Michael Flatley welcomed Cliff Richard to his Castlehyde pile in north Cork yesterday, with the event resulting in €100,000 being donated to cultural and charitable causes, but also marking the latter’s contribution to popular music.
Cliff Richard will open this year’s series of concerts in the Live At The Marquee event when he plays in Cork tonight, but he took a break from his preparations yesterday to attend the event at Castlehyde.
Other guests included the American attache to Ireland, Stuart Dwyer, and recently elected MEP Deirdre Clune, as well as Munster rugby captain Peter O’Mahony and Munster Rugby Corporate Ambassador Doug Howlett, plus members of the local business community in Cork and representatives of Trump International.
During the course of the evening, Michael Flatley announced that his foundation would donate funds raised through the event to a number of local charities, and that he would be gifting a 9ft Steinway Grand Piano to the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at University of Limerick.
On his musical guest of honour for the evening, Flatley said: “Sir Cliff is a musical icon of our generations and I am delighted to present him with a lifetime achievement award this evening in Castlehyde.”
The Irish-American dancer and choreographer has also been busy, rehearsing at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick, both for the recent ITV A Night to Remember and for his upcoming new show, Lord of the Dance — Dangerous Games.
Chicago-born Flatley has signalled that the upcoming show will be the last time he will take to the stage.
The show will have its premiere in the O2 in Dublin next March.
The evergreen Cliff Richard, meanwhile, will begin this year’s run of Marquee concerts, with other acts including Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan, Elbow and the Pixies. It is 10 years since the annual concert series began.
As for last night’s charity event in Castlehyde, the beneficiaries paid tribute to the organisers.
David Cronin, chief executive of the UL Foundation said: “It is an honour for the UL Foundation to be chosen as a beneficiary of tonight’s special event and we are very grateful to Michael Flatley for his friendship and support”.