Glamping site proposed for East Buncombe includes ‘Cloud…
Glamping site proposed for East Buncombe includes ‘Cloud… ASHEVILLE – While some want to spend a night by a warm campfire under... Read More
From high-end to rough and ready, here are 40 great spots –…
Glamping did not exist 20 years ago; or at least the word didn’t. That is not to say high-end in-tents life did not exist. Some privileged people have been living in the fanciest of tents for thousands of years, stretching right back to the ancient Persians and Ottomans – but we didn’t have a natty way of describing this kind of living in this part of the world until the 21st century.
We do now. Glamorous camping, or glamping, was coined by people unknown (to us) in 2005, but only started making a mark on Google in 2007, and did not find its way into the Oxford English Dictionary until a full decade later.
It is all over the place now, literally, and to paraphrase James Joyce: a good puzzle would be to cross Ireland without passing a glampsite.
There are pods, yurts, bell tents, Wanderly Wagon-style caravans, shepherd’s huts, Wendy houses and dome-shaped see-through pods all competing for our attention – and our money – in pretty much every county in Ireland.
Staying in them offers a memorable experience for everyone at prices that are not eye-watering. That does not mean they are necessarily cheap but they are certainly a lot cheaper than many hotels and offer an experience that can be a lot more enriching.
At the other end of the budget spectrum, there are a vast array of excellent campsites and caravan parks dotted around the country which will set you back as little as €20 per night, and you can pitch your tent absolutely free in a number of designated wild camping spots. Here’s our pick of some of the best places to stay in the great outdoors around Ireland. Happy camping!
When we asked on social media recently for glamping recommendations, this wondrous-looking site in Kenmare came out on top by a country mile. “Our custom-made tents were designed specifically for Dromquinna Manor by safari tent experts in India,” the website says. “They are the last word in luxury. None of the centre poles, low head room, bumpy floors, lack of fresh air and condensation we remember from our youth.”
There are tents for couples and for families, and they all come with goose-down duvets, linen sheets and covered decks where you can sip sundowners and marvel at how fortunate you are to be there. There are also barbecue facilities, a games room, playground, kitchen, bistro and lots of nature. You can even look forward to a hamper of freshly brewed tea or coffee, yogurt, croissants and juices for the little ones to your tent every morning. Bear Grylls would be turning in his cobbled-together lean-to made of dead animals, maggots and damp twigs if he heard about this place.
Price for two adults and two children for two nights start at €480; dromquinnamanor.com
This is styled as an urban glampsite, and unlike many of the options around the country, it is smack bang in the centre of the town of Portumna. It is set back ever so slightly from the main drag which means that while you will have access to shops, pubs and restaurants, you will think you are in the wilderness. The accommodation options in Podumna Village are – surprise, surprise – pods, dome-shaped wooden structures and wooden sheds which can accommodate up to six people. There is also an indoor living space, a fully equipped catering kitchen, showers and a diningroom.
Pod for two nights from €330 in high season. podumnavillage.ie
While these guys in Kilmacthomas are relatively new kids on the block, there was a lot of love for the operation when we asked Twitter for recommendations, so they are clearly doing something right. There are a handful of pods – each sleeping up to four people and have stunning views of the mountains. All the units are kitted out to a high standard as are the communal areas. We also loved the look of the mountaintop hot tub.
Pod prices for two nights start at €310 in high season. comeraghpods.ie
By any measure, these transparent domes in the woods near Enniskillen are out of this world – in fact they look like something you’d see humans who have colonised a far-off planet in a sci-fi movie living in. The interiors are spacious and come with all sorts of surprising features, including roll-top baths overlooking the forest. You can also expect bathrobes, Nespresso machines and breakfast each morning. All manner of outdoor pursuits are on the table, too. It is an adult-only option, so you’ll have to leave the smallies at home, and be prepared to pay a premium for your nights under the stars.
Two nights this summer from €798 (£680). finnlough.com
If you are in the market for the cutest, cosiest Carlow camping, this is where you will inevitably end up. The small site has just four shepherd’s huts in the gardens of an old rectory, 5km from Borris, with each one decorated in a rustic style. The huts are small and won’t fit much more than the double bed, so you will need to be very well acquainted with your travelling companion and try not to fight. Guests have access to an eco-centre, kitchen and bathrooms. Breakfast is also provided. With accommodation available for less than €100 per night in high season, is it definitely one of the more affordable options out there.
