Flatley and Castlehyde the focus of a "Life of Luxury" ABC television
November 8, 2004
Michael Flatley and his homes
-- Castlehyde in Fermoy, the Langtry house in London, and Masquerade in Villefranche-sur-Mer
-- were profiled on the ABC-TV show "Life of Luxury", hosted by American
TV and film personality George Hamilton.
The segment, appropriately titled
"Dance Class", was only six minutes long; it was the lead segment for the 2004
premiere of the show's second season. Other celebrities appearing in this episode
included hip-hop entrepreneur Damon Dash, fashion designer Cynthia Rowley, wine
experts Tim Kopec, Jeff Smith and Jean-France Mercier, celebrity jewelers Chris
Aire and Jacob Arabo, and competitive shoppers Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera,
plus visits to Hugh Hefner's Playboy mansion and Isabel Goldsmith's Las Alamandas
A note on the show transcript: most of the images appear in
very fast sequences of very short cuts, with the bouncy pop-music soundtrack from
"Life of Luxury" playing and George Hamilton doing voice-over narration. A few
videoclips from Michael's shows are used, apparently chosen at random; Ronan Hardiman's
music is not heard during these, only the "Life of Luxury" soundtrack. Most of
the narrative consists of Hamilton's voice-overs, with a few very short scenes
in which he and Michael exchange a sentence or two.
Many of the
interior and exterior images of the three homes have been seen before, notably
in OK magazine (the London house), VIP magazine (Masquerade), and the Irish press
coverage on Castlehyde earlier this year. More attention has been paid in this
transcript to describing images that have not previously been made public.
segment begins directly after the show's opening credits. George Hamilton stands
between the sunken hot tub and the pool at Masquerade (Michael's home in southern
France), with the view over the Mediterranean behind him.
He is known to millions of fans the world over as the Lord of the Dance, but in
three of the world's most beautiful locations, Michael Flatley is simply known
as (exaggerated imitation British accent) "the Lord of the Manor"!
shot with text reading:
Very brief videoclip of "Firedance" in Budapest, then clips of
"Planet Ireland" at Hyde Park showing Michael and his dancers, the cheering crowd,
then a shot from "Celtic Fire" at Hyde Park.
He's tapped, stomped and shuffled his way into the hearts of millions. Michael
Flatley single-handedly turned Irish line dancing into a billion-dollar empire.
Exterior shot of a helicopter flying over the Irish hills.
voice-over: And when you have an empire, you'd better have a castle.
shot of the helicopter, showing Michael pointing out the window.
There's the old castle up ahead . . .
Exterior shot of Castlehyde from
the air, then of Castlehyde and the Blackwater River from the lawns.
voice-over: Nestled in the County of Cork, Ireland, this fifty-thousand-square-foot
nineteenth-century mansion sits along the Darkwater River on two hundred
Exterior shot of the two standing on the steps at the front of
Hamilton: (directly to Michael) What does the land
mean to you?
As Michael speaks, a montage of shots from the Castlehyde
grounds: a country road, an antique cannon by the river under a tall flagpole
flying the Irish tricolour, Castlehyde and the surrounding trees and green lawn,
the front façade of Castlehyde again showing the fountain.
Ireland is where I'm from. It's who I am; it's where my parents were born. If
I don't have this land, I'm nobody.
Cut to the two walking by the river,
Michael swinging his blackthorn walking stick. As he speaks, another montage shows
Castlehyde from the outside with a steep rocky cliff looming above it, then cuts
to Michael sitting indoors talking. These seated shots were filmed later, in the
library at the London house; Michael is in a leather chair with a framed photo
on a shelf behind him.
Michael: It's a terrific historical property.
It was the first home of the first president of Ireland, Douglas Hyde. And it
was also owned by the Guinness family.
Series of shots of hallways papered
in red, a beautifully proportioned room with rounded walls and arched windows
papered in rich blue, rooms with wood paneling, marble floors, doorways with elaborate
pediments, a large bath suite with two footed tubs and a ceiling panted with floral
motifs. Nearly every room has a fireplace, including the bath.
voice-over: Currently, it's under renovation. With this three-thousand-square-foot
bedroom suite (it's larger than the average American home) --
continues through a vast bricked cellar and rows of wine bottles, a room with
rich wood paneling and a polished bar facing another fireplace, concluding with
a pan through the library, from empty shelves set into the walls, up the spiral
staircase to the wood-railed second level and the high ceiling.
voice-over: -- fifty-thousand-bottle wine cellar, home theatre, pub room,
and two-story library.
Shot from above shows Michael gesturing around
the empty Castlehyde library.
Michael: This is where we keep all the
first editions, and my desk is here - it's kind of an office as well.
of gilded detailing, shot of Michael gesturing around the main hall, pan up the
grand staircase with the ceiling murals above.
