Shopping heaven after sisters voted two best dressed

TWO stylish sisters from Co Limerick will never forget the day they visited the garden showpiece Bloom and ended up scooping the top two prizes in the best-dressed ladies competition.

Áine and Fionnuala Purcell, both teachers from Newcastle West, sashayed away with a total of €7,000 for a shopping spree at Dundrum Town Centre in Dublin.

It was a timely success for the sisters, as Áine, a secondary school teacher, now living in Sallins, Co Kildare, is getting married in August and Fionnuala, a primary school teacher residing in Blackrock, Co Dublin, will be her bridesmaid.

Áine, who won the €5,000 top prize, wore an eye-catching black and pink dress and coat by Irish designer, Aideen Bodkin, a floral hat from Envy in Killarney and carried an umbrella by French designer Chantelle Thomas.

Her sister, who was presented with the €2,000 second prize, bought her outfit in Kalu, a boutique in Naas.

Veronica Walsh, Navan, was delighted with the €1,000 shopping voucher she won for being placed third and the fact that the judges were impressed with her canary yellow dress, which she now plans to wear at the upcoming Epson Derby.

Thousands of people flocked to the Bord Bia-hosted showpiece at the Phoenix Park which continues today on a 70-acre site made available by the Office of Public Works.

Matching the fashion designs for colour and innovation were the gardens on show, and here the competition for honours was equally exciting.

Paul Doyle, Rathgar, was awarded the overall prize in the large garden category for his elegant entry entitled Wherever The Wind Takes Me I Travel, sponsored by The Travel Department and inspired by the classical gardens of Italy.

Liat and Oliver Schurmann took the overall award in the medium category with Twilight, a woodland garden in a courtyard setting of a modern building complex with Homevalue as sponsors.

The best overall small garden award was scooped by Frazer Mc Donagh, Wicklow, for his sub-tropical Lyons Tea Garden Green Retreat.

Sheena Vernon, Dalkey, Co Dublin, won the overall award in the engaging spaces category with The Kellogg’s Coco Pops Awaken the Magic Garden which explores Ireland’s rich heritage of fairy folklore.

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From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

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