Glamping pods plan to expand local artists’ rural tourism enterprise

May 9, 2016

A creative husband and wife team from Mullaghbawn are seeking planning approval for a unique set of hand-crafted self-catering glamping pods to be built at their homestead against the backdrop of Slieve Gullion mountain.

Local artists Padraig Carragher and Sharon Donnelly Carragher, who are renowned for the  craft and art workshops, woodturning masterclasses and traditional cookery demonstrations they provide from their studios at Tullymacreeve Road, hope the proposed accommodation will be a fantastic addition to the area.  The expansion of the couple’s rural tourism enterprise  would offer visitors the chance to enjoy everything the Ring of Gullion Area of Outstanding Beauty has to offer and could mark a significant boost to tourism in South Armagh.

The planning application recently submitted to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council proposes the construction of four ‘glamping pods’, each hand-crafted from timber and capable of sleeping two adults.

The proposal also includes the provision of two shower/toilet enclosures, and the refurbishment of existing outbuildings at the Carragher-Donnelly homestead to create communal kitchen and laundry facilities, as well as a games room, storage, office and toilets.

Car parking and cycle parking would also be provided for visitors.

The proposals are described as representing a “significant local investment” and the accompanying planning statement also confirms funding granted by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for the planting of more than 20,000 trees at the site to create a broadleaf native woodland.  Indeed the community woodland project was kickstarted last week with St Mary’s PS children helping Padraig to plant the first trees in the scheme which the local artist says “will have a hugely positive impact in terms of social, health, environmental and economic benefits for future generations of the whole community.”

The ‘glamping’ pods which will be crafted in County Kerry are described in the proposals as being “beautifully and aesthetically pleasing…..tasteful and bespoke self-catering accommodation”.

According to the planning statement the project is “entirely sensitive” to the Ring of Gullion AONB with care taken to utilise and retain redundant rural buildings within the landscape and to use natural timbers in the construction of the glamping pods.

It is hoped that the planning application will be assessed quickly so that the development could be open in time for the peak tourism season in the coming months.

The provision of the accommodation, it is argued, would “only enhance, compliment and bolster the existing tourism enterprise, but also create positive spin off benefits, such as an increase in tourism spend within the Ring of Gullion.”