Apparently money is no object; he's already poured some sixty million dollars
into the renovation!
Exterior shots of Michael and Hamilton on the lawn
outside Castlehyde; interior shot of the fountain through a main hall window.
Michael: All the windows needed replacing, 'cause they're over two
hundred years old - it took over three months and cost me about a half a million
A cash register sound effect is heard as "$1,000,000.00" scrolls
onto the screen.
Hamilton voice-over: That's close to one
million dollars - just for windows!
Exterior, then interior shot
of Grindles pub in Ballyhooley; Michael toasts the other people cheerfully. He
behind the bar, pulling a Guinness for a bemused Hamilton..
voice-over: But Flatley didn't come from money. He was born on the working-class
side of Chicago and both danced and boxed his way off the streets.
of Michael talking to Hamilton in the pub cuts to Michael sitting in the chair
again, talking earnestly.
Michael: . . . just a skinny little Irish
kid in a real tough neighbourhood; and we grew up fast, we had no choice.
of the interior of the gym in the London house; Hamilton points to a photo on
the wall of Michael in boxing gear.
Hamilton: It warns us about your,
your prowess as a boxer.
Close-up of the boxing photo fades to Michael
Michael: We learned if you're willing to work really
hard, you can achieve anything.
Cut back to Ireland, outside Castlehyde:
Michael walking by the Blackwater, swinging his stick and talking energetically
on his cell phone.
Hamilton voice-over: And Flatley is constantly
working. On this phone call alone, he negotiated an eight-figure deal!
fragments of Michael, Daire and Helen in "Dangerous Game" from LOTD.
voice-over: There are books, videos and film projects in the works. But it's
franchising and touring Lord of the Dance in over fifty countries that's
made him a personal fortune of around seven hundred million dollars!
cash register sound effect is heard as "$700,000,000.00" scrolls onto the screen.
Cut back to Michael sitting in the London library.
Any artist in today's world that doesn't pay attention to his own business is
Cut back to the Castlehyde lawn; Michael talking to the press
at the March 31 press conference.
Hamilton voice-over: Yet something
is missing. While we were in Ireland, Flatley announced the break-up with his
fiancée. That's right, ladies - he's single. And looking!
whiskey room, with its leather chairs and octagonal inlaid "chessboard"
table; Michael examines a selection of bottles.
Michael: This is 1828
. . .
Michael pouring out glasses; Michael and Hamilton seated in the
Hamilton voice-over: Over a glass of seventy-five-hundred-dollar
a bottle cognac, I found out what kind of lady he's looking for.
Mostly I'd be looking for somebody who's intelligent; and who is loyal, likes
to travel and have fun . . .
Michael bounding up the steps to the private
jet; interior shot of jet showing Michael and Hamilton dining in flight; exterior
shots of the London house.
Hamilton voice-over: And for the
right lady, life will be good. There are the private jets and the fabulous cars
and the homes. Yes, homes!
Interior montage of the London house:
the master bedroom, living room and den; shot of false bookcase opening to reveal
giant plasma TV screen; sitting nook with thick carpet worked with the "MF" monogram.
Hamilton voice-over: This ten-thousand-square-foot, eight-bedroom,
thirty-million-dollar mansion in London's posh Little Venice is home base.
of swimming pool room in the London house, showing the pool flanked by a large
white marble staircase, green marble columns, glimpses of elaborate murals of
classical ruins, castles, and bridges.
Michael: All this dates back
to when Lillie Langtry owned the house, and they put in all these murals and the
swimming pool - we just restored it all.
The gym at the London house;
Hamilton, in suit and tie, settling into a tanning bed.
don't mind if I just try this out, do you? (Michael laughs.) This feels
like home to me. (Michael laughs harder.)
The London dining room,
with the table laid as for a formal dinner for ten. Michael and Hamilton are seated
at opposite ends.
Michael: (sotto voce to his butler, handing him
two wine bottles from a selection on the table) Would you ask Mr. Hamilton
if he prefers the '61 Château Lafite Rothschild or the '82 Latour, please?
Hamilton voice-over: (as the butler proceeds to the other
end of the table) Forget "Lord"; this is a home fit for a King!
(whispering to the butler) The '82 Lafite is fantastic, so if it's all
right with you, I'll just keep this one, and we can serve the other one. Thank
you. (takes a bottle and hides it in his coat)
(glances towards Michael to share the joke)
Montage of interior
shots: the master bedroom is papered in dark blue; the bed has a large carved
headboard, the mink bedspread, and cushions
showing black Celtic knotwork patterns on white.
voice-over: There's mink on the bed
The camera pans through the dressing room, which includes four
closets and a central table; a dress form at one end displays the red beaded and
sequined jacket from the 2000 and 2001 "Feet of Flames" tours. Close-up of eight
watches laid out on an Irish lace table runner.
