The couple married in 1982, by which time they had three children. They moved to Germany, then to America, where Helnwein realised that despite the freedom, he was at heart a European. So Helnwein's "gypsy tribe", now grown to four children, came looking for a base, and found Ireland. "It was intuition. I had never been here before, and didn't know anything about it."
They arrived one rainy Christmas nine years ago and bought the beautiful 17th-Century Tipperary castle, and settled down to create a sanctuary. They now divide their time between it and a studio in LA. Helnwein takes huge delight in the children, particularly the fact that all are artists: Cyril is a photographer; Mercedes, a writer and visual artist; Ali, a musician; and Amadeus, just started at UCD, writes poetry.