By Eileen Murphy
She might make $20 million a picture and be the sole female star of the hit film “Ocean’s Eleven,” but Julia Roberts needs some R&R just like the rest of us. And she knows where to go when she wants to unwind: Ireland. (Arrgh — beautiful and smart. It’s too depressing.)
We hear that the “Pretty Woman” star has been spotted in Dublin recently, hanging out at Lillies Bordello with Ronan and Yvonne Keating (who really should have been with the pope, not to beat a dead horse or nothin’). We also hear that Julia, who recently broke up with boyfriend Benjamin Bratt, attended a Ronnie Woods concert, where she was seen “snogging the face off” her new sweetie at the after party. Talk about Ireland of the welcomes.
Daniel and the divorcee
We just knew that no good would come out of the teaming of Sinead O’Connor and our wee Daniel O’Donnell. As you might recall, the two singers joined forces for a recent celebrity edition of RTE’s hit game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” Though their minds were no doubt consumed with the desire to raise money for their pet charities, we’re sure that wild child Sinead and mammy’s pet Danny got to talking backstage. The result? Well, read on.
We hear that Daniel has been seeing a glamorous, blonde divorcee and mother of two, Majella McLennan. The Kincasslagh, Co. Donegal-bred heartthrob met the Majella, a native of Thurles, Co. Tipperary, in Tenerife during a vacation a couple of years ago. The two hit it off immediately, although — Daniel being Daniel — he started out being friends with her parents first.
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“I knew Majella’s parents before I actually met her,” Daniel told the Sunday World. “They ran a restaurant and bar in Tenerife, and I was a regular visitor.”
We suspect that the parents might have done a bit of matchmaking — hey, if you had a pretty, single daughter on the one hand, and a rich, single bachelor on the other, wouldn’t you? But however it happened, Majella and Daniel bumped into one another at the restaurant. And bonded over karaoke, of all things.
“[Majella] said that she’d had a dream that she would sing for me, and she sang, ‘She Moved through the Fair.’ ”
Majella must have been able to carry a tune, because Daniel invited her along as he and his friends went bar-hopping on the island.
(Before you guys start with the indignant e-mails: yes, Virginia, Daniel does, occasionally, go to pubs. But it’s not bar-hopping in the Woodside/Woodlawn sense, OK?)
Daniel was impressed by Majella’s warmth and sense of fun, but didn’t read anything into their fledgling relationship.
“I could see how she was very normal and down to earth,” confided O’Donnell. “[I wasn’t] thinking anything would come of it.”
The two became close friends, staying in touch after Daniel returned to Ireland. Romance was inevitable, since each had been — how can we put this delicately? — shot in the bum by Cupid’s sweet arrow. But they fought their feelings.
(This is the part of the story that requires mushy classical music in the background.)
Daniel fretted that his life was getting too complicated.
“Majella had been previously married and has two children,” he explained. “Although the marriage had been over for four years when we met, me being me, I got cold feet.
“I decided that maybe we should just be friends,” he admitted.
But the friendship thing didn’t last long. After a year of being buddies, the pair realized that this was the Real Thing.
“I realized that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Majella,” said Daniel. “She makes me totally happy.”
Majella says that the secret to their happiness is that she accepts Daniel for “who he is.”
“I allow Daniel to be who he is all the time,” announced the pride of Thurles. And her children — a 14-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son — have warmed up to their mom’s famous fella (although we can’t imagine that they listen to his music).
“They used to ask, ‘Is that your boyfriend?’ ” laughed Majella. “They’re happy that their mum is happy.”
We’re happy to report that Majella is not threatened by Daniel’s famous devotion to the number one woman in his life: his 83-year-old mother, Julia. The two women met recently, and Mammy O’Donnell gave Majella the Kincasslagh seal of approval. Not that she didn’t have a few reservations, of course.
Daniel explained the family’s reaction.
“Ideally, my mother and my family would have preferred if Majella had been single,” he said. “But . . . they realized that she is a good person.”
Here’s the part that is sure to warm Majella’s heart at those family functions.
“They feel that everyone deserves a second chance,” he said. Ooooh, we can just feel the love.
Ronan fiddles while pope fumes
Don’t know about the rest of you, but we think that when the pontiff asks you to jump, the only proper response is to ask, “How high?” At least, that’s what the nuns taught us at Holy Spirit grammar school in the Bronx a million or so years ago. Obviously, Irish pop star Ronan Keating would have benefited from a bit of that old time religion.
We hear that the former Boyzone front man blew off the pope’s personal invitation to appear at a concert in the Vatican this week, pleading a prior engagement. So, while Irish stars like The Cranberries and Westlife were singing for the pontiff, Ronan was hosting a celebrity-packed housewarming party at his _2 million Malahide mansion.
Singer George Michael jetted in for the bash, which was also attended by Ronan’s new, non-celebrity neighbors. Unfortunately, none of Ronan’s former band mates were on hand to enjoy his hospitality; most of them are waiting for the Boyzone reunion tour, which should take place just after Satan’s minions get into a snowball fight down under.
He was recently named European of the Year, so it’s only right that Bono’s back in Europe after spending most of the year in the U.S. The band returned home with sacks full of cash (figuratively speaking), having cleaned up to the tune of $200 million on their “Elevation Tour.” But while Bono plans to spend Christmas in Ireland, we hear that he’s planning to host a New Year’s Eve party at his swanky NYC apartment. (What? You didn’t get your invitation yet?)