By Eileen Murphy
By the time you read this, Paul McCartney and his American sweetie will have said their “I dos” in front of a celebrity-studded crowd at Monaghan’s Castle Leslie. And, in a refreshing change from the crass commercialism associated with celebrity weddings nowadays, the couple plans to actually allow the public see them in — gasp! — their bridal attire.
We have to say one thing for Sir Paul — the former Beatle has impeccable timing. Think about it: What better day to hold a big celebrity blowout than the one on which Ireland plays its crucial, long-awaited game in World Cup 2002? According to our sources, the country’s so soccer mad at the moment that Paul and Heather could tie the knot naked and suspended from bungee cords over O’Connell Bridge and no one would notice.
The whole Castle Leslie thing is a nice touch for the singer, whose late mother, Mary, was born in Glaslough, Co. Monaghan. McCartney has always displayed an interest in his Irish roots, and wrote at least two Irish-themed hit songs: “Mull of Kintyre” and “Give Ireland Back to the Irish.” The latter was considered a radical statement by a British pop star at the time of its release in the early 1970s, and, in fact, was left off the recent “Wings” greatest hits album. No official reason was given for the omission, but insiders whisper that there was pressure from Macca’s record label to keep the song in the vault.
But back to the wedding. We hear that the couple plan to make an appearance at the castle gate after the service to greet fans and well-wishers, after which they’ll hightail it back to one of the giant marquees (tents, in American English) for some posh nibbles and buckets of ‘spensive champagne. Joining them will be friends, family, and, reluctantly, Paul’s daughter, designer Stella McCartney, who reportedly — say this aloud with teeth tightly clenched together to get the full effect — does not approve of the match. Of course, that might be just sour grapes, since Heather turned down Stella’s offer to design her wedding gown, saying that her designers were “too tarty.” (Meow.) We’re hearing that Dublin’s celebrity strand, also known as Belle Eire, will be a ghost town, as Bono and pals will head north for the day.
This being an Irish affair, there is naturally a bit of controversy attached. We hear that some members of the local community are annoyed that Paul is not availing of local goods and services.
Follow us on social media
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo
Glaslough florist Aileen Scott was disappointed that the event would not benefit the local economy. Particularly galling to Scott is that the lilies and roses for reception were being flown in from Holland.
“They are sourcing nothing at all at local level,” she said. “Even the castle staff have been sent away so that they can bring in outsiders.”
The Monaghan Chamber of Commerce said, through a spokesperson, that it would “like the goods to come from local suppliers.” The MCOC pointed out that the castle “is a significant part of the local economy.”
Controversy aside, wedding receptions are all about groomsmen in dark sunglasses and bridesmaids in pale lavender clown costumes (to make the bride look better by comparison, natch). And, of course, dancing, or, as a wise philosopher once called it, shaking your groove thang. And we can’t help but pity the poor wedding band — imagine trying to play a Beatles cover at this affair. And imagine trying to have a wedding reception without “Twist and Shout.”
Liam: singing silly love songs
Speaking of weddings, we should tell you that a famous rock bad boy named Liam married his All Saint pop star over the weekend.
Now, don’t panic, all you aficionados of the monobrowed Oasis star Liam Gallagher. While it’s true that he’s engaged to All Saint singer Nicole Appleton, the Liam and Saint we refer to are Nic’s sister (and bandmate) Nicole, and her very own Liam — Prodigy frontman Liam Howlett.
The two — who will be performing with their respective bands at this year’s Witnness Festival in July — tied the knot in a small, family-and-close-friends-only ceremony. No word on what romantic air the pair chose for their first dance, though we can’t imagine how they were able to choose a favorite from Liam’s better-known works, such as “Firestarter,” “Baby’s Got a Temper” or the sentimental favorite, “Smack My Bitch Up.”
By the way — here’s your last chance to enter to win a trip to Ireland for two, plus accommodations and two weekend passes to the Witnness Fest! See Page 32 for details.
Guess who’s coming to dinner
Normally, if we have friends over for dinner, we do a bit of hoovering, buy some of those fancy blue tortilla chips and a jar of nice salsa, and quickly make reservations at a nearby restaurant. Which means that we finally have something in common with Bono, who played host to longtime pal, ex-prez Bill Clinton, last week.