- a closet full of Brioni
shirts (at an average of four hundred dollars a pop), a selection of Cartier watches,
clocking in at up to fifty thousand dollars apiece -
of some sixteen assorted wood concert flutes, mostly blackwood with silver fittings;
flute music is heard and the camera pulls back to show Michael standing by the
table of flutes, playing a passage from "Whispering Wind" on yet another flute.
and this collection of rare flutes, each valued at at least eighty
thousand dollars -
Exterior shots of the Rolls driving through London;
extreme close-ups of details of the Rolls -- headlights, hood ornament, grille.
- and a five-hundred-thousand-dollar Rolls-Royce Phantom, the
latest in his impressive collection.
Shot of Hamilton grinning and waving
as he gets out of the car; cut back to Michael seated in the London library.
I've got a couple of Rolls; Bentley; I've got a nice vintage Jaguar, a ragtop,
that I like - it's an old one, but it's a beauty.
to Michael) When was the moment you knew you'd made it?
'97, I think it was - Lord of the Dance hit the Oscars one year, (videoclip
fragments of "Firedance" from Gold) and we got a standing ovation.
That was a really, really big thing for us. Shortly afterwards, when I bought
this home in the south of France --
Cut to shot of the pool at Masquerade
and the view out over the Mediterranean. Michael's voice continues.
voice-over: -- and I came downstairs, out to the pool, and looked at the view;
and I remember blessing myself and saying, "This is it. You made it."
Michael and Hamilton driving the coast road in Provence; the front entrance of
Masquerade; interior shot panning past the dining room to the grand piano; close-up
of the "MF" monogram in the pool tiles; cut to view from the balcony overlooking
the pool and out to sea.
Hamilton voice-over: Ooo la la! Just
a short and scenic drive from Monte Carlo is this twelve-million-dollar, three-bedroom
Mediterranean mansion overlooking Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat - some of the priciest
real estate along the Côte d'Azur.
Michael and Hamilton stand on the
deck by the pool; Michael gestures across and down the hill in front of them.
Well, Tina Turner's my neighbour up here - and Elton John - Enzo Ferrari - Givenchy
lives down there - Bono from U2 lives there -
Cut to Michael and Hamilton
seated on the balcony.
Michael: I've had some wicked parties here. (Hamilton
laughs) Yeah, it's true. Most of the parties I have are black tie. I like
- I think people should get dressed up when they go out, and why not?
diving and swimming in the Caribbean; view of Barbados beach; Michael walking
barefoot along the edge of the surf.
Hamilton voice-over: But
if you think Flatley's about to chill on the hill, think again. He recently bought
this Barbados beachfront strip, where he plans to put another fabulous vacation
Cut back to the London house: Michael and Hamilton sitting at
a table stacked with books. Michael turns the pages of a portfolio of architectural
drawings and designs.
Hamilton voice-over: Then there's this
pot o' gold - an Irish-themed casino on the Las Vegas Strip!
page reads "Irish Empire" in Celtic uncial capitals illuminated with green knotwork
interlace Other pages show a freestanding marble arched entrance topped by a statue
of a reclining stag in front of palm trees; a tall hotel building; a grand hall
with a vaulted ceiling; elegant dining and café areas.
He's just two years away from turning this dream into piles of green. At a cost
Hamilton: (directly to Michael) When it's all in, what do you
Michael: I reckon about, somewhere around nine hundred million
Hamilton: Nine hundred million dollars.
The cash register sound
effect is heard again as "$900,000,000.00" scrolls onto the screen.
back to Michael and Hamilton sitting and talking in the library.
When are you going to settle down and enjoy?
Michael: Well, that's a great
question, George. It's never been about the houses. (shots of the Castlehyde
front entrance, the Masquerade pool, the London house) It's never been about
the cars. (shot of the Rolls; cut back to Michael sitting in the library)
The old saying goes - it doesn't suck. You know. (Hamilton laughs) But
it's not about that. You gotta enjoy every day while you're there.
Michael driving his silver sportscar in Provence; esterior shot of the London
house; Michael swinging his blackthorn as he and Hamilton walk in front of Castlehyde;
the Castlehyde front lawn; Michael and Hamilton clinking glasses in the Castlehyde
Hamilton voice-over: And thanks to a little luck
of the Irish, that's exactly what he does.
Evening at Masquerade: the
camera pans over the lit pool, the Mediterranean at dusk and the nighttime lights
of Villefranche-sur-Mer. Michael and Hamilton stand by the pool in evening dress,
glasses in hand.
Michael: George, this could be the beginning of a beautiful
relationship. (They clink glasses.) God bless you, George.
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Transcript: Louise Owen
Original Web Design: Alexander