Less than €100 per night; blackstairsecotrails.ie
Fans of Harry Styles who went to his concert in the castle earlier this summer might have noticed some twinkling lights in the woody distance behind the stage. That was Rock Farm, surely one of the most gorgeous and best value swanky glamping options in Ireland. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Mountcharles family’s conversion of a small portion of their farmland close to the famous castle into a glamping site, which surely makes them among the earliest adopters of the increasingly on-trend mini-break option. The site is fantastic with gorgeous yurts – complete with wood-burning stoves – bell tents and shepherd’s huts nestling underneath ancient trees. There is also a spacious campfire area and a communal kitchen, as well as a sheltered patio so you can eat al fresco no matter what the weather.
Yurts for two adults and two children for two nights, €257; rockfarmslane.ie
This site has “cool canvas bell tents and off-grid wooden cabins” with some pitches for tents and campervans, too. The beach is a 15-minute walk away while a 20-minute cycle will get you to Kilkee. That is not all, not by a long shot. There is also drop-in yoga and meditation classes on the site as well as dedicated retreats. And you can expect a fully formed kitchen, a pizza oven as well as a sauna.
Price for a fully furnished bell tent for two nights from €150; purecamping.ie
This is a chain – if that is not the wrong word – of glamping sites covering eight locations around Ireland and a few in Scotland, too. We picked the Belmullet site because it seemed suitably remote and as wild as you can get – in the best possible way. The site has just four pods with each one able to accommodate two adults and two children. There is – the website tells us – “a sofa area in the day and murphy-style Queen size fold-down bed for the evening, an en suite shower room, a bunk room and a kitchenette”. Each pod has a dedicated fire pit where you can toast marshmallows as the sun sinks into the Atlantic Ocean in front of your chilled-out eyes. You can also hire barbecues – with kits available made up of a whole lot of food, you might like to cook on one.
Pods for two nights from €285 in high season; further.space
This site in Thomastown has been built around a complex of 200-year-old farm buildings which have been recently renovated and specifically designed with glampers in mind. The communal areas – including the kitchen and bathroom – look gorgeous, but it was the tents that won us over. They come in a range of sizes – for couples and families – and have their own private charcoal barbecues and fire pits; outdoor furniture; and proper beds, with duck-down duvets and pillows, hotel bed linen, extra blankets and soft furnishings. We also loved the look of the fairy lights that festoon the outside of the tents, and the promise of “unlimited marshmallows”.
Prices for two nights for two adults and two children from €310; legancastle.ie
This woodland bolthole offers spectacular views across to Lugnaquilla, Ireland’s highest mountain outside Kerry. There are shepherd’s huts and log cabins available year round while the yurts and bell tents are up for grabs on a seasonal basis. The glampers’ kitchen is in a restored old granite coach house, while the games room for kids is just next door. There is also a covered outdoor cooking area complete with wooden decking, dining tables and a new Ooni pizza oven. For horse lovers, the Munny Trail is an 8km riding trail near the site. You can even bring your own horse, which will be accommodated for €20 per night.
Safari tent sleeping four from €360 for two nights; theoldforgeglamping.ie
There are only four pods on this site in Rossnowlagh, which is within a hefty stone’s throw of the beach, but each one has been designed and built by the owners with a focus on both luxury and upcycling. The mini kitchens include an induction hob, microwave, fridge, Nespresso machine, kettle, toaster and all utensils. The en suite includes a power shower, heated towel rail, fancy toiletries, hairdryer, robes and towels. Pods can be with a double bed or two singles with a comfy mattress and crisp white linen. There are wood-burning stoves for the colder days and a patio with a pit fire, charcoal Kamado and gas barbecue at each pod, with all fuel and wood provided. There is even an ice machine on site for your drinks, and the owners will bring you breakfast in the morning and a cheese board in the evening.
From €350 for two people for two nights; thebeepods.com
There might be a more remote glampsite just metres away from the wildest Atlantic waves, but if there is, we were unable to find it. This site on the largest of the Aran Islands is made up of 12 Tigíns which can accommodate up to six people, and 12 Clocháns – for four – which were designed just for this site and inspired by the traditional beehive-style stone huts once used by the Island’s hardy monks. We can’t imagine the monks had bathrooms or showers in their beehive huts, mind you. Frenchman’s Beach is meters away from your bed.
