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Flatley to become honorary Corkman

HE has won virtually every honour on the planet, from Smithsonian heritage awards to G8 cultural ambassador titles and world dance medals.

Now Lord of the Dance Michael Flatley (55) is to secure the ultimate hometown honour - he will soon be named an honorary Corkman.

The Chicago-born dancer and his wife, Niamh, will collect the honour at a special Cork Person of the Year awards lunch in the city in January.

The Flatleys will receive the award in recognition of the "enormous cultural and tourism contribution" they have made to their adopted county over the past decade.

It will also recognise their restoration of the 18th Century Castlehyde mansion outside Fermoy.

The couple now live in the period house overlooking the River Blackwater with their son, Michael St James.

Flatley bought the property for €3m and invested more than €30m rebuilding and restoring it to its former glory.


Awards founder Manus O'Callaghan said the honour was "richly-deserved".

"Michael and Niamh Flatley have been great ambassadors for Cork and will now join past winners of this award including Jeremy Irons and Lord David and Patsy Puttnam," he said.

Flatley is currently starring in "the re-imagining" of his hit show, Lord of the Dance - Dangerous Games. He has said his cameo role will be his final dance appearance in Ireland when the show is staged at the 3Arena next March.

It opened to rave reviews in the London Palladium last September.

Flatley's final performance will be attended by his wife, son and parents.

"Dance has been very good to me, which is what makes it so hard to say goodbye to it all," he said.

"But it will be a dream come true for me to have three generations of Flatleys for my final Irish performance."

The show has been booked on a 200-date world tour.