Opinion Columnists

Sunday 20 January 2019

It's Leeson at the double

Out on the town: Gabby Allen was among the celebs at House.
Photo: Brian McEvoy
Out on the town: Gabby Allen was among the celebs at House. Photo: Brian McEvoy
Francis Brennan
Lisa and Hubby Richard plan a special Christmas. Photo: Anthony Woods
Dining out: classical pianist Gabriela Montero
Norma Smurfit and Jackie Lavin had a laugh in a good cause
Party girl Naomi Campbell
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

Celebrities on Leeson Street? Where would you get it? Actually they weren't just celebrities as Celebrity Big Brother 2018 contestants Gabby Allen (a former Love Island contestant) and Nick Leeson (one-time derivatives broker infamous for his sojourn at Barings Bank) pitched up at House on Leeson Street with friends at 11pm last Saturday night.

Gabby, Nick (Leeson on Leeson Street) and their entourage, I'm reliably informed (aren't I always?), enjoyed Grey Goose and tonics as they partied late into the night. If you must know, Gabby wore a navy stripped shirt tucked into a patent red skirt.

At 10.30pm in House, former Manchester United star and Wales manager Ryan Giggs arrived along with members of the Welsh FA, looking especially dashing in a suit as he enjoyed a few pints in House's beautifully lit VIP garden. And, no, Ryan didn't take off his shirt and run through the club waving it. He is far too stylish for that.

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Norma Smurfit and Jackie Lavin had a laugh in a good cause

As are the perennially stylish Norma Smurfit and her VBF Jackie Lavin, who were in the brasserie of the Marker Hotel last Friday week to laugh along hysterically to Dara O Briain performance's at a comedy lunch for charity Jack & Jill.

 

Romeo and Mount Juliet for TV host Lisa Cannon

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Lisa and Hubby Richard plan a special Christmas. Photo: Anthony Woods

Ever since she did Xpose on TV3, I’ve always thought Lisa Cannon was a fashionable bird. Be that as it may, she is going all out to avoid cooking another fashionable — and well-dressed — bird this Christmas.

Lisa, who hosts the film show Box Office on Virgin Media, is, she tells me going to “Mount Juliet with my husband Richard and father Michael, so I can enjoy the festivities without the cooking! We have been to many places over the years, The K Club, Claridge’s, The Shelbourne, The Dorchester in London and Powerscourt, but Richard and I have been in Mount Juliet twice before. This is our third Christmas there,” Lisa, doing the maths, gushed (does she ever do anything else?) before adding: “I’m heading to New York first week in January.” To get out of cooking dinner?

Joking aside, our Lisa recently did win the IARA Award in London at the Hilton Hotel. “It’s an International Award of Recognition of the Arts. So it’s for all my work, both in the UK with Cher and hosting at the British Film Institute, Box Office, on Virgin Media TV. I beat stiff competition from the BBC and ITV hosts.” So, she has earned her turkey in Mount Juliet Estate in Kilkenny.

Francis Brennan, Kenmare's Lord of the Dance

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Francis Brennan
 

Saint Francis (Brennan) of Kenmare told me over lunch in 2014: "All the women say I'm a great dancer. But there's nowhere you can dance these days, really, except at weddings, is there?" Well, the widely loved star of the Irish hospitality industry and RTE will have plenty of opportunity on New Year's Day. No, he is not going to a wedding, neither someone else's or even his own. He will be dancing up the old road to Kenmare.

"It's the annual 10k hike. A ritual start to the New Year," he told me. The night before, Flatley... sorry Francis... and his family will dance until 5am at the five-star Park Hotel. "It's my 39th year here and I still get a great buzz at midnight."

A right Kerry-on.

 

Robbie’s keen on The Ivy, Aldo at Johnstown Estate

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Dining out: classical pianist Gabriela Montero
 

Were they horsing into their meals? Only joking. But those two gods of Irish horse racing, AP McCoy and Ruby Walsh, had dinner together last Sunday night in The Ivy.

Yes, I know there are other swish restaurants in Dublin’s city centre, it’s just that it appears The Ivy on Dawson Street is where everyone wants to go to at the moment. After their fancy repast in The Ivy, AP and Ruby went across the road to 37 for a drink.

On the previous night in 37, Robbie Keane popped in with the equally legendary footballer, Portuguese superstar Luis Figo.

Another Republic of Ireland deity, John Aldridge, was spotted enjoying a pint in the bar of the ultra-chic Johnstown Estate in Enfield last Saturday night. Aldo then headed over to Pauline’s in Edenderry, the new steak restaurant of Aldo’s pal and die-hard Liverpool fan, builder Pat McBride.

Grammy-award winning classical pianist Gabriela Montero had lunch with her Cork-born baritone husband Sam McElroy and their protege Luis Magallanes last Sunday in Johnstown Estate’s much-acclaimed Fire & Salt restaurant. People travel from all over Ireland to dine there.

Indeed, Gaby and Sam travelled from the States to Istanbul where Gaby performed and then on to Dublin to see Luis perform in Aida in the BGE Theatre last Saturday before posh noshing it at Johnstown Estate with Sam and Luis.

On January 25, Luis will take part in the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition in Dublin. Doubtless he’ll horse into a steak first at Fire & Salt or The Ivy to get the vocal cords sufficiently nourished.

 

Guggi and Bono paint Miami red

Dublin has been its usual hectic whirr these last few days, but it hasn't been quite the same without Bono or indeed my favourite artist Guggi around the place.

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Party girl Naomi Campbell

The latter was in Miami last Wednesday night to support Bono for his AIDS charity Red. There was a big bash in The Moore Building in the Design District attended by Naomi Campbell and Christian Louboutin. The auction raised $5.5m for the AIDS charity. On the same night in Thurles, the acclaimed artist John Keating caused a stir with his latest exhibition. Life Fragments, at the Source Art Gallery, which runs until January 13. Bono and Guggi - whatever about The Simon Carmody Community - will run forever.

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