Prices from €370 for two nights for four people in a Clochán; irelandglamping.ie
“Glamping at Ballyvolane is not only glamorous but also a luxurious and romantic way to experience the magic of nature without forgoing your creature comforts,” is the promise offered by this site in Fermoy. The bell tents and arks are in the gardens at Ballyvolane House, giving you access to the restaurant for dinner should the mood take you. Breakfast is included in the price. The bell tents sleep up to four people while the arks, inspired by “traditional pig ark structures and constructed from timber and clad with rounded crinkly tin”, can accommodate two people.
From €300 for two nights; ballyvolanehouse.ie
Embedded in woodland in Laragh, the owners say this site, which comes with views of the Wicklow Mountains, has been kept as close as possible to its original state to offer a back-to-nature experience, with wild deer said to be regularly seen grazing in the open glades in the morning and evening. Pods are made of solid pine and cedar. All the pods – for adults only – come with a deck and outdoor dining furniture and lighting, while inside, along with the bed, there’s a sofa, tea and coffee making, heaters, fans and bathrooms.
From €140 per night; glendaloughglamping.ie
Another gloriously remote Island glampsite on Cape Clear Island, that promises you comfort and calm to a soundtrack of waves crashing against the shore. There are bell tents and yurts, picnic benches and decking and a communal cooking area, as well as cool boxes, snuggle blankets and stoves.
From €115; chleire-haven.ie
We like the very literal name of this site and we love the look of the accommodation which could have come from the pages of a fairy tale. The Hobbity houses have roofs of grass and each has its own theme, including the Beach House, the Stargazer’s House and the Woodcutter’s House. The picket fences around each of the houses add to its appeal. There are also bell tents, wood lodges and a shepherd’s hut, all set on acres of landscaped gardens that lead on to the wildflower meadow. There is also a glamp house kitchen and dining cabin, covered in clematis and held up with the trunk of a tree. There are private bathrooms, a sun deck for dining al fresco and a seated campfire area.
From just under €400 for two nights for four; glampingunderthestars.ie
This campsite on Bere Island is made up of 10 bell tents, each with its own sea view and private front porch and seating area. There is also a communal area with full bathroom facilities, a double kitchen and a covered area to allow you to eat outdoors even if the weather doesn’t allow it. The site has direct access to the sea, and you might even find yourself doing some yoga to further de-stress.
From €330 for two nights for two adults and two children; wildatlanticglamping.ie
They had us at beds of silk, although it is a reference to the location rather than any actual beds of silk. The site is in Labasheeda, right by the river Shannon; the Irish translation of Labasheeda is beds of silk. The king-size beds in the eight shepherd’s huts do sound pretty comfortable all the same, and they come with bathrooms and some kitchen facilities, and there is a gas barbecue outside each hut “for those rare but beautiful sunny days”. It is an adult-only site, and the huts sleep two. One hut is fully accessible with a profile bed and hoist. They have a hot tub and sauna. They also run Silky Saddles on site offering ebike and push bike hire where our guests and the general public can explore the Shannon Estuary & Wild Atlantic Way region.
Prices from €139 per night; bedsofsilk.com
Fairy River Glamping in the Mourne Mountains is so called because of two fairy trees on the land. The site is at the foot of Slieve Muck mountain, and there are two luxury underground cottages neatly tucked beneath an active farm at a river’s edge. Each cottage has two bedrooms sleeping five (both with en suite), a kitchen, dining and living area, along with a wood-burning stove. Outside you have your own private garden and private lane access to the mountain range. There are also free audio stories on their website, which are based on the real-life experiences of their fairy sisters, Brea, Bethany and Katie, to help you get the kids interested in their upcoming trip.
From £120 per night; fairyriver.co.uk
This glampsite 20 minutes from Derry is made up of 10 pods and six super-swanky lodges which come with their own balcony hot tub. Other facilities on site include a barbecue hut, shared indoor area and spa. It comes with a continental breakfast basket, delivered to your door in the morning.
