Mar 21 2010

Porridge, Picking Apples, and Peace: Michael Jackson in Ireland Part I

Category: Books,Children,Family,Photos,Quotes About MJ,VideosSeven @ 3:57 am

I had originally intended to publish these pieces prior to and on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) but had to get something else off my chest first. Part II will follow shortly.


Bernard Allen as Lord Mayor of Cork met Michael Jackson back stage in Pairc Ui Chaoimh in 1988. I was the lucky photographer there to capture the moment. I brought a selection of shots taken earlier of Michael arriving at Cork Airport and suggested to the Lord Mayor to have Michael autograph them. When Michael saw the photos he looked through them with excitement, laughing and jumping around. He had no problem in autographing them, but the strangest thing was, he asked to keep a few of the shots for himself. May he rest in peace. -John Sheehan, Photographer

Michael Jackson had a fondness for Ireland dating back to his performances there in in Cork in 1988 and Dublin in 1992 and 1997.

Besides public appearances in Ireland, Michael had a personal interest as well, having gone back in the Summer of 2006 for about 18 months, to escape the media and find some peace and a normal life for himself and his children after the hideous crucifixion of of 2005 he endured, and after having lived in Bahrain for a while. During this time, Michael rented a number of estates throughout Ireland.  He seemed to have been able to find both peace and an escape from publicity and media in Ireland, having even contemplated making it his permanent home.

My personal wish is that Michael had stayed in Ireland so that he’d still be here with us, and so that himself and his children could have the normal and peaceful life they deserved until or unless they wanted to be in the public eye.

Thus, I agree with Ian Halperin in Part 3 of the ‘Michael Jackson in Ireland‘ video series that ‘if Michael had moved to Ireland, he’d still be breathing today‘. Mind you I don’t trust Halperin’s books, films, or any of his propaganda on MJ as they are mostly bunk, but I do agree with his statement in this particular video. Halperin, in my own opinion, is an incredibly poor yet incredibly over-promoted authority on Michael Jackson. What else can we expect from a media that is just as poor an authority on Michael as Halperin is? But, I digress.

Returning to the subject at hand, in Part 1 of the ‘Michael Jackson in Ireland‘ video series, it is mentioned that among other things, Michael also pursued the whimsical and intellectual while there. Michael stopped in with the children at Lambert Puppet Theatre in Dublin to watch a showing of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk‘. Then, given Michael’s love for books, he went on a midnight book run at what I assumed to have been Hughes and Hughes bookstore, though I do not know which of their many locations Michael visited.

And apparently, some of the first things Michael also did in Ireland was to go for KFC (of course!), go for Chinese takeaway, and go bowling. I knew about the KFC, but I guess our King of Pop liked to bowl too!

Part 2 of ‘Michael Jackson in Ireland

He 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.

Ever the doting father, Michael made a couple of visits to Jumpin Jack’s Leisure Complex in Tullamore with the kids:

He seemed to be a guy that was happy to have a night out with family. There was no pressure on him…

Part 3 of ‘Michael Jackson in Ireland

Ireland became his sanctuary in the last few years of his life. He even contemplated making it his permanent home.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

He loved Ireland for the people, the countryside…it was just a nice place and he found peace there. -Miko Brando

Part 4 of ‘Michael Jackson in Ireland

In Summer of 2007, Michael went to the distinctive Ballinacurra House to stay for a while:

I popped my head through the hedge and there was Michael Jackson moonwalking in the moonlight.

“Take the horse and pick apples”

They Wont Go When I Go

'They Wont Go When I Go' - Stevie Wonder sang this song at Michael's memorial

“When Michael Jackson invites you to work on music with him, you go to wherever he’s recording. of the Black Eyed Peas went to Ireland for Jackson. When he got hungry, Jackson took him to the drive through. “I’m like, ‘I’m hungry,'” Will recalled. “He says, ‘Why don’t you take the horse? Take the horse and pick apples. It’s wonderful. We love doing it. The horses love going apple picking.’ I’m like, ‘All right…”


The clip below is from a Dateline Special called “The Secret Life of Michael Jackson“. Michael met up once again with Riverdancer Michael Flatley, whom he’d met previously on tour in 1996 when both of them were in Australia. MJ stayed a while at Flatley’s Estate, Castlehyde.

