Category: Archive

Dublin driver Devine delivers Julia’s hand (in marriage)

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

We don’t know if it’s a phenomenon triggered by the heat, the humidity or the rapidly vanishing ozone layer, but there’s definitely something romantic in the air these days.

Need proof? Just witness how celebrities, like lemmings, are marching in droves to the nearest justice of the peace and gettin’ hitched: Edge and Morleigh, Caroline Corr and her Frank (set for August), and, of course, Prodigy’s Liam “Smack My Bitch Up” Howlett and his ex-All Saint, Natasha Appleton. But the biggest news on the matrimonial front occurred on July 4, when “Pretty Woman” star Julia Roberts tied the knot with freshly divorced cameraman Danny Moder at her ranch in New Mexico. And — to make it even more fun — there’s an Irish angle to the story. Julia was escorted down the aisle by Dubliner Mickey Devine, a taxi driver from Palmerstown on the city’s south Side.

Devine’s connection with the actress stretches back 10 years, when the budding superstar — fresh from her career-making role as the hooker with the heart of gold — bolted after dumping then-fiance Kiefer Sutherland a few days before the wedding. Julia fled to Ireland with Sutherland’s best pal, Jason Patric, for some rest and relaxation, and holed up in Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel as the media frenzy swirled around her.

Devine, a family man, took pity on the frazzled young starlet and taking on the role of White Knight, rescued the damsel in distress. He spirited her off on his white steed (actually, his black stretch limo, but go with it) and installed her in his remote castle (actually, a two-story detached house in the suburbs, but, again, go with it). Julia never forgot Devine’s kindness, and the two have remained close over the years. Indeed, they were so close that, according to the Sunday Independent, Roberts looked upon the middle-aged driver as a surrogate father. So it comes as no surprise that the actress, who is estranged from her brother, actor Eric Roberts, asked Devine to walk her down the aisle at her wedding.

The actress flew the entire Devine family out to her estate for the ceremony, which was described on the invitations as “Midsummer Night’s Dreamish meets Great Gatsby,” which, by our reckoning, means enigmatic men with donkey heads in white linen suits sprinkling fairy dust, but we’re sure it was lovely. And we’ll bet that Devine divined that the Julia found the whole thing simply — all together now — divine.

Flatley gets ready to make the leap

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Dum, dum, da dummmm . . . Yes, we have to confess we have weddings on the brain this week. Now, before we jump in to this next item, we’ll have to ask all you Michael Flatley fan-atics to sit down and take a deep breath. (Yes, Aideen, Kathleen and Veronica — our Echo summer interns — we’re talking to you, too.) Now, everyone, breathe out. Calmmmmmmmm. OK, here goes.

Michael’s getting married again.

That wailing sound you hear is coming from headband-wearing, Celtic motif-lovin’ ladies throughout the world, who are only now realizing that the Lord of the Dance has — metaphorically — slipped through their fingers. The blond Irish dancing god, who has never met a sequin or a (dance) sequence he didn’t like, has decided to make it official with his voluptuous girlfriend, Dubliner Lisa Murphy. The pair say that they haven’t set a date, but the smart money says the bans will be read before the end of the year.

Longtime fans will recall that this is not Flatley’s first trip down the aisle. The dancer was once married to a glamorous Polish native named Beata. The pair split shortly before Flatley rocketed to fame as the star of the original “Riverdance” show.

Though Michael and Lisa have endured an often-stormy romance over the years, the pair could never seem to stay apart for long. Signs that things are getting serious include the fact that the couple spent some quality time with Lisa’s parents recently, in their Tallagh home.

In more Flatley news, the dance king — who’s currently working on a movie based on his own rags-to-riches story — says that he’s dropped “loads of weight.” Michael, no doubt stung by remarks about his “shiny gut” from waspish reviewers after his farewell “Feet of Flames” tour last year, was eager to show off his toned torso at Dublin nightclub Lillies Bordello, according to showbizireland.com.

“I’ve been working out!” he crowed, as he obligingly hoisted his sweetie aloft for the benefit of photographers.

Paul is wed (The Sequel)

Yes, yes, it seems like only Yesterday that former Beatle Paul McCartney and Heather Mills tied the knot after a ceremony in an Irish castle that presumably befitted his “Sir-ness,” but the fallout from the fancy shindig continues to amuse us. Oh, and it annoys the castle’s owners, as well.

