Barry Roche, Southern Correspondent
Gardaí have begun an investigation after thieves broke into the Castlehyde mansion of Riverdance star Michael Flatley in North Cork and stole a highly valuable rhino horn last night.
Thieves forced open a downstairs window at the stately home and broke off the rhino horn from a stuffed head of a rhino which adorned a wall in the African safari room in the stately home on the banks of the Blackwater outside Fermoy.
Thieves took nothing else in the break-in which was noticed by Mr Flatley around 6.30pm, leading gardaí to believe that it was a targeted raid for just the rhino horn which can fetch up to $65,000 per kilogram on the black market.
Flatley raised the alarm and gardaí from Fermoy attended at the scene and Garda technical experts have begun a forensic examination for DNA or other forensic evidence which could help them identify the culprits.
Gardaí have also begun examining CCTV footage from the stately home where Flatley lives with his wife, Niamh and young son, Michael jnr and which he bought for €3million in 1999.
Since then Mr Flatley. who also has homes in London and Barbados, spent a reputed €30 million on refurbishing the four storey house which sits on an 150-acre estate and is the ancestral home of the first president of Ireland, Dr Douglas Hyde.