Exactly 72 hours after getting married, the multi-millionaire danced into the hospital with his radiant new wife, Niamh, to provide a number of elderly patients with the their gift.
The Lord of the Dance star, who looked more like Lord of the Manor in his tweed jacket, arrived with one tier of their wedding cake and a centrepiece decorated with chocolate shoes.
For the past four Christmases Flatley has visited patients at St Patrick’s Community Hospital in Fermoy, but when they were told he was to arrive yesterday afternoon, so soon after his €1 million wedding, few believed it.
That was until bouquets of flowers sent by the couple started to arrive in the reception area. Minutes later they drove into the car park in a silver Mercedes and walked into the 87-patient hospital where a spontaneous chorus of the Cliff Richard song Congratulations rang out.
A visitor to the hospital, four-year-old Maeve Daly from Ballyduff, Co Waterford, got quite a surprise when the celebrity couple came up behind her and hugged her before posing for pictures. They then spent time shaking hands and hugging patients and staff, many of whom admired Niamh’s engagement and wedding rings.
Angela Clarke, who was visiting her mother, Mary, got a signed copy of their wedding mass booklet from the couple, while others scrambled for autographs.
Singing broke out again a short time later with The Rose of Tralee, with the “lovely and fair” references obviously intended for the 32-year-old dancer who became Mrs Flatley last Saturday.
“This means an awful lot to the patients here to see a celebrity who we consider to be one of our own. It’s huge to think that he thought of us just three days after his wedding. The fact that he donated a tier of the wedding cake is an incredible gesture. This was our first time meeting his wife and everyone was very excited,” Matron Ann O’Connor said.
She wished the couple long life and happiness and presented Niamh with a bouquet of flowers on behalf of patients and staff.
As the couple were leaving Flatley turned to a couple of patients and joked: “No dancing, it’s bad for you”. He added, to another round of applause, “Thanks guys, I love ya”.
The couple then drove off to south Carlow where they were to meet up with Michael’s parents and three of his sisters.