Apparently, the Leslie family’s ownership arrangements are rather complicated, with one person owning and managing the castle and another owning the grounds. This made for a rather delicate situation, since the manager of the house, Ultan Bannon, was bound by a confidentiality agreement that prevented him from alerting the owner of the grounds, Tarka King, to the fact that McCartney was planning a spectacular fireworks display. A minor point, one might think, except for one thing — with 325 acres to choose from, organizers decided to launch the fireworks right smack on top of the grave of Tarka’s mother, Anita Leslie.

After Paul and the missus scooted off for their honeymoon like a band on the run, Tarka got a good look at the scorched earth atop his mother’s final resting place. And he was not content to let it be.

“I have to arrange to have the land releveled,” King told reporters. “And the scorched earth around the grave looks as if nobody cared for it.” Sounds to us like Paul should have known better. And that’s absolutely our last cleverly hidden Beatles song reference. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Playing with (belle) fire

He may be rich, famous and practically a national hero, but Robbie Keane is just a regular bloke as far as Bellefire singer Cathy Newell is concerned. And although the Sunday World has dubbed the pair “Ireland’s answer to Posh and Becks,” the Galway-born singer is playing her cards close to the vest.

The football hero and the pop singer met for the first time when Bellefire played at the Irish team’s welcome-home party in Phoenix Park a few weeks ago. Afterward, at Lillies Bordello, Robbie — who’s on record saying he’s looking for a nice Irish girl — slipped Cathy his telephone number. But the singer, obviously a student of the retro dating manual, “The Rules,” hasn’t let her fingers do the walking. Yet.

“[Robbie] was very nice,” she said demurely. “We were chatting for a while. We’re just friends.”

When pressed as to whether she had even a bit of a crush on the hunky footie star, Cathy stayed noncommittal.

“I’d have to get to know somebody better before I’d kind of fancy him properly,” she said.

So will she give him a bell when she gets back from vacation?

“We might meet up for a drink or whatever and have a chat,” said Cathy, which sounds like a definite maybe.

Ur song is Gr8

Samantha Mumba may be a rising star in Hollywood, but she certainly hasn’t forgotten who her friends are. The Dublin pop star-turned-actress is still best buddies with the Westlife guys, who are her “siblings” in the Louis Walsh family of stars, so she was delighted when she heard one of their songs, “World of Our Own,” played on an L.A. radio station. Mumba was so happy, in fact, that she couldn’t keep the good news to herself, so she “texted” Westie Mark Feehily.

Mark and the rest of the band members were thrilled, since they’re planning an all-out assault on the American market next month. Though the group has achieved major-star status in Europe and Asia, the United States is seen as the Big Kahuna.

“[Knowing that the song is being played] made me realize that things are starting to happen for us out there,” he wrote in the band’s Sunday World column. “If we did hit it big in America, it would be the icing on the cake, and something beyond our wildest dreams.”

Of course, the band members have steeled themselves for every eventuality. They know that they might not make it in the land of free and the home of the brave.

“It wouldn’t be the end of the world for us,” Mark wrote manfully, “as we have such a loyal and strong following everywhere else.” How could we resist?

In more breaking-the-waves news, we hear that former Boyzone frontman (and former Westlife co-manager) Ronan Keating is also trying to make that final leap into the American spotlight with a new album. The handsome blond singer is licking his chops (which were straightened and capped expressly to appeal to finicky, dental-obsessed Yanks) at the thought of following Samantha’s lead. Which leads us to wonder just how much weight her coattails can bear.


“I don’t think I could live with the pay cut or the move to a smaller house.”

— Bono, on why he most definitely won’t be lighting the candle in Aras an Uachtaran any time soon.

A burning feeling inside

If there’s one thing that gets Irish American actor and comedian Denis Leary hot under the collar, it’s the financial problems faced by fire departments everywhere. But Leary isn’t one to just stand on the sidelines and complain — he is determined to do something about it. That’s why he founded the Leary Firefighters Foundation, which has raised $750,000 to date.

The money is distributed to help fire stations meet training expenses.

“One of the things common to all firehouses is lack of money,” Leary said during a recent trip to his parents’ home in Kerry.

“Every department has trouble finding money for training facilities and keeping them up-to-date. We are just doing what we can to help out.”

The comedian comes from a family of cops and firemen, but says that his first ambition was to play hockey. When that didn’t pan out, he took followed the roar of the greasepaint.

“I . . . wanted to be onstage — when I discovered I wouldn’t be in ice hockey,” he laughed. Fire and ice — now that’s some combination.

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