Lord of the dance Michael Flatley eyes new seaside villa in the Kingdom of Kerry
Lord of the Dance Michael Flatley is set to swap being a Rebel County resident to become a proud Kingdom dweller.
The US-born dancer star is examining plans to build a luxury coastal villa on land he purchased a decade ago in Kerry as he hopes for a speedy sale of his 18th Century mansion, Castlehyde House, in Cork.
The sale of the River Blackwater estate outside Fermoy in north Cork - revealed by the Sunday Independent - is tipped to be one of the Irish property deals of the year, with Castlehyde already attracting attention from wealthy American, British, Russian and Middle Eastern investors.
Two potential bidders are already understood to have requested tours of the facility which was saved by the dancer from near-dereliction when he purchased it in 2001.
Renovating Castlehyde became a labour of love for the star and he lavished a reported €50m on restoring the mansion to its 18th Century glory.
Mr Flatley confirmed he is now selling the mansion because he simply doesn't get to spend enough time there due to his expanding business empire in London.
The dancer rejected suggestions the sale of the River Blackwater home, just 5km from Fermoy, marks the end of his Irish domicile.
"The plan is to build a smaller house, probably somewhere near the coast. It could be in Kerry or maybe in the south east," he said.
"But I will not be leaving Ireland."
The Chicago-born dancer already owns property in Kerry, not far from Kenmare, and has strong family ties to the south east with his mother, Eilish, who hails from Glynn on the Carlow-Wexford border.
When the dancer confirmed over 15 years ago that he wanted to purchase an Irish home, it was initially presumed he would opt for Carlow or Wexford, given that he spent almost every summer as a teenager in the area with his mother's relatives.
His maternal grandmother, Ann Ryan from Dranagh, outside Glynn, was a champion Irish dancer and is widely credited with giving him critical support as he started out on his own dance career.
The star admitted his proposed new coastal property won't be on the scale of Castlehyde.
"It won't be anything like Castlehyde. Maybe a little bit bigger than a cottage but hopefully with some great sea views."
Kerry has emerged as the firm favourite to become the dancer's new Irish base.
His Kenmare land bank has coastal views, is within easy access of Kerry Airport at Farranfore and is close to the attractions the dancer's family and friends like to visit while in Ireland.
However, any decision on the location of his new villa will be entirely dependent on planning permission.
"The sale of Castlehyde certainly doesn't mean that I will be leaving Ireland. I love Ireland with all my heart and I always will.
"But my work commitments are increasingly keeping me outside Ireland."
"The show [Lord of the Dance - Dangerous Games] opened in Bulgaria and we have major tour commitments coming up in the United States and Australia."
Having lavished more than €50 million on the Cork estate since its 2001 purchase, the dancer said he felt it now deserved a full-time resident.
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