Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Turned Down Flat(ley)

In need of a place to put up his feet of flames, millionaire dancer Michael Flatley wanted to build a little cottage on Rossmore Island. His idea of little, however, has run up against Kerry County Council's notion of what constitutes a modest structure.

Mr. Flatley's architects drew up a plan for a grand spread, which the council wouldn't even consider. There's scale, there's the fitting in with what's there, and there's the view of others getting blocked, of course, but the council has a planning concept in place and new buildings are expected to fit in to the plan.

He came back with a scaled down version of his cottage, one that would require the existing farmhouse be torn down. Only 9100 square feet of dancing room on a 56 acre site, as compared to a 70,000 square foot mansion, but the council said it was still too big and it didn't adhere to the local development plan. So the answer, Mr. Flatley, is no and there's no dancing around that.

The problem may lie with the architects, who are based in Geneva and not Dublin. They were unaware of Kerry's little quirks and requirements, just as they were unaware of the Department of the Environment's concerns about the conservation area that the house would be sitting next to. And they were probably unaware that, in a nation of begrudgers, no one will cut Michael Flatley any slack, just because he put Irish dance on the world map.

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