Friday 23 August 2019

Colin flies in for U2 with mother Rita close behind

Colin Farrell and his mother Rita
Colin Farrell and his mother Rita
Model mother Jill Wright and her family soak up the sun in Portugal’s Quinta do Lago
Jack Reynor and fiancee Madeline Mulqueen
Vincent Browne
Kathleen Watkins with her best-selling book Pigín of Howth
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

Cue dancing around Sandymount like a scene from La La Land. Lovely Rita Farrell flies into Dublin tomorrow from Los Angeles. "I can't bleeding wait," Eamon Farrell said excitedly ahead of the arrival of his beloved mother.

The incomparable dance guru Eamon - who lives in the aforesaid Sandymount with his husband, artist and Fine Gael politico Steven Mannion (and their dogs Bess, Rosie and Lilly) had two other reasons to celebrate...

His movie star little brother Colin and his stunning sister Claudine yesterday flew in from Los Angeles, where Colin is filming Dumbo, to attend U2 (or "Stockton's Bling", as Eamon calls them) at Croke Park with Eamon, Steven and the gang. Eamon has a U2 connection of sorts: he set up the world famous National Performing Arts School in The Factory with his lovely business partner and best friend Jill Doyle in 1994 - Jill's husband, Fraser McAlister, used to be Bono's guitar go-to guy.

Doubtless after partying into the wee small hours with Dumbo... sorry, I mean Bono... Eamon, Colin and Claudine will be running to a standstill to get the house ready for their magnificent ma's arrival tomorrow.

The Wrights do it right in red-hot Algarve

A certain well-respected Howth dynasty has relocated to another utterly glamorous seaside location for the summer (along with the rest of the Irish beau monde, it seems.) One of that principality's most beautiful females, ex-model Jill Wright, and her husband Mark have been in Quinta do Lago in Portugal with their family. The Wrights do everything right, don't they?

Indeed, as you can see from the picture of Jill and four of her five lovely kids - Charlotte, Mark junior, Darcy, Rose and Georgia - enjoying a day at the beach last week, Jill is in every way the model mother.

"I love it here because it's so child friendly and my brother Michael comes with his wife Elaine and children. His children and our children are very close in age and love spending time together in the sun," Jill told me, adding that she hooked up with her VBF, Vivienne Connolly for dinner in Quinta do Lago last Thursday night.

"It's been a very chilled-out holiday. We were celebrating our eldest daughter Georgia's 11th birthday with her best pal Melanie Gallagher and Katie Dunne in the Zoo Marine, swimming with the dolphins. They had a ball," said Jill (nee Diffney) who had a ball on New Year's Eve in 2008 when she married Mark Wright at the K Club (American hip hop genius Gucci Mane who played Longitude, stayed in the K Club last weekend.) Guests for the big day in Michael Smurfit's K Club included models Lizanna Kirwan, Mary Grimes, and Jill's aforementioned brother Michael (who had just got engaged to Vivienne Connolly's sister, Elaine.) Jill and her Mr Wright jetted to that Howth of the Caribbean, Barbados on their honeymoon.

"There are lots of Irish down here," Jill said of Quinta. "Mark has gone home for work" - he owns the ultra-hip Crabby Jo's restaurant in Howth. "So I'm here with the kids and my pal Lisa Gallagher from Howth." Where else?

But back to Quinta do Lago. Deirdre Kelly was spotted having coffee in Pure last week with her radio presenter VBF, Claire Ronan. Deirdre is in the Algarve with her kids.

Far from the Madeline crowd in Lillie's Bordello

I can't say without fear of someone blowing the whistle on me that Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan taking a five-week holiday has started a trend. It just seems that way. I mean, it feels like everyone is out of the country - or in West Cork - at the moment.

Be that as it may, it is therefore oddly reassuring that some of our stars can still be found, on occasion, in the regular haunts.

Like Lillie's Bordello, for instance. Irish superstar Jack Reynor - star of the brilliant Sing Street, Transformers and What Richard Did - was in the Grafton Street nightclub last Sunday night. He was with his fiancee Madeline Mulqueen and some friends after the Irish premiere of Dunkirk. Which reminds me of the beach at Sandycove on a sunny day. Blizzards' front-man Bressie and some friends were also in Lillie's last weekend. Glad to see someone is still in the country.

Chop! Chop! October can't come quick enough

Vincent Browne

Food for thought. A tasty rumour that will surely cook up some interest - and not just among discerning foodies...

One of the capital's top restaurants, Chophouse on Shelbourne Road in D4, is allegedly taking up a residency in the main dining room of the Stephen's Green Hibernian Club for the month of October.

This means that Chophouse regulars (like departing TV3 star and grumpy gourmand Vincent Browne, pictured) will soon be able to dine in some of the most spectacular rooms not just in St Stephen's Green, but in the whole country.

That'll be me sitting by the window.

Kathleen happy to immortalise another Badger

Kathleen Watkins with her best-selling book Pigín of Howth

My old friend Patrick Rocca, sadly no longer with us, used to regularly tell me what a great guy Johnny Ronan was. Surreally, in all the years writing about Mr Ronan, I have yet to meet him.

Last Wednesday evening I went into the all-new Bailey pub on Duke Street, only to be told by a customer that Johnny Ronan had just left, and he was looking super-fit - and that he was drinking Dom Perignon with a male pal. Proof, indeed, that the boom is back.

Still on the subject of The Badger - albeit loosely - Kathleen Watkins last Monday recorded an audio for the disc to accompany the paper-book of her best-selling Pigin of Howth for the Christmas market.

When I pressed Kathleen to 'fess up and admit that the character in the book Badger of Ballsbridge is, of course, based on a certain badger-coiffured tycoon of Ballsbridge, namely Johnny Ronan, she practically roared with laughter: "You are very naughty. He does have a cousin, The Badger of Bundoran. If Johnny is taking a nice trip soon - my Badger of Ballsbridge and Pigin of Howth would love to join him."

Kathleen was in Lissadell House in Sligo last weekend to read Yeats at the Countess Markievicz celebration. "What an honour." Chatty Kathy, however, wasn't joined by her other half - Mr Byrne - but he did join her for the opening night of Angela's Ashes: The Musical at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre on Thursday night. "Gay," she told me, "is in good form." So, I'm told, is Johnny Ronan.

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