Retention permission refused for Inch Island glamping pods and hot tubs

written by Staff Writer March 29, 2023

Donegal County Council has refused retention permission for glamping facilities built on Inch Island.

Two glamping pods, two hot tubs and a shower facility were built without permission at Glack House, Inch Island by musician Keith Harkin and his wife Kelsey Harkin.


The couple opened the ‘Glack House’ accommodation in 2020, which comprised of two log cabin pods available to rent on Airbnb.

In October 2022, Donegal County Council issued an enforcement order stating that the two glamping pods and ancillary facilities were developed without planning permission.

Mr and Mrs Harkin subsequently made an application for retention permission for two glamping pods, two hot tubs, decking areas and car parking, as well as the change of use of an outbuilding to toilets and a shower block.

The application was denied two weeks ago.

Council planners declared that the proposal was “an ad hoc, unsustainable and inappropriate form of development removed from any existing or proposed form of tourism product”. They concluded that the development failed to comply with Tourism and Natural Heritage policies.


In refusing permission, the planner said that the site had no connection to any tourism product and was contrary to the provisions of the County Donegal Development Plan 2018-2024.

The council received written submissions from six objectors.

The owner of the agricultural lane to the property submitted that access to Glack House was only by means of right of way, and that the volume of traffic leading to the site has left the lane in a state of disrepair. The lane owner cited several close encounters where their farm machinery met oncoming traffic. They also reported seepage from the development coming into their field.

Other concerns were raised regarding insufficient water supply and parking provision in the event of a fire.

The planner noted that the water supply to the overall development is from a private well which does not have capacity to serve a commercial development.

The council reported that the ‘Glack House’ site originally served one residential dwelling. The authority had concerns regarding potential negative impacts that this development will have on the residential amenity of the established residential area, such as noise nuisance.

The decision of the planning authority may be appealed to An Bord Pleanála.