Tuesday 25 June 2019

Crosbie channels monks for beehive pods on Wexford coast

Harry Crosbie. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Harry Crosbie. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Artist's impression of the pods
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

It is one of Ireland's most isolated spots. A place George Bernard Shaw described as "incredible, impossible and mad". And, having recently exited Nama, Harry Crosbie has drawn inspiration from Skellig Michael - in particular, its beehive huts, built by monks in 600AD who believed it would bring them closer to God.

The developer is using the huts as models for a new 'centre of excellence' he is building as a modern-day retreat for the world's leading thinkers. He hopes to build a row of modern pods on a 12-acre stretch of coastline at Kilpatrick in Co Wexford with views of the Irish Sea along an inaccessible rocky shore. The gates of the retreat will remain closed at all times and entrance will only be by invitation of the working group.

The developer plans to market the scheme internationally to large organisations and academic institutions, as a place of intensive work and study for decision-makers and industry leaders with a concentration on comfort rather than luxury.

The site will have a mini-van and small boat for transport and relaxation and full technological cover.

A source said: "Years ago Harry visited the Skellig rock and was moved by what he saw.

"For a long time he has wanted to recreate a modern version of what the monks did thousands of years ago.

"He hopes it will be a retreat for contemplation and creative thinking which would be ideal for tech giants, business leaders, decision makers and CEOs."

The source added: "A collegiate group meal will be served each evening and each pod will have basic self-catering facilities and a work station.

"They can stay there by themselves or meet up with their group and every pod will have a direct view of the sun rising over the Irish Sea."

If permission is granted, the project will be up and running by the summer of 2020. The news comes as the Sunday Independent has learned that Mr Crosbie's new hotel at Hanover Quay will be run "in conjunction with" and "complimentary to" U2's new museum at the same location. The hotel, designed by architect Jonathan Walsh of RKD, will occupy the site where Mr Crosbie's home currently stands on Hanover Quay.

Although there was speculation over whether the hotel would clash with neighbouring plans by U2 to build a museum for their band on the adjoining site, which was announced in recent days, a source told the Sunday Independent that "both projects will compliment each other". The buildings will be built "in conjunction with one another".

The source added that it is hoped both the hotel and the museum will open at the same time and said "both parties feel the complimentary projects will be brilliant side by side".

MHEC, a company whose directors include the band's four members, and another firm, Golden Brook, owned by Paddy McKillen Snr, have applied to build the four-storey museum on Hanover Quay. The museum will include a replica of U2's studio.

Both U2 and McKillen propose demolishing a building where the band recorded six albums to make way for a "world-class" visitor centre celebrating the group's four decades in the music business.

Sunday Independent

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