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RTÉ star, entrepreneur and TV personality Darren Kennedy has had quite the year, after his brilliant stint on Dancing With The Stars and the growth of his men's skincare and grooming brand, Kennedy & Co.

He's a man with a full schedule, no doubt, but how does he unwind in his spare time? Audiobooks, reading, and spending time with the nation's sweetheart; Amy Huberman, of course.

Speaking at the launch of Diet Coke’s first ever Book Club at Iveagh Garden’s Hotel, Dublin on Thursday, he describes the style of the extra-special events and spoke to us about his favourite books, authors and celebrity inspirations.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Diet Coke Book Club definitely has some upgraded features. It’s a twist on the classic book club, there’s Instagram Live events too for everyone to take part in. 

“Book clubs, by their very nature, tend to be quite small groups of people. Even though we’re having events in Dublin, Belfast and Cork, and people can sign up for free and come and join us, not everyone is going to be able to make it for whatever reason. Having the digital aspect to it, the live book clubs, opens it up to a whole new audience. You don’t even have to be in Ireland to join, which is nice. It kind of marries technology with books, and for a while people were saying that technology was the death of the book but it’s actually not. I listen to so many books on Audible and apps like that, it just marries the pair.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Darren and Amy will be using social media to include as many people as possible into their world of literary joy, but do you need to put down the phone and pick up a book to really de-stress?

“I definitely want to read more. I find sometimes that life is so busy these days, I said this year that I wanted to remove the word ‘busy’ from my dictionary. I want to be balanced, having that time to switch off your device, pick up your book or even listen to it. I put on audiobooks in the car now and find it very soothing. My goal for the rest of this year is hopefully to read a little bit more.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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What can you tell us about your three favourite summer reads for the Diet Coke Book Club?

“We have two Irish authors, which is really exciting. Each of the books were chosen by Amy Huberman, and Amy knows her books so I’m taking them as a good call. For July we have If Only by Melanie Murphy. The August book club, which is myself and Amy, is How To Fail by Elizabeth Day, based on the famous podcast. And we also have Rules of the Road by Ciara Geraghty.”

Do you have a favourite easy summer read that you bring on all your sunny holidays for light beach reading?

“That’s a difficult question because once I’ve read a book I very rarely go back to it, but there are a few exceptions. Anything by Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, is incredible. I’ve read all of his books. I vary between And the Mountain Echoes or A Thousand Splendid Suns as my favourite. I read them over and over again. They’re such beautiful stories of humanity, you get a cultural insight and you feel like you’re being transported to this world and are learning something about the time, the place, the culture. That’s important to me for a book.”

Image: Carousell

If you were to write your own book, what would it be about? 

“It’s a book that I’ve had in the ether for a while now. For me, it would be about how to just live your authentic life and make the most of your life. It’s your life, it’s no one else’s and you’ve only got one shot at it. How do you go about doing that? It’s not rocket science. I think that would be the topic. Or maybe I’ll do a kids book based on my dog, Harry’s Adventures, or The Hair-Tale Adventures of Harry the Yorkshire.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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What character from a famous novel do you relate to the most?

“I really struggled with this one. I used to love comics as a kid and used to think I was in X-Men. As a child I could definitely relate to them, but now I can’t answer that. If I’m based on being my true self, I might relate to my authentic self more now.”

Is there a book that sums up summer for you? 

Summer to me is all about change, it’s all about difference and relaxing. So when I think of books that I read during the summer, generally I’m on a beach or wishing I’m on a beach and that changes every year. It has to be something simple, quick and easy. Actually, I read a book called The Cat on my last holiday. It’s really short, only about 80 pages by a Japanese author. It was so simple and easy but such a joy to read. Light and frivolous, nothing too heavy.”

Do you have a favourite author, or someone who inspires you? (Matt Haig is our new favourite.)

