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A big night out for 'Little Women'

Senator Fiach Mac Conghail arrived at the Gate Theatre in Dublin on Tuesday evening to support his wife, Bríd Ní Neachtain, who was playing Mrs Kirke in Little Women. Fiach, the director of the Abbey Theatre, was on something of a busman’s holiday.

His opposite number at the Gate, Michael Colgan, was meeting and greeting in the foyer. It was opening night, and there was lots of air-kissing. Gay Byrne and Kathleen Watkins caught up with Sinéad O’Connor’s sister, Dr Eimear O’Connor. Eimear, an art historian, hopes to finish her book on the painter Seán Keating this week.

However, it was Eimear’s sister-in-law Anne-Marie Casey, who is married to the novelist Joseph O’Connor, who was in the limelight on Tuesday. She adapted Little Womenfor the stage.

Noreen Casari had taken a night off from the Unicorn restaurant, leaving her husband, Giorgio, holding the fort.

The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, was accompanied by his wife, Eleanor; the solicitors Ivor Fitzpatrick and his wife Susan Stapleton were also at the show. The barrister Colum Walsh took some time out from rehearsals with the Leeson Park Players. They are producing A Chorus of Disapproval, which opens next Thursday night in the Centenary Hall on Leeson Park and ends next Saturday.

The gallerist Ib Jorgensen has his Christmas show opening at his gallery in Hibernian Way on December 1st. He was accompanied his partner, Mary Finan, who sits on the board of the Gate. She thought the play “had a very clever set”. (By a simple rotating movement it transforms from the interior of the house to the exterior. Full marks to the stage designer Paul O’Mahony. )

Fellow board member and former Bank of Ireland governor Laurence Crowley, who went to school at nearby Belvedere College, also enjoyed the show, as did Aisling Gleeson; the actors John Kavanagh and Jonathan Ryan; Pat Moylan, the chair of the Arts Council; the former editor of the Who’s WhoMaureen Cairnduff; and Suzanne McDougald, who has opened a new gallery on Balfe Street, beside the Westbury.

A Whistles-stop evening

Followers of fashion have long loved Whistles clothing, but the brand gained a lot more fans after Kate Middleton wore one of the label’s blouses for her engagement photograph with Prince William.

Readers of The Irish Timesattended a fashion evening at Brown Thomas in Dublin on Tuesday, co-hosted by the newspaper’s Fashion Editor, Deirdre McQuillan, and Whistles chief executive Jane Shepherdson.

Among the readers were solicitor April Gilroy from Monkstown, PhD student Susan Griffin from Booterstown and personal shopper Nicki Maye from Blackrock in Dublin, who all went to school together at Mount Anville and were having a night out.

Ann Corcoran, managing director of Limetree Advertising, was there with her friend Jo Farrelly.

Models on Tuesday evening included two former Miss Irelands, Sarah Morrissey and Aoife Cogan. Aoife is enjoying her engagement. Rugby player Gordon D’Arcy proposed to her while on holiday in Menorca during the summer.

Shelly Corkery, fashion director of Brown Thomas, was also there. She was looking forward to yesterday’s unveiling of the shop’s Christmas windows.

Deirdre McQuillan wore what Jane Shepherdson described as “a Whistles hand-beaded silk dress”. Deirdre, who had sprained her hand, even managed to carry off a wrist support with style.

Joining the fellowship of the foodies

Derry Clarke of L’Écrivain was named as the winner of the Chef’s Chef Award 2012 at the launch of The Dubliner 100 Best Restaurants 2012at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel on Golden Lane, in Dublin, on Thursday evening. Poor Derry was unable to collect the award, as he was at home in bed sick. Pichet was named Dublin’s most popular restaurant – co-owner Nick Munier was beaming.

The rugby pundit Brent Pope arrived at the awards with his friend Pete Rodriguez, who is visiting from New York. Brent is celebrating his birthday this weekend, and friends are flying in from all over.

Rosanna Davison told me she was getting ready to travel to Germany, where she’s attending a Unesco charity gala this evening in Düsseldorf, where she will be rubbing shoulders with Naomi Campbell, Olivier Martinez and Jerry Hall.

Rosanna’s friend the fashion designer Dawn FitzGerald is looking forward to opening her new boutique in the Powerscourt Centre next week. The model Alison Canavan was chatting to the modelling agent Celia Holman-Lee. Alison’s son James, who celebrated his first birthday in September, was being looked after by a sitter, as his grandmother Margaret Canavan was out at choir practice for this weekend’s screening of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ringat the Grand Canal Theatre, with a live performance of the score by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and Our Lady’s Choral Society.

Leinster boys paint the town blue

The venue for the launch of the book Rhapsody in Bluecould have been the Mansion House, but David Lloyd Riverview in Clonskeagh, where the Leinster team trains, was chosen instead. This ensured that at least some of the team would turn up a busy week for them.

The book catalogues Leinster’s 2011 Heineken Cup triumph. “At half time in France it looked as if it was going to be called Blue Murder,” said the book’s author, Peter Breen.

The Leinster head coach, Joe Schmidt, took part in a brief QA with MC Michael O’Keefe, who works in PR and is no stranger to togging out. In a former life he won three Dublin senior medals with Kilmacud Crokes.

Sean O’Brien was still sporting a shiner from the team’s draw in Montpellier last weekend. Other players who turned up included

Kevin McLaughlin and Gordon D’Arcy.

Brian O’Driscoll looked disconsolate. He was due to go under the knife for a trapped nerve in his shoulder on Wednesday.

Deirdre Ryan, who was named athlete of the year at the National Athletics Awards on Sunday, gave Leo Cullen a run for his money in the height stakes. Also there was Keira Kennedy, the marketing manager for Leinster Rugby, who is also the sister of Leo Cullen’s wife, Dairine.

Prof Pratchett talks at Trinity

“Professor Sir Terry Pratchett’s Alumni Lecture” in Trinity College Dublin on Wednesday evening, took the form of a conversational interview between the writer and Dr Darryl Jones, head of the school of English.

The packed lecture hall included Catriona Lawlor, who works for the DCU Ryan academy in Citywest and is “a massive fan of Terry”; Jean Bourke, who is doing a PhD in chemistry and “listening to an audiobook of Carpe Jugulum”; and Nicola Murphy, her sister Mary-Ellen Murphy and their friend Sheila O’Sullivan who travelled to Dublin from Co Clare.

Pratchett told the guests he would support some humans going to Mars, “so that when we eventually destroy ourselves down here, the ones on Mars can come back down and start all over again”.