My New Year

PJ Gibbons and Colette Sheridan ask a bunch of celebrities to reveal their plans for tonight, and to reflect on the year gone by

John Creedon

John Creedon is off duty this New Year’s Eve and is going to relax at home in Cork. Having rung in the New Year on many an occasion for RTÉ Television, John is looking forward to a quiet evening, watching TV. “Because of budgetary constraints, I’ll have a couple of cans of Dutch Gold and at around midnight, I’ll light a briquette,” he says, jokingly.

For John, the social highlight of the year was “Cork City FC winning the league when they beat Shelbourne against all the odds. There was a fantastic celebration. My daughter, Nanci and myself and 2,000 of our closest friends, went bananas around Tolka Park. On our way home in buses, we all stopped in Durrow at 1.30am and had a sing song on the green. It was a real hooley, like being a kid again”.

John Spillane

Singer/songwriter, John Spillane, is taking his dogs for a walk today around the countryside near Passage West where he lives. “After all the madness, New Year’s Eve is a quiet time for me — a bit of a break. My wife, Cathy, and myself, will have some wine and champagne at home to mark the occasion.”

John’s best night out over the past 12 months was when he appeared on The Late Late Show in September as part of the launch of his new album, A Rock to Cling To. “I hung out with David Norris and John Hurt in the hospitality room in RTÉ and had a few pints. I’m not a night clubber.”

Sandra Murphy

Sandra Murphy, star of The Apprentice, loves New Year’s Eve. Sandra will be working in her restaurant/bar, The Rising Tide in Glounthane, Co Cork tonight.

“I’ve ensured that as many family members and friends as possible will congregate at The Rising Tide. Together with my customers, we’ll all ring in the New Year. I’ve been doing it for the last seven years. I love having the decision about what to do on the night made for me.”

For Sandra, the social highlight of the year was the Cork Business Woman of the Year awards at the Imperial Hotel in November. Sandra won an award in the food category. She also enjoyed the wrap party for The Apprentice earlier this month, held at the Dawson Lounge on Grafton Street.

Elaine Crowley

TV3’s Midday presenter, Elaine Crowley, will spend the evening with friends in Dublin. Originally from Newtwopothouse, near Mallow, Elaine, who spent Christmas with her mother and siblings in the family home, says she has been invited “to loads of dinner parties in Dublin. It’s nice to be invited.”

But Elaine says this time of the year is “bitter sweet. I miss my dad a lot. He passed away ten years ago.”

Looking back on 2011, Elaine remembers a hugely enjoyable meal “with the girls. We met up unexpectedly on a Sunday and had lunch in a Thai restaurant, Saba, on Clarendon Street, in Dublin. Then we went to the Bailey and had a few drinks and we people-watched.”

Julie Kelleher

Star of the Everyman Palace Theatre pantomime, Beauty and the Beast, Julie Kelleher says she’ll be working very hard tonight. She has a matinee this afternoon and although the pantomime is not on tonight, Julie will be gigging with her covers band, Ocean 6, at a wedding in Glandore. “This is my third year on the trot working on New Year’s Eve. But I don’t mind it. I’ll ring in the New Year with a glass of champagne and then we’ll drive back to Cork getting home before 4am.”

Julie’s best night out in 2011 was in Carlow with two girlfriends, one of whom was having her first night out since the birth of her first child. “We went for tapas and a few glasses of wine and then went dancing.”

Miriam O’Callaghan

“This New Year’s Eve I will be very, very busy as I am presenting the RTÉ New Year’s Eve Show.

“I’m a bit worried about not being with my children on the night, so I may have to bring them along with me.

“In general, I don’t really enjoy big social events and rarely go to them. But, for me, one of the most enjoyable events I was involved in during the past year was the dinner for Queen Elizabeth II in Dublin Castle, hosted by our former President Mary McAleese. I was covering it that night for RTÉ and you just sensed how historic an occasion it was. I loved it when she began her speech in Irish.”

Gay Byrne

“THIS New Year’s Eve I’ll just be staying at home. We’re just going to take it easy on the night and we’ve no celebrations as such planned. What we’ll probably do is to go out to our house in Howth to spend the night with our daughter Crona, her husband Ronan and the grandkids.

“I won’t be working on New Year’s Eve but I recently did a long interview with RTÉ for their 50th anniversary celebrations, which will be aired early in the new year. I also did a Dubliner’s 50th Anniversary Christmas Special for RTÉ.”

Lisa Fitzpatrick

Celebrity fashion stylist and presenter of TV3’s Save Our Shops.

“I’m going to be sitting at home in my pyjamas and slippers this New Year’s Eve, just watching television. After I put the kids to bed, I’ll order a Chinese takeaway and just relax on the couch. I’ll stay up until midnight, of course, and maybe even toast the New Year with a glass or two of Prosecco. In terms of my favourite social outing over the past year, the recent Social & Personal Christmas party at Lost Society was by far my favourite night out. I was honoured at the event as ‘Ireland’s Most Invited’ person of 2011 and it was great to make number one on the list.”

Rosanna Davison

“I’ll be away in Mauritius this New Year’s Eve with my family. We go to the same hotel there every year and my boyfriend, Wes Quirke, pictured, and my granny will also be coming with us this year. I don’t think my family and I have celebrated New Year’s Eve in Ireland since I was about five years old. We always like to get away to the sun at this time of year. My dad (Chris de Burgh) will probably even take to the stage at the hotel on New Year’s Eve to sing a song or two, then we’ll have some champagne and party on the beach until the small hours of New Year’s Day.

During the past year, one of my favourite social events was the wedding of Pippa O’Connor and Brian Ormond in Wicklow. It was a fantastic day.”

Andrea Roche

“I’ve no real plans for New Year’s Eve this year. What I’ll probably do is go out for dinner with some family and close friends. I don’t go to nightclubs anymore on New Year’s Eve. I just think it’s all so overrated and it’s also hard to get taxis. I’m planning to go skiing in Italy in January, so I’m really looking forward to that.

My favourite social event of the past year was the wedding of Alan Hughes and Karl Broderick in Dublin. I had never been to a gay wedding before and it was great to see that society has now moved on so much.”

Rachel Allen

TV chef Rachel Allen will ring in the New Year at Ballymaloe, where the annual gala dinner takes place. Family members from the Allen dynasty and guests will choose from a varied menu that includes traditional turkey and ham. About one hundred revellers will attend. “It’s always a great night,” says Rachel.

Rachel’s social highlight of 2011 was a lavish party at Ballymaloe in September when she celebrated her 40th birthday with husband Isaac, pictured above, also 40 this year. “Lots of old friends came to the party, where we had a buffet. There was dancing in the Grainstore (Ballymaloe’s music and art venue),” she says.

Isaac surprised his wife by hiring the Rubber Bandits to perform for the 120 guests. There was also a fireworks display.

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