Picture: Gerard McCarthy
Screen legend Maureen O'Hara is enjoying a new lease of life since arriving in the US and is now unlikely to come back to Co. Cork home until next year at the earliest.
The 92-year-old actress, who has been caught up in a bitter legal row, unexpectedly left her retirement home in Glengarriff two months ago for her first visit to America in seven years.
She has since moved into the Idaho family home of her grandson, Conor Beau Fitzsimons, and plans to catch up with other US family members, including her two elderly sisters, in the coming weeks.
But her nephew, Charles Fitzsimons, said it was likely to be many months, rather than weeks, before the ageing screen icon could contemplate returning to Ireland again.
He said the strain of the past year had taken a huge toll on her both mentally and physically and stressed she needed time with close family members to recuperate.
He said his exhausted aunt now had the opportunity to devote all her time and energy to relaxing and catching up with family members and old friends.
"It's been a really tough year for her, in fact it's been a tough year for all of us. But it's good for her to be spending some time away from Glengarriff. She's a US citizen, as well as an Irish citizen, and it's her first time back in seven years and everyone's excited she's back home."
However, Mr. Fitzsimons insisted Ms. O'Hara hadn't turned her back on Ireland for good and would most likely return next year.
"She loves Ireland and she certainly wants to return at some stage. She made the flight over from Ireland to the US no problem, so as long as the doctor says she's ok to fly back, she'll be back over. But she's looking forward to spending Christmas in the US and it'll probably be next year before she's back."
Earlier this year Ms. O'Hara and family members had a well-documented falling out with her long-standing personal assisant, Carolyn Murphy.
The Quiet Man star also claimed her "original dream" for an ambitious Maureen O'Hara legacy centre in Glengarriff had been "so distorted".
June Porter Beck, who runs Ms. O'Hara's official website from her base in Arizona and is a personal friend, said: "Maureen is doing what she feels she has to do and she needs time out of Ireland now to sort out her stress. "She loves Ireland, but I don't know when she'll be back."