By Eileen Murphy
You’d think that if one of your employees was the Rose of Tralee, you’d give her a little unpaid leave to perform her floral duties around St. Patrick’s Day, right? Well, just try telling that to Australian shoe company Mollini. The Perth firm gave the reigning Rose an ultimatum: her crown or her job. She chose the crown.
Aussie Rose Lisa Manning, 23, felt that it was important that she carry out the duties that come with the title of Rose of Tralee.
“The Rose is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said.
“I applied in writing to the head office [of the company], but they refused to give me time off,” she explained. “I don’t think the office realized how important the Rose of Tralee is.
“I told them I had to resign.”
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Lisa says that she looks on her decision as “a positive thing.”
“I’m going to go to Ireland and have fun and then come back and see what happens,” she said.
The Rose committee has been very supportive of their queen, and has promised to help her find a job. It shouldn’t be too hard, since Lisa has great credentials. Her former firm named her Salesperson of the Year for 2001.
Add Aussie pop tart Kylie Minogue to the list of conquests notched up by Irish race car driver Eddie Irvine. (Or maybe it’s the other way around.) Whatever way you slice it, we hear that the photogenic pair have been around the track together a few times.
This week’s Sunday World reports that the diva and the driver had a top secret, hot and heavy love affair that lasted for three months. But the demands of their respective careers made the logistics impossible (plus, Kylie gets car sick), so Eddie and Kylie parted the best of friends. Just to prove that there are no hard feelings, Eddie showed up at a London awards ceremony to present Kylie with the prize for Best International album.
One of Ervine’s pals denied rumors that the pair, who looked very chummy backstage, are planning to rev up their engines again.
“It was all just good, clean fun,” laughed the source.
“They are old flames and there is nothing between them now at all.”
Not that this means that Eddie’s pining for companionship. We hear he’s besotted with his new girlfriend, an Irish college student named Kathryn, who flew to London to watch Eddie present Kylie with the prize. Which makes us wonder, shouldn’t she be off studying?
Reading New & Noteworthy could potentially help you win a million dollars or euros or whatever denomination is on offer. Don’t believe us? Just ask “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” loser Patrick Spinner.
The British contestant, who lists his occupation as “professional backpacker,” appeared on the hit show in three different countries, hoping to set a record for winning the most cash, or having the fastest fingers, or something like that. He did pretty well, winning $250,000 on both the UK and Australian editions of the show. Then it was off to Ireland, where he faced a grilling by Gay Byrne on the Irish production.
Spinner made it to the e1000 level without much fuss. Then he faced his Waterloo (and no, the category was neither geography nor ABBA).
“What is the name of Pierce Brosnan’s youngest child?” asked Byrne. Spinner, who obviously missed a few issues of the Irish Echo, looked blank.
Gaybo invited the sweating Brit to avail of his lifelines. Spinner used the 50/50 to reduce his choices down to two. He asked the audience, which chose one name by an overwhelming margin. Still not convinced, Spinner decided to flip a coin. He went with the answer “Tyrone.”
BHAAAAAAAAAAH! Shoulda made it two out of three.
We hear that Gaybo looked positively gobsmacked as Spinner frittered away his big chance.
“I can’t believe it,” he gasped. “We had such high hopes for you, Patrick.”
Well, easy come, easy go. Spinner walked away from the Dublin studio with e1000, which should keep him in canned beans and trail mix for a good while. And he might want to pick up a newspaper — preferably this one — once in a while. The correct answer, as our readers are well aware, is Paris.
Gabriel Byrne is back in Ireland these days, puttering around his newly refurbished house in Ballsbridge and planning more Ireland-based projects.
“I’d like to work more in Ireland and do more stage work,” said the hunky actor. “The thing is, I’ve done very little work with Irish directors.”
Byrne plans to rectify this soon. We hear he’s planning to star in a movie titled “The Letter,” which will film in Ireland this summer. Sultry actress Jessica Lange has been mentioned as a possible costar.
Speaking of Gabriel and film, we’ll pass on the rumor that’s been making the rounds: He’s said to be part of the cast of the second “Star Wars” prequel. We’d like to picture him as a Jedi knight, but with his brooding good looks, he probably wound up on the dark side.
There was a little confusion on the set of Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming Arctic-themed film, “Shackelton.” We hear that when the staff photographer asked the actors to pose for a publicity shot in their vests and pants, the mostly British cast indignantly refused. There was a lot of head scratchin’ before someone figured out that the photographer was referring to thermal vests and insulated pants. The cast thought he wanted them to pose in their underwear.