Thurles jeweller adds the most party sparkle

By Seán McCárthaigh

"I GET home at six in the morning and am at work at nine. I couldn't give a damn if I went two weeks without sleeping - enjoying oneself is far more important than sleeping."

These are the words of Ireland's top socialite - a Tipperary jeweller.

Matty Ryan has beaten other leading socialites like Eddie Irvine, Louis Walsh and IT boy Gavin Lambe Murphy, to the title of Ireland's best party-goer.

Ryan was last night revealed as the country's top party animal in a poll of the Top 100 Party People by Social & Personal Magazine.

Judges for the event were former Eurovision winner Linda Martin, UTV's head of operations Lisa Clerkin, TV3 weatherman Martin King and Sunday Independent social diarist Gayle Killilea.

Ryan, who runs his family's jewellery business in his hometown of Thurles, loves his work and his play.

The premier party prince also gets to host a number of social events through his role as chairman and chief fundraiser of the North Tipperary Hospice Home Care.

"I try to accept every invitation because one invitation is the making of another three," explained Ryan.

"Life is for living. There are too many people going around with long faces. We should all be making hay while the sun shines."

Ryan also claimed that his home in Thurles, Co Tipperary was the ideal base to attend parties all over the country.

"It's perfect living in Thurles because I'm only one and a half hours from anywhere."

He added: "I also go abroad to a lot of parties as my friends who used to have bicycles now have aeroplanes."

As ever, the latest S&P poll utilises its regular unscientific survey as a vehicle to publicise the latest edition of the magazine. However, the panel were presumably unaware of British writer Lawrence Durrell, who claimed that cocktail parties were originally invented by dogs as they were "simply bottom-sniffings raised to the rank of formal ceremonies".

Among the usual suspects listed as top party people who regularly feature in S&P polls are motoring racing boss Eddie Jordan, former Boyzone star Keith Duffy, footballer Niall Quinn and businessmen Denis O'Brien and Des McEvaddy.

Others include Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary, Twink, Norma Smurfit, nightclub owner Valerie Roe and former Miss Ireland's Amanda Brunker and Andrea Roche.

People on the list who obviously would prefer political parties to the social variety include the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and his partner Celia Larkin as well as his Cabinet colleagues Charlie McCreevy and Seamus Brennan.

Tánaiste Mary Harney and her current beau, IBEC director Brian Geoghegan, are named among the top partying pairs.

Last Word presenter Eamon Dunphy also makes the list, although his nights of revelry may soon be curtailed as the broadcaster is due up in court tomorrow on a drink-driving charge.

S&P editor Nell Stewart Liberty said: "The ideal party giver and guest is someone who wants to talk and wants to have a good time. They have to enter into the spirit."

In an added touch of self-conceit, three of the four judges - Clerkin, King and Killilea - all nominated themselves as top party folk. Perhaps, they need to stay in more often.