dad's Best Man when Sean married Gayle Killilea in July 2004 in Monte Carlo - remember that opulent hooley that turned into a 14-day celebration around the Mediterranean aboard Aristotle Onassis's yacht, the Cristina, that featured everyone from Ian Galvin to Karen Millen, Michael Colgan, Michael Fingleton and Ronan O'Gara?) have recently returned to live in Dublin permanently.

Before landing in Dublin, they had set up a happy home in Santa Barbara in California for the last three years. My Dublin 4 spies tell me that the Dunne family are just as happily ensconced in the capital and are enjoying being home in Dublin. What's not to enjoy?

No sign, as yet, of Sean and Gayle coming home from Connecticut, America.

Holly goes lightly on Leeson Street

Cian Healy will hopefully be lining out for Ireland later this afternoon for an energetic — even epic — encounter in  Cardiff with the French.

The French are revolting, I always say.

Be that as it may, his former girlfriend Holly Carpenter has had an energetic week herself.

The Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model contestant was in House on Leeson Street last Thursday week night with two friends.

Arriving at 9pm, the ex-Miss Ireland stayed for a couple of drinks. That said, she must have enjoyed herself because she returned to House on Saturday night with some friends.

She stayed late this time around, sitting in the VIP area of the establishment’s heated, and very cool, garden.

Republic of Telly icons Jennifer Maguire and Bernard O’Shea were in House on the same night as Holly; they arrived at 10.15pm and stayed until closing.

Also in the spirit of enjoying themselves (no sin in that) were former Liverpool football stars Robbie Fowler, Jason McAteer and Dietmar Hamann. Last Friday, they dropped into 37 on Dawson Street after their show Liverpool Legends in the Button Factory and stayed until late. On the previous Wednesday that trio of great acting talents Domnhall Gleeson, Laurence Kinlan and Adrian Dunbar were in 37’s Whiskey bar for a well-earned and celebratory drink after Conor McPherson’s The Night Alive finished its run at The Gaiety theatre.

Ralph Fiennes: a place in his heart for Friel

I bumped into Michael Colgan a few days ago. He was at my wedding last year — and danced all night — so I make it my business to bump into the well-liked artistic director of the Gate Theatre as much as possible. (There is a good chance that he might be bumping into Rebecca Miller today for the Gate Theatre’s  Arthur Miller Centenary Celebration. Colgan met Miller in Paris many years ago and subsequently put on many of his plays.)

Last week, Colgan told me that he and Ralph Fiennes had recently travelled up to Donegal to visit their friend Brian Friel. It was an emotional visit for both men, made even more emotional  by the passing of the  great man two weeks ago. Colgan showed me an email that Fiennes sent him after Friel died that is so emotive that I will share it with you here.

“Brian Friel’s eyes seemed to see into  your soul. I felt their keen gaze and dangerous humour recently visiting him and his wife Ann in Donegal. Despite his illness, he seemed a force of life. I met Brian for  the first time in rehearsals of Fathers and Sons at the NT in 1987. He sat in rehearsals watching with supportive concentration but I think he felt that writers and actors could often get on with their work without directors.

“Meeting again nearly 20 years later I asked him for some guidelines about Frank Hardy (the Faith Healer). ‘He’s a killer’ Brian said. I dreaded disappointing him but I shall not forget his face back stage after a performance of Faith Healer when I believe he was satisfied with what we had offered. His eyes blazed.

“ There is something lethal and fatalistic in the character of Frank Hardy and I always felt Brian possessed a similar quality. But what I loved about him and what moved me about him was his burning reach for a theatre that wouldn’t compromise in searching for and revealing the comic pain of being human.”

Joan Collins’ suite talk at K Club

Daithi O Se will be at Kinsale Gourmet Festival 2015 Fruits de Mer Luncheon today at Acton’s hotel. “When you’re brought up on bacon and cabbage five days a week,” the RTE star told me, “a trip to Kinsale gourmet food is a treat. Saying that — my mother makes a mean bacon and cabbage.”

Joan Collins possibly didn’t have boiled-to-bejaysus bacon and cabbage when she stayed in the K Club last weekend in Kildare — unless esteemed Executive Chef Finbarr Higgins was in the mood. (US Ambassador to Ireland H E Kevin O’Malley is launching Higgins’s book The K Club Cookbook: Producer to Plate at the hotel this Thursday evening.) Collins stayed in one of the glam hotel’s new Barton suites with  her husband Percy Gibson last Sunday and Monday night.

