01 Jul 2022

Bono's Monasterevin distillery Stuck In A Moment due to Covid-19 restrictions on building sites

Bono's €50m Kildare distillery plans on hold as planning application determined invalid

LEFT: Bono RIGHT: Ballykelly Mill

Work is currently ready to start on a €5m whiskey distillery and visitor centre on a historic site near Monasterevin in which Bono is an investor.

Construction work at Ballykelly Mills was scheduled to begin in April and was originally due to take 12 months.

However this timeframe will now be delayed by Covid-19 restrictions on building sites. 

The estimated total construction cost of the project is listed at €5,028,163.

Redevelopment of the seven-storey 200-year-old Ballykelly Mills will feature a refurbished distillery, reception areas, tasting rooms and an exhibition space. 

The distillery will also feature a roof garden and viewing area on the protected Mill building. 

Works were scheduled to begin this month to prepare the site for the demolition of buildings not required and the creation of access routes. 

The total floor area of the development is 3,578 square metres and the overall site spans over two hectares.

Plans were originally submitted in September 2018 for the large-scale development to be located over a two hectare site at Ballykelly Mills. 

The distillery venture is being promoted by a Dublin-based company called Jewelfield Ltd which lists Bono as a shareholder under his real name Paul Hewson. 

The development will involve the demolition of several buildings such as sheds on the existing site and the removal of internal floors. 

The seven-storey Ballykelly Mills date back to the early 1800s and began as a large corn and flour mill.

Grain was brought there for sale and sent to Dublin and also exported to England and Scotland.

The Mills were a major employer in the area and the imposing buildings remain over 200 years later as a well-known landmark.

An expert report was carried out on bats which are roosting in part of the protected seven-storey building which is over 200 years old. 

A bat derogation licence has been granted to allow the developers to work around breeding or nesting wildlife. 

The submission on the issue of bats by an ecological consultant stated: "Ultimately this project is of benefit to bats as the buildings have been saved from dereliction which would have resulted in the further loss of the bat roosts present." 

The report stated that bats should continue to use the site for roosting and foraging purposes and remain in the area. The development of a native hedgerow along the eastern side of the site will also benefit bats. 

The expert also recommended mitigation measures to support the bat population and issued advice on issues such as construction techniques and the use of lighting.


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