€5k painting Michael Flatley 'danced on' tops Taoiseach's expensive gifts
A painting that was ‘danced’ on to the canvas by Michael Flatley is one of the most expensive gifts received by the Taoiseach since entering office.
The acrylic painting of the Famine by Riverdance star turned artist Flatley, who paints with his shoes while dancing, was officially presented to the State in February last year.
The picture was valued at €5,000 and is encased in a hand-carved wooden frame created from trees at Castlehyde, Flatley’s Co Cork estate.
The item is believed to have been valued so highly due to the price paid for Flatley’s first work of art, which sold at auction in 2011 for €5,600.
A golden replica of the world’s tallest clock tower is another of the many elaborate gifts the Taoiseach has received since entering office.
The clock – a detailed replica of the Mecca Royal Hotel Clock Tower – was presented to Enda Kenny by the King of Saudi Arabia during his trade mission to the country last January and is currently undergoing valuation.
A one-metre-tall sailing boat was also presented to Mr Kenny during a six-day visit to the Gulf region with Jobs Minister Richard Bruton earlier this year.
The boat was given to Mr Kenny from prominent trading conglomerate Yusef Bin Ahmed Kanoo and is also being valued.
A bust of former US president John F Kennedy from the JFK Presidential Library in Boston was gifted to Mr Kenny in 2012, and was valued at €2,000.
Another gift, a 14-inch crystal vase, was given to the Taoiseach from the Kennedy family in June 2013 and is worth €800.
Other gifts include a bottle of Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Scotch Whisky from the Queen during her 2011 state visit, worth €150.
Mr Kenny received Marigold, a silkscreen print by artist Alex Katz, valued at €1,500, during US president Barack Obama’s State visit, also in 2011.
He was presented with a painting by artist Xu Yang of the city of Suzhou in eastern China from Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping in February 2012.
The gifts remain in possession of the State and are kept in the Department of the Taoiseach along with other gifts from world leaders and dignitaries.