State ‘should buy Michael Flatley’s mansion’

The Government has been urged to buy Micheal Flatley’s mansion, which is also the ancestral home of the first president of Ireland.

State ‘should buy Michael Flatley’s mansion’

The Lord of the Dance’s stately home on the banks of the River Blackwater in Fermoy, Co Cork is back on the market with a significant amount shaved off its original asking price.

In 2001, Flatley purchased what was then a run-down house for €3m and proceeded to invest millions of euro bringing it back to its former glory.

In 2015 Castlehyde House, named after Douglas Hyde’s family, was put up for sale by the Chicago-born performer for €20m.

When it failed to reach that price tag it was withdrawn for sale.

But it is now back on the market with Sotheby’s International Realty, with an asking price of €12.5m.

Cork East TD Kevin O’Keeffe maintains this represents “a golden opportunity” for the Government to step in and purchase the mansion, which comes with more than 100-plus acres of manicured lawns and mature woodland.

He has written to Minister for Arts & Heritage, Josepha Madigan, asking her to consider his request.

“Castlehyde House is the former residence of the first president of Ireland, Douglas Hyde, and in current ownership of the renowned Michael Flatley.

Both of these people have played an important role in the arts and culture revival,” Mr O’Keeffe said.

“The opportunity of purchasing the residence of the first president of Ireland should not be passed up.”

He has proposed that the grounds could be used as a public amenity and suggested the house should become home to numerous exhibitions which would attract tourists from far and wide.

“These exhibitions could be devoted to the Hyde family history, Anglo Irish history, language, folklore, the Irish presidency, local authors, Georgian architecture and the War of Independence, to name but a few,” Mr O’Keeffe said.

He added that by purchasing the property the State has the chance to ensure that North Cork and in particular the Blackwater Valley has the potential to reap the benefits of the ever-growing tourism industry.

“Many towns throughout the county, and indeed throughout the country, have benefitted from historical buildings being in public ownership,” Mr O’Keeffe said.

The house extends to some 3,200 sq metres and includes seven principal reception rooms, 12 bedroom suites, and a pool complex.

The master bedroom suite alone extends to more than 280 sq m.

Dating from 1760, the Palladian-style mansion comes with fishing rights on the River Blackwater, which is renowned for salmon and trout.

The property also has a golf putting green and driving range, croquet lawn, boat slipway, tennis court and a garage block which can hold eight cars.

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From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

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