What Ireland has to offer is ‘gold dust’, Jeremy Irons tells Cork People of the Year event

‘We have to introduce the world to what we have to offer,’ says actor as he is awarded status of honorary Corkman

Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons and world champion walker Rob Heffernan at the Cork Person of the Year awards. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons and world champion walker Rob Heffernan at the Cork Person of the Year awards. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

Sat, Jan 18, 2014, 01:00


Actor and campaigner Jeremy Irons, who spent six years renovating his west Cork home, Kilcoe Castle outside Ballydehob, said yesterday what Ireland has to offer the world is “gold dust”.

Accepting the status of honorary Corkman at the Cork People of the Year awards at a reception in the city, he said: “Many burgeoning countries, especially in Asia, have very clear plans for their future. What Ireland has to offer is gold dust, but it needs to be planned. We have to take care of what we have and introduce the world to what we have to offer.”

The Isle of Wight-born star said he was hurt for the people who lost their businesses during the fallout from the boom and was hugely relieved we have “gone through it” because money and greed are “not very good for human beings”.

The actor made his speech in front of guests including Cork Person of the Year champion race walker Rob Heffernan and nominees including Cork Penny Dinners’ Catriona Twomey and mother of conjoined twins Angie Benhaffaf.


Greatest assets
Ireland’s world-class sailing facilities and coastline, exceptional landscapes, stately homes and old ruins and food are among the country’s greatest assets, according to Irons. “It’s a country second to none.”

In bestowing the honour upon Irons – who flew out to LA where is nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award after the ceremony – Oscar winning film producer David Puttnam said Irons was an “extraordinary man”.

“He’s not just as an actor but activist, he’s a massive asset to our small community out in Skibbereen... and a far more deserving honorary Corkman than I am,” said Lord Puttnam, who received the award last year.