Sunday 22 April 2018

Once more unto the beach, dear friends

Rosanna Davison and husband Wesley Quirke
Rosanna Davison and husband Wesley Quirke
Leo Varadkar, Nollaig Crowley and the Pixies' Black Francis
Natasha Rocca Devine and her glamorous mum Michelle Rocca
Carol Anthony and Ian Rush
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

It was a trip down memory (sandy) lane last week for Rosanna Davison and Wesley Quirke. Rosie tipped me off before she and her other half boarded their plane last Tuesday.

"We're just back from a wedding in the UK - where Wes was the grooms-man," she told me last Monday. "We're off to the Seychelles tomorrow for a fortnight for some sun, sea and sand.

"We're returning to the Constance Lemuria, where we honeymooned three years ago. It's just beautiful with incredible beaches, plenty to do and peaceful too. It's a lovely escape for us."

And us.

Closer to home, former Lillie's Bordello boss turned PR guru Valerie Roe was recently in Marrakesh. She helped co-ordinate a campaign shoot for a luxury tan range. (Before you ask: it's not my brand. This pale-faced ginger uses Factor 50.) "We used Ianthe Rose, who is ex-Made In Chelsea," Valerie told me. "We also shot in the desert. It challenged me in so many ways - snakes, scorpions, rickety boats, walking down the side of cliffs."

Makes dealing with The Pogues, Guns N' Roses et al in Lillie's back in the day sound like a stroll on the beach, doesn't it?

Leo goes Spanish with Lucinda and the Pixies

Leo Varadkar, Nollaig Crowley and the Pixies' Black Francis

I think I'll reserve this corner of my column from now on for An Taoiseach. You OK with that? Leo was at the Coldplay concert at Croke Park last weekend (as was former Ireland manager Mick McCarthy, Ryanair guru Michael and Anita O'Leary, Love/Hate actor Laurence Kinlan, Irish rugby player Rob Henshaw, TV3's Anna Daly, RTE presenter Eoghan McDermott, BBC star Chris Moyles and crimper-to-the-stars Mark O'Keefe with a gang of eight). Mr Varadkar appeared gratified that Chris Martin gave the crowd a shout out for electing a gay immigrant leader.

On the previous Sunday, An T attended the Pixies' gig at Trinity College. He had dinner beforehand at Las Tapas De Lola on Wexford Street with some pals - among them, former politician Lucinda Creighton. One wonders what they discussed over the Patatas Bravas. But back to the music.

The Pixies tweeted a picture of their frontman Black Francis with Leo which Leo told me he thought "was cool". (Let's call a spade a spade. Leo is cool anyway.) Asked would he be attending, as is his wont, Electric Picnic in Stradbally this year, Leo told me: "All depends. Can't really miss the All Ireland Hurling Final as T. There's a clash. Might go for the day. Not overnight. Creative Ireland have some stuff on."

Michelle stays sweet as Bernard is sunny side up

Have I told you lately how great and witty Michelle Rocca is? Once upon a time, she was part of a golden age in Irish life, the life and cultural soul of the party. Then, she appeared to withdraw into the bosom of her family. But what a fabulous family it is (the head of it, Maureen Rocca, a great lady, sadly passed away recently.)

I met Michelle and her kids randomly on the beach in Killiney last summer. She was looking beautiful in that Castleknock Sophia Loren way of hers. As she was last Saturday afternoon in Brown Sugar on South William Street, where she was having her hair done by Gary Kavanagh.

Did She Get Permed?

I couldn't possibly tell you. All I know is Whenever Gary Points His Brush, the magic ensues, and Michelle was in great form on the sunny side of South William Street.

Further south in Marbella, Michelle's brother Bernard Rocca was chilling with his wife Theresa and family. They decamp to their second home every June and July.

"Bernard and the twins just arrived over," Theresa told me referring to Bernard junior and daughter Lidia. "I took Sophia over for a couple of days beforehand to celebrate the end of her Leaving Cert."

Glitzy Catriona putting on the Ritz

Top Irish fashion designer Catriona Hanly celebrated her birthday last week with dinner at The Ritz in London.

Catriona's had plenty to celebrate of late, having just landed the contract to design the uniforms for the distinguished ME Hotel Radio Rooftop Bar in Convent Garden.

"I am thrilled about being able to collaborate with such a prestigious global brand," Hanly told me.

She was in the aforesaid celebrity-friendly hotel on Tuesday night to measure the uniforms when none other than the King and Queen of Spain were staying in the establishment.

Catriona, of course, is practically a royal herself as her father, Bertie, owns Kilronan Castle in Co Roscommon. Meanwhile, Princess Catriona's relationship with her beau Joe Dolan is apparently taking a breather.

Carol's sister will never walk alone

Carol Anthony and Ian Rush

Her famous football boyfriend Ian Rush is on Saturday Night with Miriam on July 29 - and his former team Liverpool play Athletic Bilbao at the Aviva on August 5.

So London-based Carol Anthony will be in Dublin a lot in the coming weeks. She'll be sporting a deep tan from a long sojourn in the Algarve of late with Ian. Carol, however, didn't go to Portugal to top up her tan so much as to top up her soul...

Tragically, Carol lost her sister Veronica to cancer last month.

"I had been in Cardiff working with Uefa when my brother called to say my sister had been rushed to hospital and she would only have a few weeks to live," Carol told me.

"I really didn't believe it because you don't want to believe it. But true to the doctors' word - it was only a few weeks. How could someone go from being OK with just a slight pain in her back to having a few weeks to live?

"It cripples you emotionally, especially to see her two beautiful daughters Kim and Fay and her husband Noel - all clinging to the hope of a miracle," said Carol.

The last time she had seen Veronica was at Christmas when she and Ian met her for lunch in Cork.

"We had such a laugh and she had a quirky sense of humour; she always spoke her mind."

"And," said Carol, "to go from that to go to then seeing her in a hospital bed without hope of recovery is heartbreaking."

She'll never walk alone in Heaven.

Sunday Indo Living

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