Saturday 23 March 2019

Fab Gabriel to light up London with pal John

Acclaimed impresario John McColgan and wife Moya Doherty
Acclaimed impresario John McColgan and wife Moya Doherty
Shane and Wendy Lowry hosted the starry party
Mark Cagney
Charity goal... Carol Anthony and partner Ian Rush
In training ... Maria Walsh. Photo: David Conachy
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

The Prince of Wales is travelling to his pal John McColgan's soiree in London in two weeks. Sorry, I tripped and fell face-first onto my computer keys. That should read: superstar Gabriel Byrne, who is filming a movie in Wales, is travelling up to London with wife Hannah Beth for his friend's big night at the Palladium.

Moya Doherty is also making the journey, albeit from Dublin.

The latter blonde superwoman is, of course, married to acclaimed impresario McColgan who is throwing a VIP beano on February 22. The bash is actually the UK premiere of Heartbeat of Home, John and Moya's spectacle of music and dance. John, who has returned from China - where Heartbeat of Home had a 16-week sold out run - told me: "It is going to be a great night in London for the Irish. You never know who will turn up." (Given John produced the Festival of Families in Croke Park last August for His Holiness The Pope, no one would be that shocked if Fab Frankie made an appearance.)

"London is one of my favourite cities. Moya and I lived there once and have great memories. So, we'll take over London that night, and on the two following nights, too, because Heartbeat Of Home is running for two further sold-out nights in London."

John's own heartbeat of home, Moya Doherty, is making the trip with "lots of family and friends flying in from Ireland and further afield," Air Miles John told me as he was off to Germany where Heartbeat of Home was starting another sold-out run.

As well as Gabriel, other stars making the trip to London for John's do include Olivier-award winning Alison Steadman, Bruno Tonioli (judge on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing and the US version of Dancing with the Stars), and Arlene Phillips (judge on Strictly Come Dancing).

It sounds like a night of Strictly Riverdancing awaits the great and the good in London in two weeks.


Stars in swing as Shane savours desert triumph

Shane and Wendy Lowry hosted the starry party

The night went, I think you could say, with a certain swing. Well, legendary Irish golfer Shane Lowry was celebrating his famous Abu Dhabi HSBC win - after a once-in-lifetime shot on the 18th hole and a cheque for €1m - with a party last weekend in Dublin.

The hooley for the Clara, Co Offaly-born sporting great went on until closing upstairs at 37 Dawson Street last Friday night.

He was joined, of course, by his beautiful wife Wendy.

Others who helped Shane celebrate his famous victory in the United Arab Emirates included Robbie Keane and wife Claudine, AP McCoy and wife Chanelle, the band Picture This, as well as Mike Tindall, ex-England rugby player - and husband of Zara Phillips, the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth.

The queen of Irish folk Mary Black also attended the jamboree along with her son Danny and daughter Roisin.

Indeed Mary and Danny (otherwise known as Danny O'Reilly, lead singer of The Coronas) and Roisin (aka chanteuse Roisin O) entertained all and sundry with a spine-tingling rendition of Grace.


Singleton Maria in The Curragh on St Valentine's

In training ... Maria Walsh. Photo: David Conachy

As the Great British Break-Off continues, depressingly apace around us - and Leo -  your diarist's mind turns, inevitably, to Europe. And just as inevitably to the beautiful Maria Walsh.

She tells me something I have known for months. It will shock no one that the former Rose Of Tralee is running as an MEP in the European elections.

"The convention is February 22 and then the campaign starts! Gulp!" she told me.

What might shock many people is that the bubbly beauty has not been on a date since "Shauna [Keogh] and I ended last summer. Sad but true.

"I never get asked out. My poor love life can take the comedic hits!" she laughed.

Most hilariously of all maybe is that on St Valentine's Day Maria will be in that bastion of romance The Curragh in a Reserves Defence uniform training for her 3-star rank.

"Trying to make myself super-eligible - Rose, RDF soldier, elected politician. #wifegoals!"

Ladies, form an orderly queue.


Mark & Audrey have a lie-in after dinner at The Ivy

Mark Cagney

Ireland AM superstar Mark Cagney (pictured) gets the nation up every week, and has been doing so for 18 years. So he is entitled to a long lie-in this morning at Chateau Cagney in Sutton -  after his well-deserved fancy dinner at The Ivy last night with beautiful wife Audrey.

They were joined by another sound couple whose names I am sworn to secrecy on, other than to say diners perhaps thought it was Johnny Cash's producer Rick Rubin when he - a Cork man like Cagney -  entered the restaurant on Dawson Street. On February 16, Mark is off to Jamaica for a week to do some filming for a charity.  How will Ireland AM, and its viewers, cope without its biggest draw and one of the best things about Virgin Media Television?


Bittersweet day for Carol as late sister's son weds

Charity goal... Carol Anthony and partner Ian Rush

Timeless Liverpool FC phenomenon - and latter day wearer of a moustache that defied the ages - Ian Rush and his Irish partner Carol Anthony flew into Dublin last Thursday.

It was a bittersweet occasion: the wedding of Carol's nephew Mark to Sarah at the swish Moyvalley Hotel in Kildare.

Mark's mother - and Carol's sister - Audrey died of cancer aged 49 on January 23, 2016.

"Mark is an only child. He is like a brother to me. Ian took him to a Liverpool match for his stag," Corkonian Carol said, adding that on Thursday her parents Leo and Catherine "took the place of my late sister at the top table.

"It was a very emotional day for my mother and for all of us. Everyone who knew Audrey knew she lived for Mark alone".

As the famous anthem sung at the home of Liverpool Football Club Anfield goes: 'You'll never walk alone.'

Ian and Carol, who fly back to their home in England tomorrow after a couple of post-wedding nights at the Westbury hotel, had been over in Ireland last weekend too.

"We travelled over for Shabra Charity annual gala eventing at Leopardstown Races," Carol told me, "to raise money for the new unit at the Mater Hospital. We've raised €1.2m as of last week.

"Ian is a tireless patron of Shabra, which merged with the Ian Rush Foundation last year."

They were joined at the races by Rita Shah - owner of the Moyvalley Hotel - and Simon Le Bon joined Carol and Ian. The Duran Duran pop star had been in House on Leeson Street the night before.


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