LORD David Puttnam, the legendary Hollywood film producer behind Chariots of Fire, The Killing Fields and The Mission, has spoken of how a chance trip to Cork changed his life.
He told the Sunday Independent how he flew into the 'Rebel County' for a few short days but ended up settling for a lifetime.
Lord Puttnam, who this year was honoured with the Cork Person of the Year Award, was on holiday with his wife, Patricia Mary-Jones, when he happened upon an old house in need of a good refurbishment. "I ended up there by a series of accidents – very, very happy accidents mind you, but it's the best thing that ever happened to me," he said.
"I was there on holidays and on my second day somebody told me about a beautiful house that was for sale."
It was an encounter that led him to the place he said he had been dreaming about his whole life. "The house was a wreck but in those days, 1988, it was affordable," he said.
"I looked at this wreck, walked around it and then all of a sudden I found myself looking at the view that I've been looking for all my life. And actually I know it sounds ridiculous but I couldn't believe it. I had seen it in my mind's eye. And there it was."
Lord Puttnam, who is former chair and chief executive officer of Columbia Pictures, has 10 academy awards, 26 BAFTAs and a Palm D'Or to his name.
He is settled at the house between Skibbereen and Baltimore for 24 years and said: "I'll live there until I die. I have my boat; I'm right on the estuary so I've got my pier so I have a very, very nice life."
Speaking about his famous neighbours, he enthused: "Not only have I met them, I found most of their houses."
The list includes Jeremy Irons, who bought Kilcoe Castle in west Cork in 1998 and famously painted it a dusky pink, upsetting neighbours in the process. But it has faded, as planned, to a light terracotta with time.
The purchase came about after Lord Puttnam and his wife invited the star of The Mission to visit: "They came to stay, loved it and we were able to find a home for them."
But he was keeping tight lipped on the other silver screen A-listers he enticed to the area: "There are a few others but they wouldn't thank me for telling you."