The Diary: Red Rock's new writer, Brendan Courtney's new web show, BTs, weddings, and the Leinster star's new pub (2024)

'I'm jumping ship," former Fair City actress and author Caroline Grace Cassidy exclaimed at the launch of her latest chick lit novel I Always Knew.

"I'm joining the writing team on TV3's Red Rock."

The witty blonde, who played the part of Aoife Coleman in RTÉ's long standing series, will start working on TV3's new soap this September.

"It's back to the backstabbing and bitchiness of the soap opera world," Caroline laughed.

But before all that, the mum-of-two is heading over to San Francisco for the US première of her short film I Am Jesus at the city's renowned international film festival.

"It'll be a blast," she said.

"Going to the west coast of Ireland for the Galway Film Fleadh was fun enough and now we're going to the west coast of the US."

The launch was heaving with Caroline's nearest and dearest pals.

Love/Hate actress Mary Murray was full of chat about her upcoming role as an evil stepmother in classic Christmas Pantomime Cinderella at the Helix Theatre.

Murray plays the part of brothel madam Janet in RTÉ's gangland drama but assures me there's a lot less cocaine and prostitutes in the panto.

"It'll be nice doing something so flamboyant and over the top after all the TV and screen acting," she said. "I can't wait to get into the big dress and make-up."

Petite TV presenter Maia Dunphy seemed relieved to have finally finished filming her second series of What Women Want.

"The days were very, very long but it's in the can. Now we just have to edit the show together," she said.

"The finishing line is in sight. Just."

Comedian and writer Tara Flynn was in high spirits and chatted about the release of her upcoming tongue-in-cheek self help book; It's Grand: The Irish Woman's Secret Guide to Life.

"I am imparting Irish women's wisdom to the rest of the world," Flynn explained. "We're very, very wise and it's time other people knew that. Don't worry it won't be anything like The Secret." Thank heavens for that.

Actresses Sorcha Furlong and Sarah Flood swirled glasses of wine and talked about film projects while waiting to get their copies of the book signed.

Socialite and etiquette expert Tina Koumarianos brought a touch of colour to proceedings while Caroline's brother Keith Grace kept the crowd entertained with a sing-a-long.

"The book is inspired by music," Caroline explained. "The Vaccines were kind enough to let me use the lyrics of their song as the title so what better way to finish off the night than with a music number."

When the wine finally ran dry guests headed to Pacino's where the party raged on.


Les Bleus' new watering hole has captain's seal of approval

That's some line out of Leinster rugby talents hunkered down in a joint entreprenurial venture together in the former Bellamy's bar in Dublin's Ballsbridge.

The famous D4 watering hole beloved of the rugby fraternity has been closed for renovations and will hopefully re-open at the end of next month, just in time for the new season, but what will it be called?

I've heard the whisper but I'm sworn to secrecy, but I can tell you that all will be revealed next Tuesday.

Do you think the façade's paintwork will change from red? Well I think that's a racing certainty given that the new owners are Leinster rugby royalty and the pub is just a hop of the oval ball away from Leinster's match grounds in the RDS. Leinster's newly crowned captain Jamie Heaslip, who takes up the baton from Leo Cullen, is one of the investors along with the provincial side's vice captains Rob Kearney and Seán O'Brien.

Also in the mix are Rob's younger brother Dave and Noel Anderson of the Grafton Lounge.

The rugby boys are certainly very entrepreneurial. Jamie, a committed foodie (his chocolate brownies are to die for) - has invested in Bear restaurant on South William Street while around the corner in Drury Street, Rob has invested in Industry, the uber cool lifestyle store.

Jamie is very much into emerging tech and he is nice and rested after holidaying in New York while the Kearneys vacationed in Vegas.

And it's congratulations for top rugby agent Dave McHugh from Line Up, the sports, media, entertainment management agency, whose wife Geraldine gave birth to their first child, a son called Freddie, on August 16.

- BP

Brendan gets stars knickers in a twist

Hold on to your bloomers. Designer extraordinaire Brendan Courtney will be rifling through Amy Huberman, Jennifer Maguire and Laura Whitmore's drawers for a new web-based series.

"I go into different celebrities houses, and have a wander around and look through their wardrobes," he explained. "It's almost good to go."

It's shaping up to be a busy autumn for the TV host who will decamp to Manhattan with his partner in crime Sonya Lennon next month to show off FrockAdvisor.

As if that wasn't enough Brendan will also launch the second annual Irish Oscar Wilde Festival in Galway on September 5. Breaking Bad actress Vivian Nesbitt will also fly in for the occasion.

