GLENSTAL broke the mould with their app, now they have two God Pods.
They are a modern take on centuries-old beehive huts where monks found spirituality in solitude. Glenstal may have an app but there is no internet or wi-fi in the self-contained hermitages.
Located on the edge of woodland deep into the Murroe countryside about 1km from the monastery they are designed for those who want to get away from it all. Glenstal saw the need for God Pods due to an increased demand for their guesthouse.
The Abbot of Glenstal, Mark Patrick Hederman, said: “One of the services, we as a monastery can supply to our beleaguered society is to offer time and space for people to have time-out, to be alone without noise, over-crowding, or technological intrusion.”
Thanks to a €200,000 donation from the JP McManus Pro-Am fund they were able to put their plan into action. The building boom continues in Glenstal as a €6m school expansion commenced at the end of 2012. Due to be completed last year, bad weather delayed the God Pods.
They even had bookings for September which they had to cancel. Now they’re finished, interest hasn’t waned. Fr Cuthbert, who oversaw construction and takes bookings for the God Pods, said they have been inundated with queries for the next couple of months.
“We are pretty full for February already. There is lots of interest. There is a lot of demand for silence and quiet space so that people have time to reflect and just take some time-out. They have access to a praying community so there is a structure to the day if you want,” said Fr Cuthbert.
A one- or two night stay is €80 per night, while a one week stay is €45 per night in the eco-friendly dwellings that include solar panels, water collection and biomass heating.
Fr Simon Sleeman thanked JP McManus for making the project possible and he has first refusal on a stay.
The honour of being the first person to stay in a God Pod went to Dublin lady Nora Kirrane.
“I’ve been going to Glenstal since the mid-nineties. I heard the God Pods were going to be completed at the end of the year and if they were free I said I’d love to stay.
“I went down on the Saturday after Christmas and finished up on Thursday. It was longer than I normally would have stayed but I wanted to really immerse myself in it, it was great. We are living in such a busy, crazy world. Everything is so fast, we are completely open to distraction with TVs and phones. In the God Pods you are surrounded by the countryside, there is nothing else. It really is an invitation into quiet and solitude and that is what I experienced,” said Ms Kirrane, who also participated in the “beautiful liturgies”.
She says she returned to Dublin refreshed.
“Anybody that is working these days is working harder than they ever worked. It is always good to do something like this. You get a chance to slow your pace down and get in touch with yourself. You have time to pray and reflect and to walk,” said Ms Kirrane.