An open international ideas competition has been announced to overhaul the iconic Connolly’s of Leap music venue in rural Ireland
The contest, organised by Bee Breeders, seeks innovative ideas to revamp the historic County Cork venue, which has belonged to the same family since 1952 and plays an important role in Ireland’s live music culture.
The Irish Cult Music Venue project aims to refresh Connolly’s of Leap by upgrading its main performance area and also rethinking surrounding ancillary spaces. Proposals will be expected to respect the building’s heritage while also delivering a new external performance zone with bar, restaurant, external seating area, offices, creative workshop, recording studios and exhibition spaces.
According to the brief: ‘The competition at its core is concerned with acknowledging Ireland’s place in the music industry and promoting it to an international audience, while also exploring how an existing music venue can be transformed to become an iconic destination in its own right. Ultimately, it is hoped that the competition will provide a strong precedent for other rural venues, both in Ireland and abroad.
‘Though this is an ideas competition, there is intent on the part of the venue to go into development at some point in the future. As such, participants should feel free to push the boundaries of their creativity and challenge themselves to create novel approaches to redesigning this venue, while at the same time respecting the heritage of the existing bar.’
Ireland is world-famous for its live music culture, which includes both traditional and modern genres. The coastal village of Leap is famous for its dramatic waterfall named O’Donovan’s Leap after an Irish chieftain who escaped English troops by jumping over the river.
Connolly’s of Leap is a popular roadside bar that has been an important music venue since the 1950s and recently reopened, following a brief period of closure, as a music club hosting a wide range of genres.
Connolly’s of Leap
The project aims to modernise the venue and deliver a new external performance area with bar, a café or restaurant, external seating and a creative workshop with offices, studio spaces and a recording booth. The scheme will also include car parking and a viewing platform overlooking the nearby waterfall.
The overall winner, to be announced on 6 June, will take home a £2,265 top prize while a second prize of £1,130 and third prize of £377 will also be awarded along with a £226 student and green award.
The deadline for registrations is 13 April and submissions must be completed by 17 May.
How to apply