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The Insider: 13/01/2010

Siobhan O'Connor, of 98, will be hoping to get up close and personal with some of the Celebrity Big Brother stars shortly, when she flies to London for some behind-the-scenes access.

The entertainment reporter has been given the green light to attend the first televised eviction and get an interview with the evictee.

The celebrities in the running to get the boot include former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss, Ronnie Wood's ex-girlfriend Katia Ivanova and British rapper Lady Sovereign.

But Siobhan admits to having a soft spot for former soccer star-turned-actor Vinnie Jones.

"He's brilliant," she said. "He's really interesting to watch and he'll do very well in the show. I'm not a fan of reality programmes, but I've obviously had to watch Big Brother for work. I much prefer watching films.".

  • We may have just got over some of the worst weather conditions in Irish history, but it seems that glamorous socialite Caroline Downey is heading off to chillier climes.

The immaculately turned-out wife of music promoter Denis Desmond will be swapping her Jimmy Choos for some sturdy walking boots after revealing to the Diary how she's heading off shortly for a cruise to the Antarctic. The mum-of-three is not going alone, though -- she's bringing along one of her sons to keep her company on the 10-day trip.

  • The party crew are heading to Lillie's Bordello later this month to celebrate the ninth birthday of the Dubliner magazine.

Things will kick-off on January 22 with a winter cocktail reception, for those die-hards not abstaining from alcohol this month.

This will be followed by some live entertainment, as revellers catch up on all the goss they may have missed during the past few weeks.

It will be a double celebration for dashing publisher Paul Trainer, who will also be marking his 30th birthday on the same weekend.

  • There was no shortage of bodhrans and fiddles at the Clarence Hotel this week for the launch of this year's TradFest -- which is always a lively occasion.

Performing for guests at the invite-only bash were the legendary Kilfenora Ceili Band, as they gave attendees a preview of what to expect from the forthcoming event, which celebrates its fifth anniversary in 2010.

Running from January 27 to 31, this year's festival will take place in a number of top venues in Temple Bar.

The line-up includes Matt Molloy, John Carty, Arty McGlynn, Finbar Furey, Noel Hill and Tony Linnane.

Also taking to the stage for festival fans will be younger performers such as Beoga, Teada and the all-female group Liadan.