“I’ve listened to Humans by Matt Haig, loved it. My favourite author is Khaled Hosseini, hands down. I’m dying for him to release a new book. He did release a very short one, which I bought in the airport but I felt I was robbed but the money went to charity. A person I look up to is Oprah, she’s amazing. What she’s doing with ‘Super Soul Sundays’ and the book which she’s released, which is a compilation of some really insightful quotes, is really nice to dip in and out of. I also have a book of quotes by Buddha, a bedside book, which is quite nice. I pick it up twice a week and randomly pick a page and see what Buddha says.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Have you read Amy Huberman’s books? We won’t tell her if you haven’t read them!

Heartbreak Hotel is absolutely hilarious. No, I haven’t read her books, sorry Amy. That woman is sharp as they come and super witty and funny so it’s on the list.”

What do books mean to you, have they ever gotten you through a trying time?

“Yes, books have absolutely gotten me through a trying time. Books for me are a form of escapism but also a great way to put perspective on our own reality. Sometimes we can get so stuck in our own heads and our own situations, and books are something that allow the cogs to stop moving and project into something else can be really vital. A book that I read that I loved and definitely recommend reading is called Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser. Phenomenal book, but kind of intense. I just thought of another book that I loved as well was Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. I read that on a beach in Tarifa and just: Wow."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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What famous people would you invite to your book club?

“That’s easy for me. I’d keep it a small, select group. First of all; Oprah Winfrey. I just think that woman is incredible. David Attenborough, because what a living legend. Tom Ford, because I think he’d put another slant on it. Even if he’d nothing to add in terms of the book, he’d just look amazing. Maybe just to keep it relevant and contemporary, maybe we’d let Leo Varadkar come to the party, just to see what he’d say.”

Darren and Amy are taking part in the Diet Coke Book Club at the Marlin Hotel in Dublin on August 30 in the Marlin Hotel in Dublin, with two other book events happening as part of the same series in Cork and Belfast. Tickets are free, so there's nothing stopping you going.

July Diet Coke Book Club, Cork

  • Hosted by: Stylists Courtney Smith and Ciara O’Doherty​​​​​​
  • Book: If Only by Melanie Murphy
  • Date: Wednesday, July 24
  • Location: The River Lee Hotel, Cork, 6-7.30pm

August Diet Coke Book Club, Dublin

  • Hosted by: Amy Huberman and Darren Kennedy
  • Book: How to Fail by Elizabeth Day
  • Date: Friday, August 30​​​
  • Location: The Marlin Hotel, Dublin, 6-7.30pm

September Diet Coke Book Club, Belfast

  • Hosted by: TV personality James Patrice and blogger Gemma Louise Bond
  • Book: Rules of the Road by Ciara Geraghty
  • Date: Wednesday, September 18
  • Location: The Loft, Belfast, 6-7.30pm

Buy your free tickets to each book club event here, don't miss out on the chance to open up a new world for yourself.

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Amy Huberman has just made an Irish Mammy's day.

The actor was out and about in New York when another Irish mam, Yvonne Duffy, commented on her Instagram post. 

She said that her son Sean was on his J1 there and if she saw him could he tell him to Facetime her more.

And guess what!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Amy and Seán arranged to meet up and took snap to send to his worrying mother at home in Ireland.

Amy took to Instagram to upload the picture, captioning it, ''A lovely lady called Yvonne left a comment yesterday to say if I bumped into her son Sean in New York on his J1 to tell him to FaceTime his Ma more! He saw it & messaged me and we arranged our coordinates just now to FaceTime home to his Ma.''

She continued, ''Jaysus the world is tiny and Yvonne he’s grand and washing behind his ears! Gowan the Irish sons!''

Yvonne was delighted and commented, ''Well this brightened up a VERY wet n dreary Sunday "summer" afternoon in our house! Hilarious! Thank you so much, it really was a fantastic surprise to be face timed by you… you're a fantastic sport for doing this…''

How amazing is that?

Amy's followers thought so too.

One said, ''Mammies looking out for each other. Fair play to you Amy.''

While another wrote, ''Awww Amy you are brilliant! Fairplay to you.''

We just love this – well done Amy for helping out a fellow Irish mammy – we can imagine our doing exactly the same…

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St. Patrick's Day is this weekend and you know what that means, Irish or not?

