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Sinead throws in the towel

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Eileen Murphy

We told you last week that after a three-year battle with the father of her daughter, Roisin, Irish singer Sinead O’Connor has relinquished custody of the toddler. What we didn’t know was that, according to London’s Daily Mail newspaper, the strain on O’Connor had become so great during the court battle that the singer tried to commit suicide by overdosing on Valium in her Dublin hotel room.

Luckily for O’Connor, who has an 11-year-old son, Jake, by a previous marriage, the attempt was unsuccessful. Roisin will live in Dublin with her father, Irish Times journalist (and parental rights activist) John Waters, with O’Connor footing the bill for a house and nanny for the child. She plans fly from her home in London to visit her daughter on weekends.

The court case had apparently become extremely nasty, with Waters charging that O’Connor was an unfit mother. O’Connor responded by spitting in Waters’s face. (And that’s while things were friendly!) After recovering from her overdose, O’Connor agreed to give up custody of the child, and even sat next to Waters on the plane ride back to London.

O’Connor and Waters made headlines when Roisin was conceived. The pair, who have never been romantically involved (with each other, anyway), decided, within days of meeting one another, that they would like to have a baby. Together. Kinda gives a new meaning to the term “social intercourse,” eh? Personally, when we’re in the early stages of dating a guy, we’re lucky if we can agree on what movie to see, never mind the great “fake-butter-topping-or-plain-popcorn” debate, but then, the rich and famous live much more sophisticated lives . . .

Anyway, O’Connor has few regrets. “There is nothing wrong with the way we brought our child into the world,” she told the Mirror. “I wouldn’t do it again, not because it was immoral, but because it was so stressful. This is what happens when you go around having babies with total strangers. It was the stupidest thing to do.”

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Funny, the slap-happy nuns at Holy Spirit would have said much the same thing (although they’d have had a lot more to say about that pesky morality issue). But all’s well that ends well — at least, we hope so. For the sake of the child, anyway.

Open up and say “Fleadh”

Easy riddle: What is hard to pronounce, is filled with talent and will be invaded by hordes of Irish and Irish American music fans this summer?

The answer is, of course, the Guinness Fleadh — or what we like to call the Fleadh-la-palooza — which will mark its third year bringing great Irish (and not so Irish) music to the masses.

The mammoth show will bow in four cities: San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and New York, and we must confess, the lineup was so good it made us a little woozy. Slated to play at some or all of the dates are Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, Hootie & The Blowfish, Shane MacGowan, Luka Bloom, Tommy Makem, John Lee Hooker, The Saw Doctors, Ben Harper, The Cardigans, Shawn Mullins, Richard Thompson, Black 47 and lots of others.

Just so you can make your plans, the shows and dates are: San Francisco, June 5; Chicago, June 12; Boston, June 19; New York City, June 26. Tickets will go on sale in early April at Ticketmaster outlets. More details as we get ’em . . .

A mark, a yen, a buck or a pound

Well, money does indeed make the world go around, as Tony O., Bono and Tony R. would certainly agree. We refer, of course, to the Sunday Tribune’s recently published list of the 100 richest people, couples, families or groups in Ireland, which one should not read while trying to balance one’s pathetic checkbook.

Topping the list, to the surprise of absolutely no one, are Heinz honcho Tony O’Reilly and his wife, heiress Chryss Goulandris. The power couple, whose assets include the Independent Newspaper Group and Waterford Wedgwood, have a fortune estimated at _1.2 billion, which would buy an awful lot of catsup.

Second on the list are Irish supergroup U2, with combined assets of _440 million. Even though they haven’t released any new material lately, the boys and manager Paul McGuinness (yes, him too) are raking in the chips thanks to the $50 million deal with Polygram to release a series of greatest hits albums.

Third on the list is the Tony Ryan family, who manage to make ends meet with a mere _420 million in the bank (or wherever one stuffs that kind of dough-re-mi. And yes, sharing in this bounty is Cathal Ryan, who last appeared in this column when he and former Miss Ireland, Michelle Roca, were slugging it out in court over personal matters. Think Ryanair. Think Tipperary Crystal. Think Aviation Management Group. (Think Cathal’s still single?)

Coming in at No. 55 on the list is Van (the Man) Morrison, with a fortune of _55 million. Other entertainers on the list include The Cranberries and Enya, who tied for 69th place with a cool _40 million apiece. “Riverdance” producers Moya Doherty and John McColgan, who just saw their brainchild break box office records in Japan, are in 76th place with _38 million, and Chris de Burgh in 79th place with a comparatively paltry _37 million. Geez, we could blow that in an afternoon at the mall . . .

The play’s the thing

As you already know, unless you’ve been hiding under a large rock, The Irish are set to reclaim Broadway in the name of the motherland (or something to that effect).

First up is Conor McPherson’s new play, “The Weir,” which opens Thursday night at the Walter Kerr Theater. The play, which is already a smash in London (it won two Olivier Awards, the British version of the Tony Award) is set in a pub in Sligo, where the patrons try to top one another with their ghost stories. Yikes! We’re shivering already. We hear tickets are going fast, and the buzz on this show is already very hot.

Also squeaking in under the deadline for Tony consideration is “The Lonesome West,” by Martin McDonagh, which is part of the “Beauty Queen of Leenane” trilogy. You’ll remember that McDonagh’s “Beauty” stunned the theater world last year by winning four Tony Awards: best actress, best supporting actress, best supporting actor and best director. Lightening may strike twice, as Garry Hynes returns to direct the play, and Brian F. O’Byrne (who narrowly missed out on the Tony last year) returns to the cast.

The show will begin previews at the Lyceum Theatre on April 19, and will open on April 27.

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