Above is the crowd at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, where he two 1988 sell out Bad Tour concerts in Cork, still fondly remembered by those there. He returned for the Dangerous Tour in 1993 where he played Landsdowne Road. In 1997 he came back for the HIStory Tour and played the RDS, Dublin both times to sell out crowds. Pictured below is Michael with his guitarist Jennifer Batten in Cork, 1988. So to sign off from the blogs for a while I decided to remember Michael’s special relationship with Ireland.
However, I feel it is his visit here with his children in 2006 which sticks out the most for his fondness for the Emerald Isle. He stayed in the luxurious Grouse Lodge recording studios in Westmeath for a month to record some tracks with Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas. He stayed there for several weeks with his family before moving to Coolatore, in Westmeath also, for 4 months. Owner of the studios, Paddy Dunning stated how the King of Pop “was mad into Irish history…you know he started getting into Irish music as well…It was great that the Irish just left him alone”
During his stay in Ireland he could escape, do normal things and find peace. He spent time with his children, wrote music, sang and played the drums, was in the record studio, mingled with the locals, went horse riding, went bowling and read books, was able to eat properly again etc. In Westmeath he visited Jumping Jacks Leisure complex in Tullamore with his children. He also brought them to the Lambert Puppet Theatre in Dublin with his children as well as visiting a Hodges & Hodges book store.
Jackson told Access Hollywood “Ireland has inspired me to make a great album. I have never given up on making music.”
His friend David Gest explained how Michael loved Ireland as “it was tranquil…He could be himself here and bring his children here…He just loved it and eventually would have bought a home there”.
After his visit to Westmeath he stayed at Luggala Castle in Wicklow for three months. The seven-bedroom retreat came with private chefs, butlers and cleaners, and is set in a 1,500-acre country estate.
On several occasions, it was reported that Jackson wanted to move to Ireland permanently and that he even spent time house hunting in Co Cork. He stayed at Ballinacurra House in Kinsale, Cork. Its owner Des McGann stated how Michael stayed in his estate for a while and his children played outside while he watched them and wrote songs. He also said “we felt sorry for him. He was looking for a home. He really was trying to look for normality”.
Michael also stayed with Michael Flatley in his home in Castlehyde, Cork for a brief period who stated that “he could completely be himself somehow here, away from the world’s prying eyes”
Michael stayed with at Blackwater Castle in Co. Cork with Patrick Nordstrum who described private chats that the pair had about the singer’s feelings towards the vulturistic world he lived in.
“I don’t think he ever had any kind of peace or normality since he was a child. I would see him as a restless soul but he felt quite homely here. He was very careful about who he trusted. He once told me how he had gone to stay at another castle to seek out privacy and he had just landed in the helicopter a few minutes when the owner took him straight inside, opened a door and there was a hundred or so people waiting there to meet him. So he was understandably very wary.”
Michael was believed to be interested in Ireland because he was fascinated by mythical creatures here such as fairies and leprechauns. His brother Jermaine explained how “the tranquility of Ireland was a calming influence for Michael”
I remember seeing some of Michael Jackson’s style memorabilia such as his stage costumes which were displayed at Newbridge Silverware Museum for a brief period. These items were well received by the public, who not only knew of his love for Ireland but didn’t want to disturb him and his family while they were here.
Ireland offered him peace and normality as well as people who didn’t take advantage of him. He could live a normal live without the paparazzi media and security constantly putting pressure on him. Maybe if he moved to Ireland he might still be alive today.