My husband Tim tells us: “‘Tis the poor ground needs top dressing!” The late Denis O’Leary will always be remembered for that particular phrase. I can see him in my mind’s eye – uncapping a boiled egg at the kitchen table and uttering the phrase for the umpteenth time as his daughters got ready for some occasion.

When Denis was talking about “top dressing,” he was referring to what he called “powder and paint”. If only it was still that simple.

Part of me agrees with the men. If truth be told, we girls put far too much effort into trying to look beautiful than is required. We are caught up in a cycle of fashion and expectation that is probably unnecessary, definitely expensive and undoubtedly not good for the environment. How do you stop it? It would take very serious campaigns across the world to make the whole industry more sustainable.

It is unlikely to happen because it is big business with many people making their livelihoods from the beauty industry.

It is only one day to Philip and Aileen’s wedding! My heart skips a beat at just writing it down. I’ve had the highlights done in my hair. Michael in Darcy’s Hairdressing Salon went to extra lengths to get me looking right for the day.

My daughter Julie has a hairdresser and make-up artist organised for herself, Colm’s fiancée, Elaine and me for early in the morning. The nails were done during the week up the road in crystal Studio Kerrypike.

This new beauty salon started up in the last year. A brave move to start a new business during lockdown. Elaine, my special beauty adviser, organised a tan for me in Elite Waxing in Ballincollig. I would not be orange and I needed to glow for my son’s wedding! She took this upon herself, having seen my efforts and blotchy legs at Aileen’s hen party. Luckily, I was wearing a long dress. I’ve had the prescribed water-only shower and copious moisturiser has been applied. So far, so good.

All dress alterations are done. My grandson, Ricky’s clothes are ready. Julie got him a little waistcoat, a short-sleeved white shirt, navy pants and Elaine organised an orange dicky bow. It’s all these little things that take time and organisation.


We are hungry for a family celebration and we are really happy that the two families can come together in Clonakilty for the occasion. There will be 100 people. Philip and Aileen cancelled their wedding plans in June in the hope of pandemic restrictions easing, which they have. The excitement is at an all-time high, not just for the happy couple but in anticipation of the wider family celebration. It’s been 18 months since we’ve seen some of them.

Tomorrow will be about Philip and Aileen as their lives stretch out before them. We will recall their childhood escapades and wish them long life and happiness in their marriage.

A heart-wrenching interview

I was putting the finishing touches to the wedding cake yesterday. Philip Boucher-Hayes was standing in for Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio One and was interviewing Brendan Ó Dúfaigh – father of Brendán ‘Ógie’ Óg Ó Dúfaigh, the Monaghan under 20 captain who died tragically on the way home from a football match recently. It is a harrowing interview, but also uplifting in the way Brendán speaks of his family’s grief at the loss of Ógie who was just 19.

He spoke glowingly about the support of the GAA and the community, his wife, Esther’s faith, his daughters Claire and Áine and the gift of football. The heart-breaking loss of Ógie has touched many homes in Ireland. My sincerest sympathy to Ógie’s family and friends.

Philip and Aileen are tremendous ambassadors for the GAA. They are heavily involved in coaching the underage teams.

Aileen has played camogie for Cork, was named Munster Camogie Player of the Year in 2017 and continues to play with the local club Inniscarra. They are in the league final tonight. Will she tog out for ‘Scarra on the eve of her wedding? You can imagine the in-house debate about this! It’s all about grasping the moment! Whatever her decision; we salute her dedication to the game.

A wedding day

A wedding day is special. It’s not about the clothes or the “top dressing,” the venue or the food, the music or the speeches; it’s about two people pledging their lives to each other in marriage and being so sure in their love that they do it publicly.