It is not often I get a chance to wear a hat, so when I was invited toDundrum Town Centre Ladies’ Day at the RDS Dublin Horse Show last week by Qatar Airways (the main airline sponsor) I jumped at the chance. See what I did there!

The day began with brunch at The Intercontinental Hotel just beside the RDS. I won’t lie, I was the oldest there by several decades; this blogging lark seems to be the preserve of the young.

Following a short presentation about Qatar Airways’ recent launch of its Doha to Dublin service, we tucked into brunch, well aware that we needed sustenance for the day ahead.  Below you can see me posing with two of these lovely young people, travel blogger and writer Nadia El Ferdaoussi  www.thedailyself.me and Grace Cahill, Fashion Editor of The Irish Daily Mail.

But what did I learn? Well, a lot of people are flying to Doha because there are daily flights.  Seemingly, we have a rather large ex-pat community over there and Doha is also becoming more popular as a holiday destination.  But many more are using Doha to connect them to destinations in the Middle East, Asia and Australia. The prices are very competitive…I did check them out and if you fly with Qatar you can expect a five-star service…not sure if that means economy class, however. www.qatarairways.com is where you can check it out for yourself.

Of course, the reverse is also true and it means that many visitors and are flying with Qatar to Dublin. One such visitor was Erin Holland (Qatar Airways Ambassador and former Miss Australia) who flew in to attend The Horse Show and to do the touristy thing around Dublin for the past few days. Erin is the tall beauty dressed in red (below).

Ladies’ Day, the longest running and most prestigious of all such outings, was in full swing by the time we got in and there were long queues to get to the stage where the stylist daughter was having a wonderful time (with Lorna Weightman and Bairbre Power) judging the Best Dressed competition sponsored by Dundrum Town Centre. Not an easy task, as there was such an abundance of style. Even managed to get a photo of me with Courtney at the Show (below).

The winner of the overall prize of a €10,000 voucher for the shopping centre was Aoibheann McMonagle from Donegal (pictured below second left). Her outfit was a mixture of high street Zara white shirt and a designer skirt that she had in her wardrobe, topped by a cheeky little red hat. How refreshing to know that you can be a winner without breaking the bank.

Winner of the most creative hat award, sponsored by Great Lengths, was Kaela Keegan (above left) whose amazing crown was designed by Hat Society.

The Louis Copeland prize for the most stylish man went to Everton Tadeu Da Silva from Brazil and living in Dublin.

And Longines presented a watch to their ‘Elegance is an Attitude’ winner Martina O’Donovan (far right).

Photo credit: Paul Sherwood Photography

Now to my own outfit (above). Well, I fell in love with the wide trousers in Topshop (€70) about a month ago. I was a little unsure about the paper bag waist on them (see how I am keeping you up to date on all the latest fashion terms!) but I realised that it would work with a much shorter top. So, more shopping needed and, luckily, I found the Whistles black off-the-shoulder top in Arnotts just the day before the show. Reduced to €40, it was a steal and it tucked nicely into the palazzos. I do love a good bargain.

Having decided to stay with the monochrome theme, I wore my black, white-soled wedges, bought again in a sale from Paula’s in Malahide (€35). I added a black and off-white brolly from Avoca (€22), borrowed the Louis Vitton handbag from the designer daughter and wore a bangle from the Newbridge Collection at The Kilkenny Shop (€55)

And to top it all off, I was loaned a most fabulous hat from Anthony Peto, Parisian hat-maker, or chapelier for those of you who speak French. The hats, classic Panamas, trilbys and fedoras are made in different materials; at this time of year, most in the shop were straw and linen.  I visited their shop in South Anne St., Dublin, where Petra measured my head and when I had made my choice, checked it fitted perfectly.

Seriously, the hat never left my head from 11am until 11pm when I got home. Yes, it was a long day! I have never in my life worn anything more comfortable or flattering on my head. Some of the most gorgeous everyday and occasion hats are to be found in there.  If you are a hat lover, you will not be disappointed. Check them out on www.anthonypeto.com or you can follow them on FB or Instagram.

After such a wonderful experience, I am looking forward to perhaps an invitation to next year’s Ladies’ Day. It’s such a wonderful social occasion, meeting old friends and making new ones. Social interaction was so time-consuming that there was little time to watch any of the equine competitions but here is a shot of a token horse!