Flatley to sell €30m Cork mansion and build home by the sea
Michael Flatley is to build a smaller home near the coast as he prepares to sell his 18th Century mansion, Castlehyde House.
Flatley said he is selling the north Cork property because he does not get to spend enough time there.
The sale will be one of the landmark Irish property deals of the year, with Castlehyde expected to fetch up to €30m.
Flatley rejected suggestions that the sale marks the end of his time in Ireland.
"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 - that is for sure."
Chicago-born Flatley already owns property in Kerry and has strong family ties to the south-east, with his mother, Eilish, coming from Glynn on the Carlow-Wexford border.
"I love Ireland with all my heart and I always will," he said. "But my work commitments are increasingly keeping me in London and in other parts of the world."
When Flatley confirmed more than 15 years ago that he wanted to buy an Irish home, it was presumed he would opt for Carlow or Wexford given that he spent almost every summer as a teenager there.
"It simply wasn't an option going forward to have this beautiful house and yet be only able to spend a couple of weeks there every year. It wasn't right and it wasn't feasible," he told the Herald.
Ten years ago, Michael Jackson spotted Castlehyde as he flew by in a helicopter during his Irish holiday and insisted on making a "name your price" offer.
It was dismissed out of hand.
Flatley said the decision to sell was very difficult for himself and his wife, Niamh, because of the memories the estate holds for them.
"It has been a wonderful experience - some of the best times of my life have been spent at Castlehyde," he said
Other factors that influenced the sale included a burglary at Castlehyde in January 2014 and Flatley's decision to spend €28m on a new home in Belgravia. Friends also admitted that the death of his father, Michael James (88), last March was a key factor in changing his relationship with Castlehyde.
In his autobiography, he admitted that his renovation of Castlehyde was largely inspired by his parents and, in particular, his father, who worked in the building industry in the US.
"He loved to visit Castlehyde," said Flatley. "Some of the happiest memories of my life were sitting shoulder to shoulder with my brother Pat and Dad at the bar."