Michael Flatley's Hannibal Lecter mask among sale of Castlehyde contents

Contents sale of Lord of the Dance's Fermoy estate to offer 700 lots including film mask guiding €80,000-€120,000

Sheppard’s auction house in Durrow is holding a residue sale of the contents of Castlehyde, the Palladian mansion on 150 acres in north Cork owned by Irish-American dancer and painter Michael Flatley on November  26th and 27th.

According to auctioneer Philip Sheppard, the online sale represents items which are “surplus to requirements in the newly-devised decorative scheme” of the dancer’s home.

Castlehyde, which Flatley purchased for €4 million in 1999 and subsequently spent an estimated €30 million on its refurbishment, was first launched in 2015 with a hefty €20 million tag, a price which then included the contents.

In late 2017 it was quietly withdrawn from the market and relaunched in 2018 with a revised asking price of €12.5 million. More recently it had been speculated that the former home of Ireland’s first president Douglas Hyde had been sold privately to a hotel company. However, in recent posts on Facebook to his 253,000 followers, the Lord of the Dance refers to “an important renovation project” and appears to be enjoying the current lockdown with his family at his Fermoy home.

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The catalogue of 700 lots includes a vast array  including a pair of 19th century Rouge Royal marble console tables (lot 457, €8,000-€12,000); a Regency rosewood sofa table (lot 131, €8,000-€12,000) and two oversized Irish mahogany brassbound log barrels (lots 170 and 171, €5,000-€8,000 apiece).

The top lot is an illuminated Hannibal Lecter mask from the eponymous film which is signed by both leading actors, Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore. The eerie cannibal mask will appeal to film buffs but its hefty price tag of €80,000-€120,000 will require deep pockets for collectors to acquire.

The Finishing Line; an acrylic on vinyl by Flatley himself is listed at €40,000- €60,000. The original star of Riverdance and Lord of the Dance embarked on a new career as a painter, selling his art at an exhibition entitled Firedance in 2015. His art is not created by brushwork but by his shoes, where he dips his feet in paint and dances to the beat in his head.

There are a number of lovely well-priced Chinese ginger jars and vases with €100-€150 estimates along with some quirky items. Lot 10 is a carved wood American eagle with a gilded beak. The timely date for the sale of this lot falls on November 26th, which is Thanksgiving Day (€800- €1,200).

Also in the mix is exercise equipment, luggage and quite a selection of garden statuary. Items from the kitchens at Castlehyde include a commercial deep fat fryer, pizza oven, and steak oven (lots 332,333 and 334 €100-€150 each) and a Fourneaux Molteni gas cooker. Molteni are considered to be the Lamborghini of ovens and prices range from €18,000-€160,000 as each is custom built to order. The Molteni range (lot 677) from Castlehyde which was used to cater for guests that included Michael Jackson, Cliff Richard and The Chieftains is seeking €800-€1,000.

Whether Flatley  is moving on or simply clearing out remains to be seen, but  this sale is bound to  attract significant interest among his global network of fans. See sheppards.ie.