He could be completely himself somehow here, away from the world’s prying eyes. -Michael Flatley

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We felt really very sorry for him. He was looking for home. He really was trying to look for normality. -Des McGann of Ballinacurra House

Friends Remember Michael’s Special Fondness for Ireland:

Blackwater Castle in Cork, Ireland

Blackwater Castle in Cork, Ireland

My wife Sheila is very much into her healthy food and she had a bowl of porridge every morning so she gave some to Michael, he loved it and he insisted on having a bowl every morning from then on….His children adored him and he was a very good, loving father. He brought them here because they had been hunted down in Disneyland Paris and they were looking for a place to escape. He raised them to be very well mannered and very polite and all his decision’s centred on the children’s best interests.” -Patrick Nordstrum of Blackwater Castle in Cork where Michael stayed for 2 weeks.

The man that I came to know was kind-hearted and a gentleman. It is tragic that he spent his life being hunted. I hope he has found his little piece of heaven now. His children adored him. They would ask me if I would race their dad and tell me proudly that he would win because he was so tall and fast. You could tell they really looked up to him. Even at the end of their stay, when they were leaving for home, the children jumped into the limousine and Michael made them get out again and come over to thank each and every one of us for our hospitality. His real personality only really emerged in the privacy of the woods. The shyness left him and I saw a much more boisterous and loud spirit who loved playing with his children. That quiet-spoken Michael that you would see in the media instantly disappeared. He loved apple pie and ice-cream and really enjoyed being in the privacy of the castle grounds and I know he loved the friendliness of the Irish people. -Liam Sheehan, a magician who performed for the children during their stay at Blackwater Castle

Michael had originally only intended staying in Westmeath for a month, but ended up living here for five months. Michael was an amazing guitarist, he was incredible on the drums, he stunned everyone when he got behind the piano, but most of all, you can’t overstate his singing voice. -Paddy Dunning, owner of Grouse Lodge Recording Studio where Michael worked with in October 2006 on what was purported to be a new album of dance music.

Stay tuned for Part II Soon! I’ll cover Michael’s work at Grouse Lodge in October 2006 – at least as much of it as anyone knows of, which is seemingly little, so Part II will be shorter. Maybe.  🙂
_ _ _

{ Thanks to my friend ‘Insanity X’ for the compilation of links about this subject! Saved me a lot of work. -Seven }

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27 Responses to “Porridge, Picking Apples, and Peace: Michael Jackson in Ireland Part I”

  1. carina for mjj says:

    Once more (sorry being so late) compliment to your photographer;”Take the horse and pick apples”
    Both Michael and horse seem so relaxed and at piece with the world”

  2. Michael Jackson And Jim Morrison: Poets In Exile | AllForLoveBlog says:

    […] In Michael’s case, though he was acquitted, he, too, would seek to find solace and healing in exile, first in Bahrain, then finally, so it seemed, finding the true peace he so desperately craved-finally-in Ireland. (There is a very good and detailed, 3-part series on  Michael’s adventures in Ireland beginning here: […]

  3. MJJ-777 » ‘Where There is Love, I’ll Be There’: Michael Jackson in Ireland, Part III says:

    […] since I wrote “Porridge, Picking Apples and Peace: Michael Jackson in Ireland“, Parts I and II, more charming and heartwarming stories about Michael’s time in the […]

  4. Seven says:


    I get information from different sources. Some of those sources worked directly with Michael for anywhere from 10-30 years so they know him and know what went on in at least the professional part of his life. Other information comes from the internet, Facebook, fan sites, things friends send me or point out to me, and just talking to people about Michael.

    It is just me that does this site, but often I credit many friends for bringing information to me – like the piece on Maxfield Parrish – a friend found that painting and had noticed the stark similarities with YANA, and I researched more and viola! – the connection!

    So while I do all the work here, I don’t necessarily do it alone, if that makes any sense! 😉

  5. Katharina says:

    Hi Seven,
    thanks for the prompt reply; if you run this homepage all by yourself, how and where do you get all the information??!

