By Eileen Murphy
So there we were in Ireland, doing our bit to bolster the economy with frequent shopping forays on Grafton Street (a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it), when we heard that Bono had flown back for the birth of his fourth child. The singer, who had scheduled a break in the band’s American tour, high-tailed it back to Killiney after a concert in Chicago on Thursday, May 17, which was perfect timing. On Sunday, May 20, his wife Ali gave birth to a boy, less than 20 minutes after making it to the hospital.
"Y’know, Ali is very relaxed and very chilled out and `what’s all the fuss?’ She was great," enthused her doting husband.
Bono’s reaction to the birth was high on the awe — or make that, "awwww" factor.
"I’m just amazed to be so blessed," he told reporters. "Things are going so well with the band and to have this work out now — two boys and two girls — I feel really, really blessed."
Bono joked about his proclivity for being fruitful and multiplying. "I’m only half Catholic," he chuckled.
Follow us on social media
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo
As with the birth of their son Elijah, 2, the couple didn’t give the new baby a name immediately. Bono says that they want to get a feeling for the baby’s personality before giving him a moniker (a method which our own parents might have considered before lumbering us with "Eileen Brigid," not that we’re complaining).
"I just want to kind of get a grip on the baby and pick up on what he is," said the proud father.
"What I’m getting is that he’s like a bank robber," he laughed.
"[The nurses] passed the baby to me and he opened his mouth and I thought he was going to do one of those things they do where they just scream — and he just yawned. He’s a very cool customer. He looked around at the world and was bored already."
"The last one had a kind of poet’s head on him. This guy looks more like a bouncer," Bono said.
"He looks like a bullet. He looks like a thug." Hey, with those looks, thank goodness it wasn’t a girl.Westlife: solid as a rock?
Ireland is rife with wild rumors that Louis Walsh’s boy band, Westlife, will soon split up. The story started when Bryan McFadden said, in a recent interview with Hot Press, that the life expectancy of a boy band is "about five years," giving rise to speculation that he was planning to leave the group (which is rapidly approaching its fifth b-day).
Apparently, nothing could be further from the truth, according to Bryan, Louis and the rest of the band. Westlife is going like gangbusters, they say, and is starting to make inroads into the all-important American market. And in case any of the boys are tempted to leave the group for greener pastures, they have only to look at the example set by the late, lamented Boyzone. Except for Ronan Keating and maybe Keith Duffy, most of them couldn’t get themselves arrested.
But just for fun, we’d like to share the results of a recent MTV Asia online poll. In response to the question, "First All Saints, then Boyzone, and now the Spice Girls — who’ll be the next to split up?" Westlife got the lion’s share of votes. Read it and weep:
1. Westlife — 26.5 percent
2. *NSYNC — 21.9
3. Backstreet Boys — 18.6
4. Bardot — 16.6
5. Atomic Kitten — 16.3
Ronan’s real estate reaction
Now that Ronan Keating’s entered the world of pop superstardom, complete with a chart-topping record and lovely straight teeth, he’s finding that fame is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Last week, he got mobbed by fans before a concert and wrenched his neck. And now, the singer and his wife, model Yvonne Connolly, are being forced to sell their home and move to a more exclusive — read secure — neighborhood.
Ronan, who also owns a mansion in London, is auctioning off his home in Cellbridge because it has become something of a mecca for his fans. Obviously, this wasn’t in the pop star handbook he was given.
One of Ro’s pals told the Daily Record, "[The fan attention] is becoming a real nuisance.
"No one in their right mind would put up with it," continued the source. "Ronan loves and respects his fans, but he needs to be able to switch off, especially when he’s at home.
"It’s a nightmare now, with all these kids turning up."
Ronan’s new home will be a £1 million pad near Michael Smurfit’s swanky K Club in County Kildare. The new pad has seven bedrooms, four bathrooms and, reportedly, a state-of-the-art security system for repelling even the most determined 13-year old.
Riverdance on Broadway to tap its last
We were bummed to hear that "Riverdance on Broadway" has posted closing notices after a 14-month run at the Gershwin Theater. This will be your last chance to catch this fabulous Irish dance and music extravaganza, which features dancers Eileen Martin and Pat Roddy. Closing date: August 26, when it will have notched up an impressive 13 previews and 605 regular performances. For tickets, call (212) 307-4100.
Iron’s castle is peachy-keen
They say that actors are a colorful bunch. Just ask Jeremy Irons’s neighbors in Kilcoe, Co. Cork.
The American star, who’s married to Irish actress Sinead Cusack, has spent the last three years overseeing the renovation of his 15th century castle, which overlooks Roaringwater Bay in the western part of the county. Repairs are almost finished, so he decided to give the stately seven-story structure a fresh coat of paint.
Make that peach paint.
According to friends, Irons didn’t actually choose the color, although he did have some input.
"At first, he suggested a fleshy pink color which we all agreed was ridiculous," a source told the Irish Examiner.
An Scottish expert on exterior restoration was hired, probably since Scots know from castles.
"The Scottish guy then came up with the idea of mixing ferrous sulphate, which is iron filings, with limewash and that paints on green but becomes rusty when it oxidizes," said the source.
At present, the castle is reportedly a lovely terra cotta shade. This will probably darken considerably over time, since it sometimes rains in Ireland.
Friends also deny rumors that Irons and Cusack are planning to sell the castle once it’s finished.
"It’s a project that’s dear to his heart and he’s not likely to part with it at this stage," said the source.
Irish: Leaving Cert
Useful phrase: The bleedin’ Leaving Cert is in two weeks.
Having spent the last week in Dublin, we were inundated with advice on how to pass the Leaving Cert, the Irish equivalent of the SATs. The whole country — or rather, the media — is obsessed with the plight of the haggard high school seniors, who will be tested on everything they’ve been taught since they learned how to color inside the lines. Although Irish students take exams at the end of each school year, the marks they earn on their Leaving Cert are the ones that really matter. The results will determine whether they’ll spend their professional lives as CEOs of major corporations or asking whether you’d like fries with that.
Useful phrase: I’s better start swotting, since the Leaving Cert starts tomorrow.
One time-honored method of preparing for the Leaving Cert is to swot, which means to cram, or study really hard. We suspect that it’s related to "sweat," which is what you’ll do over the books unless you’re dossing, or goofing off. It’s pronounced the same way as "swat," which in the good ol’ USA means a quick slapping motion, usually reserved for flies, mosquitoes and annoying younger siblings.
Useful phrase: When taking the Leaving Cert, remember to bring your rubbers.
Irish people find it strange when their American friends collapse into guilty giggles at this one, but then, some people have such smutty minds, don’t they? No Irish student would dream of going to school without their rubbers, as we found out when we went school shopping with a visiting Irish relative a couple of years ago. Ticking off items on her list, she rather dramatically announced, to us and the rest of a crowded escalator in Macy’s, "Oh, no! I must get plenty of rubbers before I go home!" We’d wager that very few thought she was talking about waterproof boots.