THIEVES escaped with valuables including African rhino horns worth an estimated €400,000 after Lord of the Dance star, Michael Flatley, accidentally disturbed them at his home.
The star went to investigate a suspicious noise at the north Cork mansion at 6pm this evening as he was playing a computer game with his son, Michael Jnr. and wife, Niamh.
He was shocked to see dark-clothed figures running from a wing of Castlehyde House.
The star drove up to the main road to try to follow the thieves but they had made their getaway.
At least four raiders were involved in the robbery of the north Cork property with a major Garda investigation now underway.
Almost a dozen Gardai were at the property within minutes of the alarm being raised.
No one was injured in the raid though the dancer and his family are said to be shocked.
Gardai and the dancer’s employees are now engaged in a detailed check of the house inventory.
The mansion – purchased by the star in 2001 for €4.5m – was renovated and refurbished at a cost of almost €30m.
The star has a hunting room in the property which included a mounted African rhino including its horn.
Gardai have confirmed that the rhino horn was stolen but are now checking to see what works of art, jewellery and books may be missing.
Gardai are now appealing for anyone who may have spotted suspicious activity near Castlehyde or along the Fermoy-Mallow Road.
They are also checking CCTV security camera footage from premises in Fermoy to determine the movements of truck and vans.