Web women, and a Westlife weightlifter


Nicky Byrne is acclimatising to domestic life after Westlife, and accompanied his wife Georgina Ahern to the launch of the website her.iein Pink nightclub on Thursday evening. “We’re into the second week now since it all ended. It’s nice to be at home and I’m doing a lot of training.”

Byrne said that although he played professional soccer for Leeds United for a while, he’s not training in the beautiful game at the moment. “I’m boxing training and weightlifting.” He’s also cleaning. “I cleaned out the garage today, which I wanted to do for a long time. It’s nice to be around the house and to take the kids to summer camp.”

Ahern is one of the weekly contributors to the new website. “It’s all very light-hearted. It’s not rocket science and is all common sense,” she said. The Byrnes are heading to Portugal this weekend and are due to holiday at Parknasilla in August.

One of the main men behind her.ieis former Ireland and Munster hooker, Jerry Flannery. Two years ago Niall McGarry went to Flannery with the idea of launching a men’s sports and lifestyle website, joe.ie. Flannery said that he was drawn to it because they both spent a lot of time online. Now they’re trying joe.iefor the female market.

“Obviously, because we’re lads, it’s very hard to anticipate what women want,” Flannery said with a grin. “But we used the joe.iebusiness model and put people together.” He won’t have a hands-on role in the day-to-day running of the site. He just spent a couple of weeks in Ibiza with his girlfriend, Katy Barwell, and is in college at the moment, doing a master’s degree in sports performance at the University of Limerick. “It is relevant to what I’ve been doing for the past 10 years. It helps the transition from rugby into the real world.”

Today FM’s Mairead Farrell, another contributor to the website, arrived with her boyfriend, Louis Ronan. Farrell chatted to Sarah Williams of Arnotts, who was looking forward to attending her friend’s wedding. Dr Joanne Healy from Ovens in Co Cork will marry Nick O’Dwyer from Howth, Co Dublin, at Dromiquinna Manor near Kenmare, in Co Kerry, today.

Who we spottedRTÉ sports broadcaster Evanne Ní Chuilinn; Michael O’Doherty of VIP magazine.

What we drankMojitos

Miss Ireland, Mrs White

Former Miss Ireland Andrea Roche, who announced her engagement to Rob White in The Irish Times last December, will tie the knot in Ibiza next Sunday. White proposed to Andrea at the Eiffel Tower just before Christmas, when they went on a three-day trip to Paris and stayed in the George V hotel.

The former Miss Ireland, who took part in RTÉ’s Celebrity Bainisteoir, was previously married to PJ Mansfield. Close friends of the bride who are travelling to Ibiza this week include Pippa O’Connor, Rozanna Purcell and Tara Reynolds.

Happy waterdays

Seán Doran, the founder and artistic director of Happy Days, the Enniskillen International Beckett Festival, admitted at the programme launch that he realised only a few years ago that Samuel Beckett went to Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, during the Civil War. Oscar Wilde was also an alumnus.

It was also the alma mater of the late Beckett scholar Vivian Mercier, from Clara in Co Offaly, who followed in Beckett’s footsteps to Trinity College Dublin.

The launch took place in the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre on Grand Canal Quay on Tuesday evening. The headquarters of Waterways Ireland is in Enniskillen. Its chief executive, John Martin, explained that it is one of the cross-Border implementation bodies set up under the Belfast Agreement. “Beckett was born on a Good Friday and went to school in Enniskillen, so we’re happy to be on board.” Happy days.

Siobhán Bourke, a codirector of the Irish Theatre Institute, chatted to Eugene Downes, the former chief executive of Culture Ireland. Downes’s contract came to an end recently, and he said he was thankful for the “great degree of support” he received.

A trio comprising the harpist Andrea Malir, the flautist Ellen Cranitch and the cellist Aisling Drury-Byrne entertained invited guests. It didn’t have a name, but eventually Cranitch came up with “Ensemble Jasmine”.

The festival runs from August 23rd to 27th. The official opening event is Edna O’Brien in conversation with the BBC’s William Crawley. She will talk about her passion for Beckett’s writing.

What we ateChicken curry and rice

What we drankDomaine des Anges

Launch four for ‘Ladakh’

Lady Bracknell would have something to say about Sudeep Sen and Janet Pierce’s new book, Ladakh. It had its fourth launch on Tuesday evening at the Irish Writers’ Centre on Parnell Square. They’re not finished; they will have a fifth launch soon at the Irish Embassy in India. Sen is from New Delhi and feels quite Irish, as he went to St Columba’s school, run by the Christian Brothers, there.

The Indian ambassador, Debashish Chakravarti, was talking to the former director of the National Library of Ireland, Pat Donlon, and her husband Phelim. Donlon, who told me she is “ungainfully retired”, gave Sen a fellowship when she was the director of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, in Annaghmakerrig, Co Monaghan.

Pierce and Donlon were looking forward to a reception on Thursday at the ambassador’s residence in Foxrock. “I’m practising my Bollywood dancing,” Pierce said.

Enjoying the launch was Greg Kirkorian from New York, who bought a one-way ticket to Dublin and hopes to publish a book of his poetry some day. In the meantime, he has got a job with Ulster Bank. He was chatting to fellow New Yorker Emma Leavy, who is working as an intern at the Irish Writers’ Centre. She is a “senior at Georgetown Unniversity,” and studied international relations at UCD last autumn.

Venetian finds

The launch of Ireland’s participation in the 13th International Architecture Biennale in Venice, which was held on Thursday afternoon at the National Gallery, proved a bit of a damp squib. It is still a secret, and our installation will not be revealed until August.

The Heneghan Peng practice will represent Ireland on the international stage.

The announcement was made in the National Gallery, where Heneghan Peng is the project architect for the ongoing refurbishment of the Dargan and Milltown wings.

Shih-Fu Peng and Róisín Heneghan founded their practice in New York in 1999 and two years later relocated to Dublin. Its projects include the Central Park Bridges at the 2012 London Olympic Park. The Biennale director has invited other Irish practices, including Grafton Architects and O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects, to highlight Irish architectural talent.

Colm Moore of Clancy Moore Architects, which is to be included in the Biennale Backstage Architecture exhibition and book to represent architects under 40 from around the world, caught up with Muirne Lydon, a painting conservator at the National Gallery, and her sister, Andrea Lydon, who is a librarian there. Muirne is married to Moore’s business partner, Andrew Clancy.

Who we spotted: Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan; the chairwoman of the Arts Council, Pat Moylan; Susan Keating of the Irish Arts Review; Naoise Barry of the Irish Film Board and his wife, architect Suzy Freeney.

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