Home to scenic walking trails, 27km of mountain-biking trails, a multi-activity centre, an equestrian centre, playground and massive hedge maze, Castlewellan Forest Park is one of the best sites in Northern Ireland for an active getaway. Castlewellan town is a 10-minute stroll from the main campsite, which has a couple of nice eateries and a good supermarket selling all of the essentials. The campsite is well equipped with showers, toilets, fresh water and a dishwashing room. Pre-booking is essential.
From £22.50 per night; visitmournemountains.co.uk
Sitting beneath the majestic Mourne Mountains, Kilbroney Caravan Park offers four-star caravan and camping accommodation for campers seeking the serenity of nature and downright gorgeous views to wake up to. Perched over Carlingford Lough, there’s plenty of walking trails to the Mourne Mountains through the adjacent Rostrevor Forest (which links Kilbroney to the iconic Slieve Martin) to enjoy. There is also an extensive network of challenging mountain-biking trails on site. Facilities include toilets, showers, a laundry room, a dishwashing area, tennis courts, playgrounds and barbecue areas.
From £22.50 per night; visitmournemountains.co.uk
If wild camping on the Wicklow Way seems a little too daunting, then Wicklow Way Camping might be a better solution. Situated on the fringe of the Wicklow National Park at Oldbridge, the site provides just 10 thoughtfully designed pitches that make the most of the surrounding scenery. You will find looped walks that start and finish from the campsite and a river nearby which is the perfect spot to cool off on a hot day. Additional facilities include a small outdoor area with a hob and electric kettle, fire pit, hot showers, toilets, wifi and electric outlets.
From €51 per night; wicklowwaycamping.com
This campsite in Rathdrum is like those from your childhood but with infinitely better facilities. Campervans, motorhomes and tents sit side by side with smart wooden huts and self-catering accommodation. But it’s the range of facilities that makes this destination a hit with families. The Avonmore river runs through the site, so you can fish or take out kayaks and bumper boats. There is also an impressive aqua park which offers kids (big and small) 30 obstacles to conquer. Riverside campfires, a children’s adventure fun park, combat laser tag, mini golf and cinema nights with beanbags complete the picture.
From €16 per night with an additional charge of €7 per adult and €5 per child; hiddenvalley.ie
Overlooking Wicklow’s famous Silver Strand, Wolohan’s offers the perfect launch pad for a back-to-basics beach holiday. Most of the 22-acre site is dedicated to mobile homes, however, there is a touring site for campervans and caravans, with most of the pitches offering stunning sea views. The site is relatively basic, but there are two toilet blocks, a dishwashing room and a fully equipped launderette. Dogs are allowed as long as they are kept on a lead (but note they are forbidden on Silver Strand). silverstrand.ie
This four-star caravan and camping site in Caherdaniel offers panoramic views across Kenmare Bay, along with direct access to a pristine, white sand beach below. With a south-facing aspect, your kids will play on the beach until the sun goes down in good weather. Mouth-watering pizzas are served from Pompeii food truck on site, and the park’s shop and deli have everything else you might need for the duration of your holiday. Derrynane Beach is just a few minutes away by car if you fancy a change of scene, and the Kerry Hills are also close by, offering an abundance of stunning walks.
From €27 per tent or €29 per campervan; wavecrestcamping.com
Bring your own campervan or tent, use a pre-pitched one, book into a bell tent furnished with a bed and stove, or head into the woods for some wild camping at this eco retreat in Querrin near Kilkee. A beautiful shingle beach, the perfect setting for a morning dip, is just 15 minutes away. There’s also a communal dome for escaping bad weather, a rustic sauna, a pizza oven, and yoga sessions most weekends. Solar showers, rainwater harvesting and discounts for cyclists add to the eco-friendly vibe.
From €14 per adult and €7 per child; purecamping.ie
A multi-award-winning ecological park and Ireland’s first eco-certified carbon-neutral premises. Nestled among the sand dunes on the shores of Connemara’s Wild Atlantic Way, this stunning campsite boasts breathtaking sea views from its secluded private sandy beach. Bring your own caravan or campervan, or pitch your own or a hired tent amid the machair grass sand dunes. Single-use water bottles and disposable barbecues are banned and you won’t find any games rooms here to entertain the kids. Instead, it’s all about mucking around on the secluded white sand beach, and fishing or cooking on a beach campfire. There is a free shuttle bus that runs between the campsite and Clifden.