Yes, getting locked. 

Apparently, more than 13 million pints of Guinness will be consumed worldwide as we celebrate St Paddy himself.

When Irish women were asked who they wound most like to have an aul pint with on the day, their response wasn't too shocking. 

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Love Irish Tours surveyed 1,000 Irish people and they chose…Amy Huberman.

Possibly the soundest woman on the planet and we deffo agree.

So who else made the list?

Image result for amy huberman drinking gif

We have other Irish gems like Saoirse Ronan, the O'Donovan brothers and Blindboy.

If you can overlook Saorise God-awful accent, then go right ahead.

Rather surprisingly, Conor McGregor was chosen by some people before the likes of interesting political figures like former President Mary Robinson and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.    

For us, it's a toss up between the RIDES that are Pierce Brosnan, Robert Sheehan and Colin Farrell. 

Who would you have chosen? 

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The iconic Amy Huberman has done it again, sharing another of her hilarious moments.

The mum has been waiting to break out the old elves on the shelves from their dusty Christmas box.

And now that today marks the beginning of December, she can officially start decorating for the holidays.

She caught two elves on camera knocking at her front door.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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With their faces pressed up against the glass, it seems they cannot wait for their favourite time of year to start.

Amy captioned the photo: “Oh jaysus, the guests are back and I haven’t even hoovered or got the hobnobs in.”

Her post already has over 7,400 likes as fans celebrate the season’s start alongside her.

One comment said, “Looks like those elves are invading houses everywhere.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“Christ! Not time for that little fecker again,” said another.

This will most likely be the elves last visit to the house though. 

Her and husband Brian O’Driscoll recently put their home on the market.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The pair bought their Goatstown home back in 2005 and are selling it for 1.4 million euro.

They’ve decided to upgrade to a more spacious home in Rathmines for their growing family.

They share two kids together – Sadie and Billy, who are probably thrilled to see the mischievous elves up to their annual antics.

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Ireland's favourite celebrity couple are reportedly selling their Goatstown home, which they bought in 2005, for a whopping 1.4 million euro.

The loved-up duo will be moving to Rathmines after buying a large Victorian red brick home on Palmerstown Road.

Huberman and O'Driscoll, both 39, apparently want more space to raise their children, Sadie and Billy.

The rugby legend and actress are known for their down-to-earth vibe and gas social media presence, we're sure they're over the moon with their new gaff.

The high-profile couple allegedly ran up against neighbourhood issues when those living beside them strenuously opposed their plans for a three-storey rear extension and a single-storey side and rear extension.

Their home was sold through private agents Savills, hence why fans can't get a glimpse of the lavish home on 1 Larchfield Road.

Darn, we're just going to have to use our imaginations now, aren't we?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Exclusive walk-throughs of the house were offered to interested buyers only before the sale was agreed.

The family won't be moving into their new home until the new year, despite buying it in 2016.

Amy has said; “That’ll be our last Christmas in the house but that’s good.”

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We have to admit we were incredibly jealous of everyone who was lucky enough to attend a garden party held in honour of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The event took place in the residency of the British Ambassador in Dublin on Tuesday evening.

 

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An array of well-known Irish faces attended the lavish celebration, from sports stars to activists and from actresses to musicians.

Bressie, Louise McSharry, Una Mullally, Lucy Kennedy, Sinead Burke and Ruby Walsh were amongst some of the most notable guests.

One of our favourite couples were also invited to the party, and it’s safe to say they were thrilled to be there. 

Rugby star Brian O’ Driscoll and actress Amy Huberman gushed about the event on their social media accounts, saying it was great to meet the Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their first official royal visit.

Taking to Twitter, Amy shared a hilarious photo of her greeting Prince Harry, and she certainly looked shell-shocked, but wouldn’t we all.

There’s no doubt that we’d be completely starstruck if we were lucky enough to meet the dashing prince.

 

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The Striking Out star joked about the snap, which certainly blew her cool image, but could you really remain calm around royalty?

“Ugh. So this photo surfacing has basically dispelled my “Ah yeah, you know, I just played it very cool, very casual, you know that kind of way?!” story,” she wrote.

