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Rugby fever is in the air

Rugby fever is in the air this week, with an event in the Arlington Hotel sure to fuel it even further.

The O'Connell Bridge drinking den for rugger fans will receive a boost this Saturday when three major sporting names will be there for a meet-and-greet session with revellers.

Organisers have nabbed Munster hero Mick Galwey for the sporting event, alongside Andy Nicol, the first British player to lift the Heineken Cup as captain of Bath. Also there will be former Ireland captain Ciaran Fitzgerald, who'll be waxing lyrical about his time in the squad during the 1980s. It starts at 2pm.

  • Dublin city was buzzing with St Patrick's Day celebrations last night, with many of our most popular haunts packed to the rafters.

The MV Cill Airne vessel beside the O2 was filled with familiar faces for its official launch party for its new outdoor bar.

Entertaining guests was the Manilla Strings band, while Mob Fandango played out on the deck.

Up at Tripod on Harcourt Street, Newstalk broadcaster Eamon Keane was hosting a lively debate attended by No Frontiers beauty Kathryn Thomas and several of his high-profile pals.

The free event, hosted by the Dubliner magazine, saw plenty of opinions aired on the subject while guests enjoyed the complimentary beer reception afterwards.

Over on Harcourt Street, Buck's Townhouse hosted its Shamrocks and Shenanigans party, with all the southside party crew out for the bash which was hosted by top models Sara Kavanagh and Michele McGrath.

  • As if leading the national rugby squad wasn't enough, sporting hero Brian O'Driscoll has also got in touch with his creative side for a good cause.

The rugby captain will no doubt be hoping that a new angel called Hope For The Kicker, which he has devised as part of the Angels - Beacons Of Hope exhibition, will prove lucky for the team this Saturday. Officially unveiled this week at Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel and placed outside the hotel as part of a new exhibition, Brian has revealed his inspiration for his particular angel.

"When you view this angel, you will get the impression that even though the kicker is standing still, everything else is in motion. The fans are closing in, hundreds of thousands of eyes are bearing down on him and yet, as he addresses the ball, it is in those moments he must ignore the distractions and find an oasis of calm within himself to allow him to focus 100pc on striking the ball with confidence and accuracy," he stated.

More than forty 8ft tall angels have been designed by Irish and international musicians for charities with participants including Uma Thurman, The Edge, Diarmuid Gavin, Padraig Harrington and Amy Huberman.

  • It will be stylish handbags at dawn next week at the Nokia Young Designer Award at Powerscourt Townhouse Centre.

The contest on March 24 has been whittled down to 20 of the most promising finalists. Among the experts who have been signed up are designer Aideen Bodkin, Amanda Pratt from Avoca, Marc O'Neill from Marks & Spencer and Debbie Walker at ASOS.

An exhibition will be open daily to the public from March 25 to 28.