Jeremy Irons reveals why he ‘had to save’ ancient Irish castle
The veteran British actor Jeremy Irons has revealed why he felt the need to rescue the spectacular Kilcoe Castle from ruins.
The Die Hard actor purchased the property in a dire state in 1998, as it stood weather beaten and without a roof.
However, with a lot of love and care, and about €1.5m investment, Kilcoe now stands proudly as one of the key landmarks in West Cork.
Kilcoe Castle dates back to the 15th century when it was one of the strongholds of the powerful McCarthy family.
It was their most westerly fortress as they fought against the British invasion of Ireland.
The McCarthy’s eventually lost the castle during the Battle of Kinsale in 1601.
Nearly four hundred years later, Kilcoe Castle was crumbling and a shadow of its former glory.
Irons purchased the property after falling in love with the local area, and embarked on a six-year restoration project.
He told Vanity Fair magazine: “I remember the very first night I spent here on my own,” Irons told the US magazine.
“It’s a very interesting building, because it’s very male and erect: a phallus. And yet, within, it’s a womb.
“Very strange like that. And I thought, I’m completely protected. I’m away from everything.
“It’s a wonderful feeling. And that’s what it gives me.”
Irons faced criticism from some areas of the media once the restoration had been completed, as he had changed the colour of the outer walls of the castle from traditional stone-grey to warm pink.
However, the actor dismissed these claims that the castle had been “disneyfied” as nonsense.
He said: “I told them all, what you need to remember is that what we’re doing is a jazz theme on the medieval. I relish risk. Risk is extra life.”
Kilcoe Castle hass provided Irons, his wife Sinead and their two sons a happy family home for nearly two decades.
However, Sinead did admit she was a little shocked when her husband told her about his extravagant purchase.
“I was very shocked, and hyperventilated immediately,” she said.
“I’m still hyperventilating to this day, both at the beauty of what he’s done and because of the amount of breath it takes to get from the bottom of the stairs to the top.
“But I understood where the need came from. Jeremy can’t bear waste. He can’t throw things out.
“I think he saw that castle as a beautiful ruin that needed to be saved, that needed not to die.”