Springsteens make it a family day at the RDS

Dublin Lord Mayor arrives to Dublin Horse Show in style on first day

The Springsteens are practically living in the RDS these days. Dad Bruce has sold out multiple concerts over the years while daughter Jessica represented Team US at the Dublin Horse Show yesterday.

Her proud father was there to watch her, along with his flame-haired wife Patti Scialfa.

Despite his sporting questionable facial hair, there was general agreement among the female media corps that the singer looked extremely well for a man who is hurtling towards 65 years of age.

It brought a nice frisson to the opening day of the five-day event in Ballsbridge. From early morning, celebrity snappers were pacing around wondering how to get past the tight security to meet the 22-year-old showjumper.


Meanwhile, RTÉ Drivetime's Frances Shanahan beat them all to it by interviewing her on the way out of the arena after she got a clear round.

The reporter, who knows her horses, risked offending her by noting that her mount was no oil painting, but happily she agreed with the summation.

“I know. She has huge ears, she doesn’t look like she could really jump high but she’s one of the most careful horses I have ever ridden and she’s so quick.”

While people were excited to see the daughter of a rock star, she said she was equally thrilled to be there. “It’s incredible. I came here to watch seven years ago and my dad did a concert here two years ago, but to be competing here is a huge moment in my career.”

The arrival of the Boss must surely have gladdened the heart of Dublin Lord Mayor Christy Burke, who is still getting over the trauma of Garth Brook's no-show.

“Don’t mention the war,” he grimaced, when the stetson- wearer’s name was mentioned.

Instead he set his cap at meeting Springsteen. "It would be great if he arrives, great for the country," the lord mayor said, before the Boss was spotted in the crowd.

"Hopefully he won't let us down," he added pointedly, just in case any connections of Garth Brooks were within earshot.

The singer is known to frequent the Merrion Hotel so the lord mayor could have given the Springsteens a lift to the RDS in the splendidly ornate carriage that comes with his office.

Travelling in a carriage to the Royal Dublin Society was a first for the former Sinn Féin politician.

“The last time I was at one of them was maybe at a funeral, following behind it. I never dreamt that I’d be in one.”

Earlier RTÉ's Miriam O'Callaghan dropped in to the RDS Library to unveil the Brian Boru Millennium Crown which is made from gold and silver donated by everyone from Prince Albert of Monaco to Michael Smurfit.

It was the brainchild of cancer survivor Alison McCormick who set up Jewels for Cures to raise funds for cancer research. Oncologist Prof John Crown pretended to put the crown on the broadcaster’s head.

“She’s been the uncrowned queen of Ireland for long enough,” he quipped. “Let’s make it official.”

O’Callaghan said she was enjoying her career as much as ever but had no plans to go on forever. “Oh Lord, no, that would be really awful for the Irish people.”

Her role model Barbara Walters recently stepped down from her daytime show, aged 84. "Now I'm not planning to toddle into the Prime Time studio at that age."

She also said she had no plans to have plastic surgery to lengthen her career.

“I always think women who have said they’ve had plastic surgery, they almost look like they’ve had a very bad fright . . . I dye my hair. I look after myself. I whiten my teeth. It’s not like I’m Ms Natural, but no, I think you end up looking odd, not younger.”

Today is Ladies Day at the show so expect to see lots of white teeth and blonde hair and an occasional odd-looking woman.

Alison Healy

Alison Healy

Alison Healy is a contributor to The Irish Times