Us Ambassador Thomas Foley

SHE IS a writer on a self-styled ‘thinking woman’s’ magazine while he is an eligible man about town, regarded as a proverbial ‘poster boy’ for her affluent, middle-aged readers.

So, together, socialite Sarah Owens;the American ambassador to Ireland, Thomas Foley, would probably make an ideal couple. Indeed, if the talk of Dublin’s social whirl is anything to go by, they already are.

They have been spotted out and about on a number of occasions since Sarah – John Hurt’s ex-girlfriend – interviewed the 53-year-old divorcé for her magazine, The Gloss. Father-of-one Mr Foley, who was appointed by President George Bush last year, accompanied her to the Ritz Carlton Ball two weeks ago.

Observers there noticed how well the couple got on with each other. One guest said: ‘You could tell they are close. He listened intently to anything she had to say, was very relaxed in her company;was very quick to laugh at her jokes. ‘She’s a very witty;intelligent woman;great company.

She’s also very down-to-earth, so it’s hardly surprising they would get on so well.’ The pair were also around for the opening night of Sebastian Barry’s play, The Pride of Parnell Street, at Bray’s Mermaid Arts Centre on Wednesday.

Miss Owens, who seemed unusually reluctant to be photographed with Mr Foley, said last night: ‘There is nothing in it really. ‘I interviewed him two months ago for The Gloss;we are just good friends.’

She added that one of the reasons she had gone to the play, which ended its brief run last night, was to try for an interview with the playwright. Miss Owens has not been romantically linked to such a high-profile figure since her 2002 split John Hurt. Throughout their five-year relationship, they lived at his palatial Co. Wicklow home in Roundwood, which is a 20-minute drive away Bray.

It is not known if Miss Owens, a regular on the Dublin social scene;a former publicist, still lives at the house she shared with the actor. After their relationship ended, there was speculation that he would either put it on the market or let her buy him out. Mr Foley, who has a 16-year-old son, became US Ambassador to Ireland in October 2006.

He has previously worked in Iraq, where he oversaw the development of most of the war-torn country’s 192 state-owned businesses. Staff at the Elgin Road premises in Dublin’s Ballsbridge declined to comment about his friendship with Sarah.

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