Monday 16 September 2019

Moya has beau John with a fine Chianti

Dinner date... Valentine's couple John McColgan and Moya Doherty will be dining at home in their sumptuous pad in Howth
Dinner date... Valentine's couple John McColgan and Moya Doherty will be dining at home in their sumptuous pad in Howth
Daithi O Se and wife Rita Talty
Lorraine Keane
Claudine Keane celebrated her brother Ronan's engagement
Dream date Yvonne Connolly
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

It's all happening in Cork. TV uber-chef Rachel Allen and husband Isaac will be marking Valentine's Day with dinner at their restaurant Rachel's. They have a special menu on for Valentine's night at the restaurant. And special Flirtini cocktails, created by Rachel. "We might have a few of those," Isaac told me. "We are married 19 years and we are stuck with each other, and we have no plans to change," he joked. "I am mad about her and she is mad about me. And we are mad about each other."

John Waters, the author, is going west on Valentine's. "I'll be with my beautiful wife Rita in our hideaway in the real Ireland - Ireland West." Kathleen Watkins quipped apropos of Valentine's that "it is Ash Wednesday too. Fish to be had with lunch with a friend," she told me on Friday, adding that she was now a deux in the Wicklow Heather Inn in Laragh, County Wicklow "on a beautiful sunny day."

Further south, out on the posh peninsula of Howth, dynamic RTE chair Moya Doherty and her husband, the dashing impresario John McColgan, will be enjoying a special night in.

Will John don a Riverdance costume and hop bare-chested - and oiled-up - across the dinner table for the singular erotic entertainment of his darling wife? Not quite. But almost as cultural, don't you know? "It will be just the two of us at home," the ever-charming John told me. "Quite a romantic dinner," he said unsurprisingly.

"Candlelight and flowers. Moya will serve a number of Malaysian dishes with a very fine Chianti." I can almost hear the sound of the cork being popped from here.

Blue heaven as Smurf's up for Rita (and Daithi)

Daithi O Se and wife Rita Talty

Some gay men refer to other gay men with bushy beards they find attractive as "bears". Rita Talty finds her famous RTE husband Daithi O Se particularly attractive as a Smurf. Smurf's up, anyone?

"She fancies me until she is blue in the face," jokes the co-presenter (with Maura Derrane) of The Today Show. The context for this possibly unique exchange when I met Daithi last week was him telling your diarist how he is taking his beloved wife (and son Micheal Og) to The Smurfs Live On Stage - Smurfs Save Spring at Bord Gais Theatre in Dublin next weekend as a "St Valentine's treat, mixed with a Mother's Day present, all wrapped up in one".

"Rita wants me to grow my beard back and I want to show her Papa Smurf's," said Daithi, "because that's how my beard will turn out. Also, it doesn't get more romantic than the Smurfs!"

"We haven't been away in ages and we're really looking forward to it," Daithi said. "She is a very hard working, stay-at-home mother and deserves to be taken away more often. But when were do get away we really enjoy it. We think we are still newly-weds. Almost six years on, I love her now more than ever."

Lorraine spotted lunching in InterContinental

There I was, not minding my own business in the lobby of the InterContinental in Ballsbridge on Thursday evening at 5pm, when former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern walks in.

It reminded me that the current Taoiseach is due next Thursday as guest speaker at the Dublin Chamber annual dinner. The last time I spoke to Leo Varadkar in the InterContinental was six weeks ago at the Sunday Independent Living magazine Christmas party, shooting the breeze with Twink, Joe Duffy, and Lorraine Keane et al.

Ms Keane was coincidentally in the InterContinental on Tuesday having lunch with event organiser Dearbhla Meaney.

I also spotted English actor Steven Berkoff pottering about the lobby of this famous D4 establishment. He is obviously staying and making a movie in town.

Claudine helps brother celebrate his own big match

Claudine Keane celebrated her brother Ronan's engagement

It was all celebrations and jubilations last week. Claudine Keane celebrated her brother Ronan Palmer's engagement to Zoe Dromgoole in 37 on Saturday night. Claudine's footballing megastar husband Robbie was, before you ask, away.

Esteemed actor Liam Cunningham and Calum Best (sorry, I don't know precisely what Mr Best does), among others, partied in 37 on Dawson Street after the inaugural Xposé Benefit Awards in The Mansion House last Thursday.

The last award of the night was for someone whose outstanding contribution to Irish fashion on the global stage was to be recognised, someone who was very proud of their Irish roots and proudly represented Ireland on the world's most prestigious red carpets...

"It dawned on me that this sounded like my story," designer Don O'Neill told me.

"The TV cameramen swooped down on our table… and Pascal is screaming and yelling," Don said, referring to his husband.

The party started in earnest from that moment on.

"We were back at The Merrion at 2am and on our way to the airport by 8am. We flew back to New York with the same flight crew that we came in with Wednesday night," continued the dapper Don.

"And they were thrilled to hear the good news and celebrated with us on the flight home. By 3pm on Friday afternoon I was back at my desk in New York."

That's a true Manhattan transfer.

Yvonne off to Rome to see movie boyfriend John

N Yvonne Connolly p.jpg
Dream date Yvonne Connolly

Absence and distance  (5,600km roughly) make the heart grow fonder. Daniel O'Donnell clearly feels like this, because when I asked the world famous singer how he and wife Majella were spending St Valentine's Day, he answered: "At a distance as I am in America and  Majella is in Donegal."

Closer to home, Celia Holman Lee jets back from Tenerife today with her husband Ger. The Limerick modelling luminary and legend is going to Dancing With The Stars with close friend Annette Rocca tonight.

Celia will be on the panel of Can't Stop Dancing on RTE One this Thursday.

Another Irish beauty Yvonne Connolly is jetting out to Rome in two weeks to enjoy a romantic weekend with her long-term other half, Emmy-nominated director of photography John Conroy, who is on a job in the Eternal City.

In the meantime, Yvonne celebrated her birthday last Thursday evening with a dinner at Siam Thai in Malahide with "my favourite people - my kids," gushed the proud mother of Missy, Ali and Jack.

Yvonne is also proud that she is "nominated in the Best Presenter Category in the upcoming Goss awards," she said referring to her first-rate and sterling work on TV3's Seven O'Clock Show.

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