Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons has thrown open the doors of his beloved West Cork pile Kilcoe Castle for a Vanity Fair shoot.
The terracotta peach castle is a striking landmark in the countryside near Ballydehob, Co Cork.
Irons (69), who bought the castle in 1998, described his home as both “a phallus” and a “womb” in his interview with the magazine.
“I remember the very first night I spent here on my own,” the Academy Award winning star said.
“It’s a very interesting building, because it’s very male and erect: a phallus. And yet, within, it’s a womb. Very strange like that. And I thought, I’m completely protected. I’m away from everything. It’s a wonderful feeling. And that’s what it gives me.”
Irons bought the castle, originally built in 1450 by the clan of the chieftain Dermot McCarthy, without telling his actress wife Sinead Cusack.
She says: “I was very shocked, and hyperventilated immediately.”
“I’m still hyperventilating, to this day… both at the beauty of what he’s done and because of the amount of breath it takes to get from the bottom of the stairs to the top.”
“I did see it very much as Jeremy’s midlife-crisis, and that he should get on with it,” she added.
“Also, I understood where the need came from. Jeremy can’t bear waste. He can’t throw things out.
“I think he saw that castle as a beautiful ruin that needed to be saved, that needed not to die.”
If the walls of Kilcoe Castle could speak, there would be some fascinating stories to tell.
“There’s something about the castle that generates the most extraordinary energy,” Irons said.
“Everybody stays up ‘til three, four in the morning—talking, listening to music, drinking. You just want to go on, go on. It takes a bit of getting used to, this place. Because it does somehow produce an energy. Have you felt it?”