By Eileen Murphy
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: being Michael Flatley has got to be a lot of fun.
After all, the guy’s handsome, he’s famous, he’s a pretty good dancer, and he owns a collection of headbands that, laid end to end, would stretch from here to Pluto. Plus, he has enough money to buy whatever – and we do mean whatever – strikes his fancy.
This week’s fancy banger was a stately old castle down in Fermoy, Co. Cork. Yes, with a click of his heels, Flatley’s gone from being the Lord of the Dance to being the lord of the manor. Or, make that a click of the heels and a _3 million check.
Michael’s new home, Castlehyde House, was the ancestral home of the first Irish president, Douglas Hyde. The amenities include 122 acres of lush parkland, 6 ensuite bedrooms and 2 wine cellars. There’s a ballroom in case he feels like cutting a rug, a library in case he wants to read the Irish Echo, and a games room in case he’s keen for a fast round of Go Fish. The grounds also boast a gate house and scenic water views – the Blackwater river flows through part of the property.
Flatley will no doubt be dividing his time between Castlehyde and his swanky London townhouse, which also cost a pretty penny (let’s just say, he had to banish an awful lot of Dark Lords and rescue a whole bunch of weird golden pixies to pay for it, OK?). And, as if two posh piles weren’t enough for one man, we hear he’s still looking for a place in Dublin. Stay tuned.
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We’re shedding no tears for hunky Irish actor Gabriel Byrne, even if his ex-wife, Ellen Barkin, is getting set to marry one of the richest human beings on the planet. He has a new movie, “Stigmata,” set to hit the theaters this summer, and it looks pretty good – and believe us, he’s the most fetching thing we’ve seen in a Roman collar since Ballykissangel’s Fr. Clifford.
Anyway, we got a little off-track there, which usually happens when we’re looking at photos of hunky actors. We saw a funny story in the Sunday World about Gabriel’s stint as a bar worker. Picture, if you will, our Gabriel at 16, innocently gathering glasses in a Dublin pub. Now, picture the pub: dark, beery, full of men.
But let Gabriel tell it.
“I was a busboy and I remember saying one night to a bartender, ‘Not many women come in here,’ ” he recalled.
“And he said, ‘That’s because it’s a bar for homosexuals.’ ” Duh.
Another time, a patron asked the handsome young busboy if he were gay.
“I said yes because I thought he was referring to my name!” he chuckled.
We’re not sure whether to file this under “Anything you can do, I can do better” or “Monkey see, monkey do.” Now that talk show titan Oprah Winfrey has launched her own magazine, imaginatively titled Oprah, chatmeister Rosie O’Donnell plans to follow suit. The “Queen of Nice” plans to start her own ‘zine, with a sticky sweet name like Cutie Patootie, in the near future.
Of course, we wish Rosie all the best, but we hope she realizes that the publishing world is a hard one to conquer – even the charismatic John F. Kennedy Jr. had trouble keeping George afloat, and nobody had more star power than he did. And Rosie’s “innovative” ideas, like printing the magazines with color type, – like all-green or all-orange issues – are kinda gimicky (and kinda lame). Maybe she should print one in a (you guessed it) rosy color. (You may groan now.)
Bono’s in the ‘Zone
We hear that Bono has teamed up with ex-Fugee Wyclef Jean for a charity single. The track, “Warchild,” was recorded at Jean’s New Jersey home over the July 4th weekend. Proceeds will benefit Net Aid and the Wyclef Jean Foundation for Refugees. No word yet on whether Bono’s new look will feature dreadlocks.
In more Bono news, we hear that he has told Boyzone that he would love to play their manager if and when a movie is made about their rise to stardom. Predictably, the Boyz are t’rilled.
There’s one catch, though: the ‘zoners don’t want their movie to resemble, in any way, shape or form that magnificent teenybopper opus “Spiceworld.”
“That was a very fictional movie, a different frame of mind from what us boys are about,” Shane Lynch told Hot Press.
“Our movie is about real life, how we got together, the people we actually are,” he said. “There may be a 12 or 15s certification [PG or PG-13 rating] because there will be swearing in it.”
Not that we wish them any ill, but these rockumentaries are notoriously hard to pull off. Fictionalized biographies are usually dull and rockumentaries are usually pretentious. (Anyone remember Larry explaining U2’s “musical journey” during “Rattle and Hum”?) We hope that the swearing will come only from the screen and not from the critics, if you know what we mean.
Movie scorecard: Gleeson, good; Neeson, nah . . .
You’ll be happy to know that Irish actor Brendan Gleeson has gotten good notices for his work in the campy crocodile flick “Lake Placid” even though reviewers are largely underwhelmed by everything else in it. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of our favorite actor, Liam Neeson, who got savaged by critics for his participation in the summer’s first major stinkeroo, “The Haunting.”
Personally, we enjoy sitting in the dark, scarfing down handfuls of popcorn loaded with imitation But-R flavor topping, watching highly paid actors/hors d’oeuvres thrash and scream.
There’s something comforting about a movie in which the main villain – say, a crocodile – could be eliminated with a single, well-aimed harpoon, if only one of the characters had the IQ of a rubber ball. In Liam’s case, he plays a doctor, and still he can’t figure out that maybe he and the rest of the cast should leave Hill House and head for the nearest Holiday Inn. Sheesh.