Fear not, Amy! We would have reacted in the exact same way.

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Amy Huberman has written touching tribute to her dad on Father's Day. She took part in the Irish Times article called Father’s Day: My father before he was a dad.

Amy speaks about her father's early life and how he remembers being in London during air raids when he was just four-years-old.

 

My Pops when he was a tiny popsicle. God they grew up so fast. Happy Father's Day Harry H

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The IFTA winner's dad says that he remembers his mother took him on a train, and he had to have a number around his neck.

Clutching onto her hand, he will "never forget the moment she had to leave him."

"She returned to bring him home when it was safer, saying whatever the uncertainty, at least they would all be together. The heartbreak of that overwhelms me."

Amy then goes on to talk about his later life and his career.

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"After leaving school early and later going back and putting himself through college, he went on to become a successful fashion designer running his own company.

"I’ve always valued his tenacity, his conviction and commitment, his bravery, his decisiveness, his spirit of adventure and his belief in, at the very least, simply trying."

"I am lucky to know him. I am lucky to call him Dad," Amy added at the end.

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We always love Brain O'Driscoll and Amy Huberman's banter on social media, but Brian's birthday post to his wife is a particularly funny one.

Amy celebrated her 38th birthday yesterday and her hubby took to Instagram to wish her a great day.

Taking the mick out of her fashion icon status, Brain shared a photo of Amy in a black raincoat and blue plastic poncho.

 

Happy birthday to this style icon! 

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He wrote: "Happy birthday to this style icon!"

One fan even commented on the photo, noting that "there's a Virgin Mary look about her!"

Ah, we love this couple.

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It's great news for Amy Huberman this weekend as her show has been picked up by a US TV station.

Striking Out first debuted in Ireland at the beginning of this year, and picked up great momentum throughout the country.

Well, Amy has excitedly announced that the series has been picked up by US station Acorn TV.

The mum-of-two revealed the news on Twitter last night. She wrote, "Yay! There's #StrikingOut starting on March 17th on @AcornTV in US/Canada."

We're delighted for Amy and can't wait to see season two of Striking Out.

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*WARNING: This piece contains plot spoilers*

The four-episode long debut of Striking Out concluded last night – and viewers are already crying out for a renewal of the hit series.

After a tumultuous few weeks, fans were left on a bit of a cliff hanger, with everything left very much hanging in the middle of things.

Amused viewers took to Twitter after noticing some rather interesting plot detail: Like who just has a random spare apartment lying empty? 

With four episodes was there really any time for even a quick suit change?

Finishing with a bang instead of everything getting all wrapped up, we couldn't agree with this expectant fan more:

So then, will we get a second series? Fans will just have to wait and see. 

Feature image Cast of 'Striking Out', Credit: RTE

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Amy Huberman’s new TV drama Striking Out kicked off last night at 9.30pm on RTÉ.

Huberman plays a successful Dublin-based Solicitor Tara Rafferty, engaged to colleague Eric Dunbar.

When Tara discovers her fiancé has been cheating on her with a co-worker, she ends the relationship and walks away from her job.

She soon realises she is more than competent in making it on her own.

Amy told RTÉ, "Her world is upside down and she has to find her feet… personally and professionally. She leaves this firm that she's worked with and her personal life is in tatters."

This is her first starring role on Irish TV since The Clinic finished. The actress played a supporting role in Irish comedy Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope which follows the “unravelling” of a friendship.

The show is also available on the RTÉ player for anyone who was too hung-over to tune in last night.

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We're so used to Amy Huberman and her witty ways, that when you watch the trailer for her new RTÉ series, it becomes striking at how heavy it's going to be.

Striking Out centres around Amy's character, Tara Rafferty, and her raucous life.

Tara is a Dublin based solicitor who discovers, on her hen night, that her fiancé is cheating on her.

She breaks up with him, quits her job and sets her sight on a new life, but looking at this trailer, it's not going to be easy.

Even though the series isn't out until next year, it's become one of the most highly anticipated shows for RTÉ.

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