Nesbitt is the great, great granddaughter of Galway girl and milliner Eva O'Flaherty, a cousin of Wilde's who moved in well-to-do circles in London and Paris.

Writer Brendan Murphy will discuss his book Kicking Oscar's Corpse while documentary maker John Cooper will talk about Wilde's love of flamboyant clothing.

"Wilde famously said you one could never be 'overdressed or overeducated'," director Sandra Coffey explained. "So it makes sense to study his penchant for fabulous velvet jackets and lace cuffs."


It's a weekend for saying 'I do'

I don't know which got to me most when I first met jeweller Chupi Sweetman-Pell. . . her amazing earrings and rings or her incredible love story with Brian Durney.

He told her he loved her when they met as teenagers and 14 years later they are getting married next weekend with an outdoor humanist ceremony at Mount Druid in Co Westmeath, an organic farm with yurts for guests to stay.

"It's the one time in your life when you are surrounded by all your friends and the people you love so we are going for it and staying at Mount Druid for five days. We have friends coming from Russia, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand so it's going to be wonderful," said Chupi.

The couple are returning to the south of France - near to where Brian, a talented website designer, proposed in 2010 - to honeymoon in a beautiful old silk mill. Chupi will wear a stunning bias-cut ivory gown by Elizabeth Fillmore and, naturally, she made their wedding bands, casting the moulds from a branch and a twig of a hawthorn tree in Brian's native Kildare.

Also tying the knot next weekend are former Miss Ireland and Off The Rails presenter Pamela Flood and restaurateur Ronan Ryan, who runs the super popular Pizza e Porchetta on Grand Canal Quay and they are bringing their guests to No 10 on Ormond Quay.

- BP

A night of champers and air kissing

It used to be all about Thursday night soirées but midweek is getting very lively on the social front and Brown Thomas on Grafton Street was THE place to be on Tuesday night for the launch of the Irish Designers CREATE event.

Now in its fourth year, the talent showcase launch was the biggest fashion get together all year and Brown Thomas fashion director Shelly Corkery welcomed guests and was on the receiving end of lots of compliments for her look on the night - Balenciaga shirt, Acne skirt and Givenchy ankle boots.

The legendary business woman Mary Finan, former chairwoman of RTÉ, the Gate Theatre and the ESRI was there to support her long-time favourite fashion designer Richard Lewis, who has a new AW14 collection and retrospective at Brown Thomas for the next month.

I also spotted Bernadette Ó hUiginn (inset) who has worn Richard Lewis at diplomatic events around the world and whose husband, Sean Ó hUiginn, served as Ireland's Ambassador to the US and most recently to Italy. Half of Ireland can thank Bernadette for their Irish pronunciation.

Formerly known as Bernadette Ní Ghallchóir, she hosted the Irish language show Buntús Cainte in the 1960s and she was a familiar face of RTÉ between the late 1960s and early 1980s.

She is probably best remembered for hosting the 1971 Eurovision Song Contest from the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin.

There was a gaggle of rugby wives along to support the Kennedy sisters, Dairine and Keira from the KDK brand including Aoife Cogan, wife of Gordon D'Arcy.

- BP

Irish acts return triumphant from Edinburgh

After weeks of plugging shows, countless sleepless nights and one too many battered Mars bars, the boyos from Collapsing Horse Theatre Company have returned from the Edinburgh Festival safe and sound.

But there's no rest for the wicked and the lads are already back to the grindstone; rakish producer Matt Smyth is gearing up for the Tiger Dublin Fringe, retired Game of Thrones star Jack Gleeson has his nose deep in college philosophy books and Love/Hate actor Aaron Heffernan is promoting feature film Poison Pen.

"We're still trying to recover from the insanity of it all," Smyth said. "It was frantic, frenzied and fantastic."

Collapsing Horse weren't the only Irish act to win over the Edinburgh crowds; candy floss haired actress Genevieve Hulme Beaman (inset) picked up the Scotsman Fringe First Award for her one woman show Pondling.

"It was a kaleidoscope of creativity over there," Genevieve said. "My show tells the story of Madeline Humble Buttercup; a young girl with the poise and grace of Édith Piaf and a passion for knee high socks."

Bush Moukarzel and Mark O'Halloran's play Lippy scooped several gongs at the Total Theatre Awards and will head over to NY later this year. Last, but definitely not least, Tedfest made the successful transition from Inis Mór to the Scottish capital.

Show stopping numbers such as 'Ted's Got Talent' and the 'Lovely Girls Competition' saw punters buy into the Craggy Island dream.


The Diary: Red Rock's new writer, Brendan Courtney's new web show, BTs, weddings, and the Leinster star's new pub (2024)


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