A couple subjected to 'wayward golf balls' is fighting Glenlo Abbey Hotel's makeover

The five-star property was given permission to build extra rooms, a spa and a clubhouse extension.

By Conor McMahon Deputy editor, Fora

A COUPLE SUBJECTED to “wayward golf balls” hitting their home has objected to plans for a makeover at Galway’s five-star Glenlo Abbey Hotel.

Galway County Council recently gave the green light for the famous hotel to build a three-storey extension with 17 bedrooms, as well as a new spa facility and a single-storey extension to its golf clubhouse.

However, locals Jim and Maureen Hughes of Kentfield in Bushypark have asked for planning permission to be overturned in an appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

Through a letter penned on behalf of the Hughes by town planning consultant Stephen Dowds, the couple said they have had “a long history of difficulties” with Glenlo Abbey Hotel, especially in relation to its golf driving range.

For that reason, the Hughes took particular issue with the proposed golf clubhouse extension.

The letter from Dowds said golfing at Glenlo Abbey “has caused not only significant disamenity from the incursion of wayward golf balls, but also a significant problem of safety and physical damage”.

He said the “incursion of wayward golf balls into my clients’ property, home and garden has continued unabated”.

“The regular incursion of the very hard missile that is a golf ball has caused damage to the Hughes’ home on several occasions,” Dowds said, noting that windows and roof slates have been broken as a result.

shutterstock_589742105 A golf driving range
Source: Shutterstock/Juan Enrique del Barrio

According to the appeal, the Hughes have complained about the issue to the hotel on several occasions, but “the problem continues unabated”.

It went on to claim that the clubhouse extension will have “a significant impact on re-orientating all of the golf course-related activity”.

“This will generate activity, noise, disruption and intrusion on privacy by bringing such activity into close proximity with my client’s home and garden.”

‘Belligerent behaviour’

The appeal presumes that a members’ lounge at the property “is intended as a licensed drinking area and will be used as something of a ‘nineteenth hole’ for relaxation after a game”.

“This can extend activity especially on bright summer days and could well continue into the hours of darkness with drinking and noisy, belligerent behaviour.”

The case is to be decided by An Bord Pleanála by 27 November.

Glenlo Abbey Hotel is part of the MHL Hotel Collection group, a partnership between John Lally and Paul Higgins and US billionaire John Malone, owner of TV3 and chairman of Liberty Media.

MHL’s portfolio includes two other five-star hotels – The Westin and the InterContinental in Dublin – as well as the Hilton Dublin, the Spencer Hotel, the Morgan and Barnacles hostels.

According to the most recent accounts filed for Baswal Limited – the company behind Glenlo Abbey – the hotel reported a profit of €40,400 for the financial year ended 31 December 2015, compared to a near-€300,000 loss for the previous 12-month period.

Sign up to our newsletter to receive a regular digest of Fora’s top articles delivered to your inbox.