HOLLYWOOD star Jeremy Irons has been a "blow-in" at his adopted home in Cork for more than 30 years, but now the rebels have embraced the English actor as one of their own.
Irons (65) has admitted he is "absolutely thrilled" to be named an honorary Corkman, receiving the award from fellow west Cork resident and film producer David Puttnam at the Cork Person of the Year Awards.
The actor, who starred in The Mission, Die Hard with a Vengeance and The Lion King, lives in Kilcoe Castle with his Dublin-born wife Sinead Cusack.
He said: "I'm a blow-in and I've been a blow in for 35 years. I suppose I will always be a blow-in, but at least now that I'm an honorary Corkman I'm not quite such a blow-in.
"I'm hoping that when I'm stopped for going slightly over the speed limit, the fact that I'm an honorary Corkman may help tilt the balance. I'm chuffed.
"West Cork is a place where I ground myself. It's a place where I'm surrounded by people who accept me for who I am and not for the fame that surrounds me.
"West Cork offers a very honest evaluation. People who live there work when they have to so as to live as they wish.
"People are much happier to be sitting talking, eating great food and enjoying the wonderful countryside. It's a very special place on God's earth."
Irons splits his time between west Cork, London and Oxfordshire, but said he hopes to spend even more time in Ireland.
Corkman of the Year nominee, world champion walker Rob Heffernan (35), admitted he had other reasons to be nervous when he shared the stage with Irons and Puttnam as his wife, Marian, is expecting a baby within 24 hours.
"I have the overnight bag packed and we're ready to go at a minute's notice," he said.