New guest at the Pigeon House Hotel

Pictured: The Pigeon House Hotel.
Photo: Kevin O’Gorman.

It’s been a long time since anyone checked into the Pigeon House Hotel on Poolbeg Peninsula. Certainly, you’re not going to find many reviews on Tripadvisor or see it featured on any travel programmes.

But it seems the unlikely ‘guesthouse’ which stands amidst the decaying surroundings of Pigeon House power station, is ideally situated for one of its newer neighbours, Covanta.

The U.S. company, who so famously took up residence in the area to develop the Poolbeg incinerator under a public/private partnership with Dublin City Council (DCC), plan to begin operation of their waste-to-energy facility later this year. And while it may not be Covanta directly who have their eye on the hotel, it seems one of their bedfellows do, another name to strike fear into the hearts of the public: Irish Water.

The hotel of course has long since stopped taking customers and in fact only operated as a boarding house for a couple of years following its construction in 1793. It was built at a cost of £10,000 with £20 paid to architect, Robert Pool, for his work on the project. In 1798, with fears growing of a French invasion, the British military took over the site and turned it into a stockade fort for officers. In 1897 the building was sold to Dublin Corporation for proposed sewage works. While the ESB took control of the Pigeon House site during subsequent years, DCC again bought it back more recently and continue to manage development of the area.

With respect to uses of the hotel over the past few years, 2001 saw ESB workers move in during filming of the Hollywood movie Reign Of Fire, starring Matthew McConaughey.

A search on the internet shows that currently the hotel has one tenant, a company called deStudio who offer studio and facility hire for TV and film production. NewsFour spoke to DCC, who informed us that deStudio operate on a month-to-month lease, although we don’t know how they originally were awarded the occupancy.

More interesting still is the proposed new tenant, something which Cllr. Claire Byrne raised in a South East Area Committee meeting with DCC towards the end of last year.

We spoke to DCC for clarification on this issue and they responded as follows: “Dublin City Council are in negotiations with Irish Water on leasing the hotel on a short-term basis to facilitate the expansion upgrade works at the adjacent waste water treatment plant. Terms and conditions have not yet been agreed.”

DCC further clarified: “Dublin City Council is currently in negotiations with Irish Water to regularise their project staff’s occupation of the former Pigeon House Hotel and surrounding area, which is being used to facilitate the expansion upgrade works required for the adjacent Waste Water Treatment Works. Destudio currently occupies a number of rooms in the Pigeon House Hotel under a licence granted by Dublin City Council and it is our intention that they will continue to occupy same either under licence from Dublin City Council or Irish Water (should terms be agreed with Irish Water) for a short term lease of the property.”

By Paul O’Rourke