A celebrity travel agent who organised Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's honeymoon in Ireland seven years ago has revealed for the first time how the couple had planned to vacation in Wicklow, but avoided it when they heard the TV series Vikings was being filmed there.
"Kim is ultra cautious and we had initially planned for them to stay in Lugalla but when she heard about the filming there she decided to ask to stay elsewhere here, so we booked them into Castle Oliver in Co. Limerick and later Ballyfin Demense in Co. Laois," Siobhan Byrne Learat tells the Sunday World.
Siobhan says her heart goes out to the superstar couple after Kim's shock announcement on Friday night that she is divorcing Kanye.
Reality TV star Kim (40) and rapper Kanye (43) first met in the early 2000s and went public with their romance in 2012, before marrying in Italy in May 2014 and spending their honeymoon in Ireland.
The couple have four children together. Daughter North was born in 2013, followed by a son, Saint, in 2015, daughter, Chicago, in 2018, and son, Psalm, in 2019.
"You don't want anyone to go through hell," stresses Dubliner Siobhan. "They have children. I think he's a lovely person, who sometimes has bad reviews in the press, but he's a nice guy and we were delighted to deal with them.
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian with their four children
Siobhan has been involved in numerous celebrities' trips to Ireland, booking them through her company Adams and Butler into either hotels or private residences. One of her most famous clients was Michael Jackson.
"We had Michael Jackson and I met him because he was here for a much longer time," she explains. "He was in my car and we were running around looking around for properties. They were in Wicklow and then they went down to the midlands."
During their stay in Ireland, she co-ordinated Kim and Kanye's requests and itinerary.
"We looked after them and people in our team dealt with them," she points out.
The celebrity couple exit the cinema in Portlaoise during their honeymoon seven years ago.
"I only get involved if I need to because it's better to keep your distance. They are coming here first of all to vacation, or in Kim and Kanye's case their honeymoon. So you are trying to give them space and let them know if they need you, but not necessarily be in their face."
Kim and Kanye had initially planned to go to Scotland for their honeymoon but then plumped for Ireland.
"In that case, I think we got 48 hours before they came," she recalls. "With Michael Jackson it was different. We got the enquiry in twice before he came. A lot of these people do it on the spur of the moment."
There are a select number of properties they offer.
"We have a shortlist - like we always think of the Lismores, the Luttrellstowns, they spring to mind," she notes. "Lugalla (castle in Co. Wicklow) was a perfect one for us because it was isolated.
"I really wish they (Kim and Kanye) had gone there, because I knew he had wanted to go but she was worried because they were filming the Vikings there at the time."
She reveals that Kim and Kanye had actually stayed in Ballyfin a few years before their 2014 honeymoon here.
"We weren't involved in their first trip, I think it was when he was here for a concert," she discloses.
"They had loved Ballyfin the first time they were there. In fact, I did suggest Ballyfin at the beginning but they were against the idea because they felt it was a hotel.
"They don't want to be overserviced, but they want a discreet staff, that anticipate their needs and know when they should be around.
"They don't want staff in their face and that's what places like Ballyfin excel in, and that's why they're perfect for celebrities."
The couple also had personal touches during their honeymoon here.
"They also went to the cinema (in Portlaoise and Tullamore)," she remembers.
"They had a wonderful woman cooking for them when they were in Castle Oliver, a lady who ran a cookery bed and breakfast down in Cork who used to get reviews for her breakfast, so they had her cooking for them in Castle Oliver.
"I know they were very appreciative in the sense that Kanye always thanked her for her food."
Siobhan says Ireland is a destination celebrities love.
"We don't realise how proud we should be of our product in Ireland, because all of these properties, a lot of the owners and managers facilitate things which doesn't happen in other countries," she stresses.
"That's why we are very lucky in Ireland, we are the perfect destination for celebrities, because we do whatever people want."
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