    It´s amazing, what you do here; I think that I´ve seen quite a lot of pages concerning Michael Jackson;
    there was not one that could be compared with what you do here….

    it is very special!!!!!!

    Thank you!

  6. Seven says:

    Hi Katharina,

    I’m afraid I don’t really know of any MJ Fan Clubs since I don’t belong to one! If any one else can help Katharina, please do!

    Thanks so much for reading and I’m happy that you enjoyed it!


  7. Katharina says:

    Dear Seven,

    I guess I belong to those kind of fans that the real and longtime fans do not like at all… is just that I always thought it is better to listen to the music but not be part of a crowd standing under a hotel window and scream just to get a glimpse of “my” favourite” star. I thought this is just more stress for famous stars and since MJ was the most famous of all of them, and from the very few times I read something about him, I felt sorry for him and sometimes thought it is probably better if people just left him alone.
    It never came to me that he also experienced a lot of love and support by his fans….and that there are different fans….
    The last months I have been spending an incredible amount of time to read everything I could find..and I am shocked. What you wrote here helped me a lot to understand…thank you very much.
    I´d be very thankful if you could tell me where to find a serious and reliable fan club page in Germany or Austria or in English speaking countries….there are so many and some of them are not critical at all…but up to now I could not find any that gave me the feeling to be reasonable…and it is a lot of time you can spend with searching….so if you have more experience about that…please let me know!
    Best regards,

  8. MJJ-777 » Porridge, Picking Apples, and Peace: Michael Jackson in Ireland Part II says:

    […] promised back on March 21, this is Part II of ‘Porridge, Picking Apples, and Peace: Michael Jackson in Ireland‘, covering the music he worked on while there with Mr. Will.I.Am of the Black-Eyed Peas.  In […]

  9. BG says:

    Thank you Seven. What a beautiful story about Michael and his children in Ireland. I’m so glad MJ and his family got to spend happy, peaceful times there.

  10. angel2 says:

    You just have to know Seven, that visiting your website each day is such a treat for me.
    Thank you so much for all the love & effort you put into your posts about Michael.
    I feel a wonderful good energy here … the type that Michael always had surrounding him.
    Much love and appreciation from Africa!

  11. Karin says:

    Seven, thank you for all of your hard work in sharing many MJ treasures with us. I just loved watching the videos and listening to the interviews about Michael’s stay in Ireland. Perhaps Ireland gave Michael a little space and respite to heal after his ordeals. I like to think that it did. I can just imagine him being able to relax a little and find some joy with his children and peace in his heart. I truly don’t know how he managed to come full circle and not be bitter, perhaps it was his deep faith and maybe a little touch of the blarney as well.

    Loved reading about him moonwalking in the moonlight and wearing his jamies to the village. Miss him so very much it brings a lump to my throat every time I think about his passing.


  12. Jennifer says:

    Thank you very much, Seven. This is very beautiful and emotional story, tears burst out through my eyes. Maybe or not I can see Justice for Mr. Jackson, I am 50 now. I hope you make a book from your articles and posts from others, so generations after generations can fully understand Mr. Jackson’s life and his agony and respect him. At least his kids should know the truth about their daddy and circumstatnces around their daddy. The kids should know exactly who are good people who are not to their daddy. I dream the kids can defeat the $ony empire and build Jackson Empire for good reason.

  13. Miranda says:

    Wow, the last two videos (Part4 and MJ living in Ireland) made me cry. When the one man said that he popped his head and saw Michael moonwalking in the moonlight I got the chills. What an amazing experience. In the other one where he was in the studio with at the end when he wanted the camera man to change the lighting so it could look like he had some sleep was just heart breaking. The 2005 trial really broke him, he was done emotionally and it just haunted him until his death. Im so sorry for all the torture you endured Michael, on behalf of everyone I’m sorry.

  14. Seven says:


    From all I’ve read, including from Bruce Swedien his sound engineer, and many others who worked with Michael musically, Michael played many instruments – guitar, piano, drums (any percussion instrument -heck, Michael WAS a percussion instrument!). He was multitalented and an all-around musician and artist. And that VOICE….and that intellect and that big beautiful heart.

