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Mary and beau Tom dance into the West

 

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Mary Kennedy. Photo: Frank McGrath

Mary Kennedy. Photo: Frank McGrath

Bromance... Hugh and Ian

Bromance... Hugh and Ian

Opening night... Kathleen Watkins

Opening night... Kathleen Watkins

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Mary Kennedy. Photo: Frank McGrath

I'm sure Mary Kennedy - like the rest of us - is somewhere between Nietzsche ("We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once") and George Bernard Shaw ("Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire") after her nation-entrancing turn on Dancing with the Stars over the past nine weeks with dance partner John Nolan.

She and her real life partner Tom were at the launch in the Westbury on Wednesday night of The Wedding Candle by Jenny McCarthy. (Is Mary trying to tell us something? Is she planning on getting married again?) "I have been nowhere except John's dance studio for three months," she told me. "We do plan to go away for a few days, maybe the week after next. I've no idea where yet. Somewhere in the west. Aran islands? Donegal? Kerry?"

The newly retired ex-Nationwide host said she had been chatting during the week about "taking dance classes with John, and some other friends said they're like that too. So we could be starting a whole new trend! A lovely trend. Dancing is exhilarating, physical, creative..."

Does Mary dance at home of an evening with Tom?

"No, I do not!" she laughed, adding that she is an ambassador for Tourism Day on April 17, when "hundreds of attractions and cultural experiences will be available free of entry charge to visitors.

"It's the Friday after Easter so the children will still be on school holidays and it will be a nice way to introduce them to important places of interest in Ireland."

How does she feel about being eliminated from DWTS?

"I was surprised by how devastated I felt. I was philosophical on Monday and am still happy that the correct decision was made about which couple - Grainne and Kai - should go through. On Tuesday, however, the sadness took hold. I was so sorry not to be learning a new dance and continuing the seven-hour training day which I found satisfying and stimulating. I was tearful and emotional, and found it hard to settle on any activity. Time is a healer of course. Onwards and upwards now."

Apropos of which, Mary spoke at the Samaritans' 50th Anniversary event in City Hall last Thursday about the importance of mental wellbeing. On Friday, she attended the Chernobyl lunch in the InterContinental Hotel, supporting her friend Adi Roche.

"I travelled to Belarus with her and Ali [Hewson] two years ago, and the difference Chernobyl Children International has made to the lives of so many people in that devastated part of the world is incredible."

 

Great and good turn out for Orla at Solomon

For a few hours last Thursday evening, Balfe Street was the centre of the known universe. Acclaimed Meath sculptor Orla de Bri launched her latest exhibition at the Solomon Fine Art Gallery.

"I have been working on this show for two years... 18 figurative sculptures delving into the theme Bound," Orla told me. "We are bound to live, to change, to communicate, to protect, to explore, to be, to love. We are bound by time, rules, gender and to be part of nature. This show explores some of what we are bound to and what we are bound by as we navigate our lives."

The opening night of Orla's eighth solo show was certainly well attended: Guggi, Miriam and Cecelia Ahern, Orla and Donal Lunny, Bill Cullen and Jackie Lavin, Robert Ballagh, Dylan McGrath with his groovy new beard, and Liam Cunningham with his hipster video designer daughter Ellen. Liam opened the show with a moving speech which praised Orla's humanity. The Game Of Thrones star read a passage from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet.

 

Hugh chats up our Carol's fiance Ian

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Bromance... Hugh and Ian

Bromance... Hugh and Ian

Bromance... Hugh and Ian

 

Is it a recce for their wedding? Cork beauty Carol Anthony and her fiance, Liverpool FC legend Ian Rush, are in Dublin next month. They are bringing Carol's parents Leo and Catherine out for dinner.

Last month, Carol and Ian were in Berlin for the Laureus World Sports Awards. Staying at the Ritz Carlton, Ian was there to represent his beloved Liverpool at the Team of the Year Award. Carol and Ian met awards host Hugh Grant on the night. Did the movie star try to chat up Carol?

"No! He was trying to chat Ian up but that happens a lot. Men just want to talk football!" Carol laughed. "Hugh said he thought Ian was one of the best footballers of all time." Carol added that her husband-to-be wore Nike runners with his tux, and there could be a new Ian Rush retro football boot coming down the line.

Given the way Liverpool has been playing of late, I think Ian should put on his boots for the vital game against Atlético Madrid next Wednesday at Anfield and ask Jurgen Klopp to give him a run-out.

 

Our girl Kathleen at Gate premiere

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Opening night... Kathleen Watkins

Opening night... Kathleen Watkins

Opening night... Kathleen Watkins

 

Kathleen Watkins is my go-to person for culture. She attended the premiere last Wednesday night of Nancy Harris's Our New Girl at the Gate theatre. "It was the best play I've seen for years. A triumph for Nancy," said Kathleen, who went with Marie Heaney.

The play features some of Ireland's top actors, including Blaithin Mac Gabhann, who also stars in Lenny Abrahamson's forthcoming Normal People - and Aidan McArdle (who played the head of MI5 in The Trial of Christine Keeler).

Also enjoying the show was veteran theatre director Joe Dowling, who is in rehearsals for Faithhealer at the Abbey with the legendary Aidan Gillen. "I did Faithhealer at the Abbey 40 years ago, the year my son Ronan was born, so it's really a homecoming for me in more ways than one. Aidan didn't really know the play and it's wonderful to watch him discover the magic of Brian Friel's writing. Aidan is going to be wonderful as Faithhealer," Joe enthuses.

Aidan is clearly getting his 'Littlefinger' out…

Someone shoot me - non-fatally please - before I turn into a luvvie lorrying into the free Chablis.

Sunday Indo Living