Friday 21 June 2019

It's once more unto the beach for chilled Stefanie

Fun in the sun... Stefanie Preissner and mum are jetting off
Fun in the sun... Stefanie Preissner and mum are jetting off
Michael Mulcahy and Vera Whelan
Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie as Kat and Alfie
Gay Byrne and his wife Kathleen Watkins
Siobhan McClafferty

It's official. Stefanie Preissner can't cope, won't cope - with the Irish weather as opposed to some profound existential crisis. And so the acclaimed author and actress is jetting off in June to Portugal with her mammy, Bernie.

With her new series Can't Cope, Won't Cope Season 2 starting on April 23 on RTE 2 at 9.30pm, Stefanie is currently, she told me, existing "in a foetal curl of anguish ahead of that. I'm trying to play it cool and not care how it's received but of course I care very much". She has also just finished the second draft of another pilot with First Look Media in New York. "So again, lots of vulnerable rocking. If you have excess confidence or self-belief and want rid of it..." Nothing else to do but to rid herself of the Irish weather, then.

"I've been freezing since October and I'm just done with it," poor diddums Ms Preissner added. So it is once more unto the beach, dear Stefanie? "I'm not a sun-worshipper," she said. "I'm the annoying person who demands everyone wears sunscreen. My mum Bernie is the perfect holiday companion. She's laid back and loves to peruse the massive supermarkets and then fire up the barbecue."

EastEnders' Kat likes to get saucy in Dun Laoghaire

Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie as Kat and Alfie

There is a more famous woman than Rosanna Davison who eats regularly in a certain restaurant in south County Dublin.

No, really. Jessie Wallace (above) - otherwise known to the world as Kat Slater in EastEnders - was in Rasam last Friday with a pal at 5.45pm.

Staying until 8.30pm, the star swapped Albert Square in Walford for Glasthule Road in Dun Laoghaire and her favourite Indian in Dublin.

According to my sauces - sorry, I couldn't resist - sources in Rasam, Jessie has been there three times before, twice with Shane Richie, who plays her husband in the BBC soap, Alfie Moon.

Vera brings magic to madly in love Mick

Michael Mulcahy and Vera Whelan

They'll always have Paris. Michael Mulcahy and his muse Vera Whelan - that is. Ireland's answer to Salvador Dali, and his beloved girlfriend (they've been going out since January, 2012) have just returned from a month in the City of Light.

Mick was exhibiting over there, as opposed to making an exhibition of himself. Vera has been very much the calming influence on the painter once as well known internationally for his crazy antics as his crazily brilliant art, hence the nickname Mad Mick. He is now more Mick Madly in Love with Vera. And where better for Mick to be madly in love with his Vera than in the most romantic city in the world? During their sojourn in gay Paree, they made the Passage du Prado hotel on Rue du Faubourg, Saint-Denis, their base.

They ate in, among others, their favourite Italian in Paris, Pozzetto on Rue du Roi de Sicile. Only Mick Mulcahy would have a favourite Italian restaurant in the French capital - to say nothing of the gourmet capital of the world.

They dined with their friends in Paris like, Vera told me: "Louisa, Filipe, Herve, and, of course, Mick's 19-year-old daughter Fiona who lives in Paris." Mick and Vera - who got the ferry from Rosslare to Cherbourg before making the three-hour train journey to Paris with Mick's paintings for the sold-out exhibition in tow - are clearly having the time of their lives.

That said, there are "no plans for a big day", Vera told me when I poked my big nose into their private business. "We're happy in ourselves. Two hearts that know we are meant to be together." They are living, as Vera put it, in "Mick's magic cottage near Dungarvan, the town where he grew up". Magic Mick and Vibrant Vera. It has a certain ring to it? And Vera will ring my neck if I don't mention that her dearly beloved has a tres magnifique exhibition at the Spectrum Gallery in Selskar, Wexford, running for another two weeks.

Gay and Kathleen walk right back to happiness

PL22012051Gay Byrne and Ka.jpg
Gay Byrne and his wife Kathleen Watkins

Say what you like about Kathleen Watkins and Gay Byrne. But they are certainly not over the hill  yet.

This is not for the want of trying on their part, because Gay 'n' Kathleen walk up and over enough hills but they are not, in neither mind nor body, over those aforementioned metaphorical hills.

Last week Gay 'n' Kathleen went on a three-day walking holiday among the hills of Donegal with some pals.

On Wednesday night they enjoyed "the best buffet in Ireland", according to Kathleen, at Harvey's Point hotel where they helped celebrate a friend's birthday.

When I enquired as to the identity of the birthday person, Kathleen said that it was "one of our walking group. We walked for 26 years, sometimes across the Blue Stacks."

"Not much of that these days," chatty Kathy added, saying that her other half Gay was "so happy among this close knit group of special people".

It gladdens the heart of this diarist that Uncle Gaybo is literally back on his feet.

It will doubtless also gladden the hearts of their neighbours in Sandymount that Gay 'n' Kathleen are back home from their travels.

I didn't get a chance to ask Gay whether he said to his wife of many years in Donegal last Friday evening: I'll take you home again, Kathleen.

Miss Ireland Siobhan homes in on Austin, Texas

Siobhan McClafferty

Miss Ireland 1990 is making her mark in America in 2018. Last month Siobhan McClafferty - whose sister Jackie is married to the late Charlie Haughey's son Conor - bought a house in Austin, Texas with her husband Julian. "It is 4,000 square feet with a full cinema room and, most importantly, keepsakes from Ireland." Siobhan and Julian's 18-year-old daughter Lauren has been flying at her studies of late - "straight As" said her proud mum" - and has been offered a place at the Institute of Art in Chicago. As a thank you  for all her hard work, Siobhan and  Julian recently bought Lauren her first car.

Meanwhile back in Ireland, in Howth's hippest restaurant Aqua this Friday, Sile Seoige is hosting a charity dinner for 150 people - TV star Jenny Buckley, Des Peelo, a best friend of the aforesaid Charlie Haughey, and wife Philo, among them - to raise money for The Rosabel Rooms in honour of baby Rosabel Monroe who left this world tragically too soon.

"The night, which is totally sold out, is going to be an amazing evening for an amazing cause," Rosabel's mother Suzanne told me, adding that Aqua's main man Charlie Smith has pulled out all the stops as ever.

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