Though the exalted one didn’t have to concern himself with vacuums or pre-meal snacks, he did do the smart thing and leave the cooking to the professionals. Of course, in this case, the professionals work for him, namely, in the kitchen at U2’s Clarence Hotel. Bono reserved the hotel restaurant, the Tea Room, for Bill and a group of 40, comprising security personnel, handlers and personal pals like Guggi, Gavin Friday and Jim Sheridan.
After what was no doubt a yummy meal, Bill and Bono slipped out through the hotel’s rear entrance for a stroll through Temple Bar — accompanied by 15 Secret Service agents, and two dozen garda. The group wound up at Bono’s new haunt, the SPY Bar, where they enjoyed bevvies in the VVVIP room — a sanctum we entered on a recent trip and found extremely, well, vvvvvimp (for very, very, very, very, very impressive, especially the unisex toilets). The pair, entourage in tow, then headed back out into the night for more fun in Europe’s party capital.
Accent’s on Colin
Irish heartthrob Colin Farrell, whose incredible career trajectory definitely suggests a satanic pact with the Lord of Darkness (and no, we don’t mean Ozzie Osbourne), lights up the screen opposite Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise in Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report,” which hits theaters on June 21. If you’re very observant, you can catch a glimpse of him in the TV commercials, dressed in a suit and looking very suave — a far cry from his denim-clad beginnings on “BallyKissangel.”
In more Colin news, we hear that directors are allowing him to use his own, natural Irish accent in his upcoming movie “Daredevil.” Farrell will play a character named Bullseye opposite Ben Affleck, which is the minimum cute guy factor required for us to sit through a movie based on a comic strip.
They wanna see the whites of your eyes
As if life couldn’t get more exciting in Ireland these days, we hear that homegrown (or is that groan?) heroes Westlife have been packing them in at Dublin’s Point Depot. The show is set up in the round, which means, according to Kian, that “the crowd is up close and we can look into the whites of their eyes.”
Apparently, this is a good thing.
An added bonus for fans is that they can see for themselves that their idols have not porked up due to livin’ high on the hog, as it were. Recent press reports have stated that the guys would be dieting like crazy in preparation for their planned American invasion. Kian says it’s all rubbish.
“We’ve never been told to go on diets or work out in the gym,” he wrote in the band’s Sunday World column. “We can eat what we like.
“We have our own catering on tour, so it’s really healthy food with lots of vegetables and low fat,” he continued.
So, what about all those stories that have them “shaping up for the Yanks?
“It’s all pure fiction, but we don’t mind,” said Kian.
Victoria wants to go home
It doesn’t matter how rich or famous you are — when you’re homesick, you’re homesick. Just ask actress Victoria Smurfit, who’s getting tons of attention these days, thanks to her role opposite Hugh Grant in the hit “About a Boy.”
The glamorous actress, who’s a member of the super wealthy Smurfit family, sounds like she’s angling to replace Martin Sheen in those Tourism Ireland ads. Smurfit has put her London apartment on the market, and she and husband, businessman Douglas Baxter, plan to set up house in Dublin.
“All our friends who have moved back [to Ireland] keep telling us how wonderful the quality of life is,” Smurfit told the Sunday World. “It feels like the right thing to do.”
Mac opens that Mouth
He may have retired from the professional tennis circuit, but former ace John McEnroe is still lobbing shots over the net — verbally, anyway. His just-released autobiography, “You’ve Got to be Kidding,” has drawn the ire of his ex-wife, actress Tatum O’Neal.
“The book is all [bad word],” Tatum told Britain’s Daily Mail. “It’s not true.”
The former Mrs. Mac takes issue with her ex’s portrayal of himself as a home-lovin’ family man. She told the Mail that she had never met “a crueler man in my life.”
Tatum says that McEnroe has turned the couple’s three children, Kevin, Sean and Emily, against her.
“He has convinced the children I am stupid, so they will never come to me for advice,” she fumed. “He has poisoned them against me.”
O’Neal, who has battled substance abuse problems in the past, resents the fact that McEnroe retains full custody of the kids and won’t allow her to keep them overnight. She also frets that he is not the ideal role model for the youngsters.
She says that she has seen McEnroe’s disregard for the feelings of others firsthand, and worries that he is passing this disregard on to the kids.
“[I’ve seen him] push past kids at the airport, and his tennis rackets would be just at the level where they’d hit them in the face,” she told the Daily Mail. “But he wouldn’t even look back and apologize.
“So, guess what?” she asked rhetorically. “I now have boys who just bash through doors and push past little girls.” Lovely.