  15. Kate says:

    This is simply beautiful. I miss Michael so much.


  16. luvuangel says:

    I also wish that Michael had stayed in Ireland and lived there happily.. As an American of Irish descent
    (half) I am ever so glad that in Ireland Michael found peace and acceptance. Like you Seven,
    I am SO sad and ashamed that our country could be so TOXIC for such an awesome person as Michael.
    Sometimes I am glad that I have lived half my life in Europe and raised my child here.
    People here are SO much more open… they don’t feel threatened or terrified by
    someone who is DIFFERENT or SPECIAL or has OTHER IDEAS, not the same as theirs. I LOVE the Jumping Jacks
    place he took his kids to. I am SURE he had FUN there… like the big KID he was. God bless him. One thing… a
    a question: I thought I read somewhere that Michael didn’t play any instruments. Here it says he played
    several. Can you shed some light? thank you. Luvuangel (MJ4eva)

  17. Seven says:


    I don’t know why he left Ireland. I suspect financial troubles, the need to make money to pay off his debts – though he was working on something with Maybe AEG lured him back or otherwise coerced him back for the purposes of performing at O2. It’s odd though because Michael said himself he never wanted to tour like that again. He didn’t like it- it took SO much out of him and he put SO much into it. Yet he was roped into this deal by – seemingly – Tohme and AEG. That’s all I can figure. But really I don’t know.

    What an awful, fateful decision to return to the toxic (that is an excellent word) US. This country was SO destructive, abusive, and toxic to Michael. I’m ashamed of it, as an American. Very ashamed.

    I’m with you. If he never performed again, at least he’d be alive with and for his children. I love him, and that’s quite enough for me.

  18. Susan says:

    Hi Seven:

    Lovely posts! Does anyone know why Michael left Ireland? When I watched that Dateline special “The Secret Life of Michael Jackson” I thought they mentioned that he missed his mother, but I’m not totally sure. Isn’t it strange how some people would actually let him live in relative peace, respect his person, while others were so toxic to his spirit. Likely he felt an affinity for such a mystical land. Every time I think of Michael, I am always reminded of the line from “Your Song” by Elton John – “How wonderful life is while you’re in the world.” Even if he never recorded or performed again, just knowing he was here with his children, so deserving of the happines and joy he gave us.

  19. Seven says:


    Some of it was on the media but as we all know they don’t stick with positive subjects for long. They’d rather talk about scandals and plastic surgery and how “weird” he was rather than how normal he was when he was left alone instead of being hounded and stalked.

    My whole family would have loved MJ! We’re a bunch of German-Irish folks! I think the Irish in me (half at least) really likes this Ireland bit of MJ’s life.

  20. Bonnie Cox says:

    He would have loved my grandma . . . correction . . . she would have loved him . . .”such a nice lad” Great stories from those people Seven. I wish this stuff could be put out there in the media!

  21. Kitty says:

    This was wonderful to read Seven ! Thank you soo much !

  22. Raven says:

    Thanks for this entry! I’ve been wanting to know more about Michael’s time spent in Ireland. It’s a bit of a misty chapter in his life (as perhaps it should be-it was his much needed healing time, away from the media, the US and all the reminders of the trial) but one that fascinates me, of course, from a fan perspective. This was a very informative entry, especially loved the part about “picking apples!” (lol).

  23. Seven says:

    I have that book. Highly recommended. Not sure what it has to do with Ireland but it certainly gives the dirt on the dirty enterprises that are $ony and AEG.

  24. Anne says:

    Please read “The Trials of Michael Jackson” by Lyton Guest. It is an important read for fans so they can make an informed decision on whether or not to support Sony.

    Skim thru the first 50 or so pages because there is a lot of background material. Just read the parts about Sony and MJ.

  25. Janelle says:

    Hi Seven! Wow thank you for posting! I haven’t had the time to read through most of your posts but I am doing so right now. 🙂

  26. Anne Mette Jepsen says:


  27. Ilona says:

    “My personal wish is that Michael had stayed in Ireland so that he’d still be here with us, and so that himself and his children could have the normal and peaceful life they deserved until or unless they wanted to be in the public eye.”
    So do I….. :*(