Women weekending in five-star hotels with their husbands? What will they think of next? The one-time Dynasty superstar was in the country to unveil the Joan Collins’ Costume Collection at Newbridge Silverware Museum of Style. There’s nothing like a dame.

Blonde Blaise not left Waiting for the Sheriff at the Bank

Blaise O’Donnell likes a good view — having lived in glorious Gorse Hill overlooking Killiney Bay for so many years until recently, sadly.

The blonde beauty also likes a good pew, it turns out, as she attended the wedding in Tipperary last weekend of a friend.

She looked stunning in a floor-length multicoloured Grecian-style dress.

Blaise has a habit of turning up looking stunning in eye-catching gunas — having attended the Sunday Independent’s The End Of Summer party on the rooftop bar of the Marker hotel in Grand Canal Dock last month in a bright orange dress ... that was offset by her deep tan, courtesy of a holiday in Italy.

Last weekend, babe Blaise pitched up at the black-tie wedding of Vivienne Beckett at Kilshane House in Tipperary. (She celebrated Viv’s hen with an 1980s-themed party earlier in the year.)

 Last Wednesday week, Blaise turned up in a trouser suit straight from work for the launch of Tom Darcy’s Waiting for the Sheriff at The Bank on Dame Street.

My apologies. That should read The Bank pub on Dame Street.

Somehow I can’t see Blaise, whose family lost their home in Killiney courtesy of a certain bank, turning up all dolled-up to the nines for a jolly at a bank, can you?

In any event, Blaise’s family’s difficulties feature in Tom’s new book.

 Author Tom was introduced to the crowd on the night by Blaise’s VBF Jerry Beades from The Friends of Banking Ireland and spokesperson for the New Land League.

Other attendees included Bill Cullen and Jackie Lavin, as well as — the bould Beades pointed out to your diarist — Margaret Hanrahan, the Tipperary farmer and horse owner, who, Jerry told me, rode a horse from Tipperary to the Dail in 2013 to protest at her treatment by the banks; Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath, “who keeps asking Enda about evictions and his Government’s failure to house evicted families” (again Jerry); Meath independent Councillor Sharon Keoghan — and General Election hopeful, according to Jerry, “who has held meetings recently on evictions in County Meath.”

Will Blaise run at the next election? That’s what I want to know.

All rosy in the garden for Sybil Connolly memorial

Where do former Taoisigh go for a bite to eat  when they’re in town? I can’t vouch for all of them, of course — Bertie probably still has a sandwich and a pint in Fagan’s — but John Bruton and his wife Finola were in Marco Pierre White’s on Dawson Street for lunch last

Wednesday. My Deep Throat tells me that the ex-Fine Gael boss and his chic  other-half are a lovely  couple.

So lovely,  in fact,  that they might like to join quite a crowd of uber-luvvies on Thursday at the Irish Landmark Event at Merrion Mews to honour  the late, and the wonderful, Sybil Connolly. Chief among those pitching up include torch singer extraordinaire Gavin Friday — who is just back from U2’s World Tour where he is artistic director — and RTE’s Anne Cassin, TV3’s Debbie O’Donnell, designer Deborah Veale and Eddie Shanahan, Chairperson of the Council of Irish Fashion Designers. All of the assembled high-fash movers and shakers will be treated to a private tour of the 18th-century mews and gardens before the official unveiling of a memorial to Sybil in the garden.

Maybe Gavin might burst into song for this most special of occasions?

Gavin in the Garden? I like the sound of it.

Co has lorra laughs in Cannes

Bono wasn’t the only successful Dub in Côte d’Azur last week. And living in some style too . .  .

Colman Hutchinson — who produced Blind Date with the late Cilla Black and Who Wants to Be A Millionaire with Chris Tarrant — was holed up  in a private villa in  Antibes allegedly on business.  He was  staying with David Briggs, creator of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and Steve Springford,  MD of the company ‘Boxatricks’.

 “I’m Creative Director,” Co, as his friends call him,  told me. “We unwound with a well earned glass of champagne after a hard day spreading the word at TV Festival de Cannes about our new show The Shortest Straw hosted by Nicky Byrne. It is such a buzz to be here. I passed Chris Evans walking the Promenade de la Croisette with the Stig drumming up business for the new Top Gear.”

It is a long way from being a researcher on the Late Late in the late 1970s to the Promenade de la Croisette, n’est-ce pas? 

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