From €18 for a tent, caravan or campervan pitch; clifdenecocamping.ie
Nod off to the sound of water lapping on the shore at Eagle Point, just outside Ballylicky on the Bantry Peninsula. With direct access to the water, the Ouvane and Coomhola river estuaries provide the perfect conditions if you are new to watersports. Those with a little more experience can hop in a kayak and explore the Eagle Point coastline, or even paddle over to Whiddy Island which is a nautical mile from the campsite. In addition to watersports and fishing on site, there is also a tennis court, basketball court, football pitch, playground and three TV rooms to keep everyone entertained.
From €33 for a tent, caravan or motorhome for two adults; eaglepointcamping.com
This glorious back-to-basics caravan and camping park is as close to the Atlantic as you can get. Offering 36 pitches for tents, campervans and caravans, the site has direct access to its own pristine white sand beach. You will also be treated to views of Clare Island, Inishturk, Achill, Mweelrea and Croagh Patrick, and dolphins can often be spotted cruising right in front of the site.
Facilities include hot showers, laundry, a campers’ kitchen with a fridge freezer and wifi. Clifden, which is 25 minutes away by car, is the closest town, but there are shops and restaurants within walking distance.
€26 for two people in a tent, caravan or campervan; renvylebeachcaravanpark.com
Voted the best three-star park in Ireland, Apple Farm is well worth a visit. Accommodating just 60 people from May to September, the camping and caravan park offers a haven of relaxation among its well-established orchard. There is a warm welcome from the moment you arrive here, when you are handed a bottle of their award-winning apple juice. Facilities on site include a campers’ kitchen with free wifi, a tennis court, playground, baby-changing facilities and hot showers.
Set among natural woodland, Sleepy Hollows is a small, adult-only campsite situated in Crolly. The owners, Ian Callaghan and Nicola McKinlay, go to great lengths not just to provide guests with a great place to rest their heads, but also to share their encyclopedic knowledge of the area to ensure a great time is had by all. The couple is proud to promote the use of cruelty-free and vegan products, and they provide recycling facilities, discouraging single-use plastic water bottles and request that guests adopt a Leave No Trace approach to their stay.
€25 for two people in a two-person tent; sleepyhollows.ie
Nestled between Dugort hill and Slievemore mountain, this picturesque park is situated in a sheltered and scenic part of Achill Island. Catering for caravans, campervans, tents and the rental of mobile homes, many of the pitches offer stunning sea views across Blacksod Bay. Outdoor lovers are well catered for on the mile-long Dugort Beach and the Western Greenway. A blueway kayak trail is also located directly on the beach, taking you from Dugort, past seal caves and bird colonies, to Golden Strand beach. Facilities include hot showers, a campers’ kitchen, laundry and free wifi.
From €20 for a tent, caravan or campervan with two adults; achillsealcaves.com
The Wicklow Way can be very busy in the summer months, but if you wait until spring or autumn, you’ll find it as secluded as ever. There are plenty of spots to wild camp along the route, but if it’s a blustery day, keep an eye out for the three Adirondack shelters at Mucklagh (Aughavannagh), Mullacor (Glenmalure) and Brusher’s Gap (Paddock hill). You must make sure that you adhere to the wild camping code when using the shelters. There are also a few lodges and pubs along the Wicklow Way that will happily let you pitch up in their gardens or fields. Always check with the landowner before setting up camp, and abide by the Leave No Trace principles. nationalparks.ie
Wake up with unrivalled views across Dingle Bay at Coomshanna. Offering a true wild camping experience, the site is nothing more than a patch of grass with a stream close by. You’ll find the site near the Gleensk viaduct, between Glenbeigh and Cahirsiveen, not that far from Kells Bay. No fires are permitted and the Leave No Trace rules strictly apply. Ideally, you’ll spend no more than one night here to minimise your impact, and you must dig a cathole for your toilet.
The Beara Way is often neglected in favour of the Ring of Kerry next door, but those looking for mind-blowing views and pristine beaches that are completely deserted, even in the height of summer, should add this one to the list. There are countless beautiful spots to pitch your tent along the 206km walking route that makes up the Beara Way, but the coastline offers the most scenic and secluded spots. You can even nip over to Bere Island on the ferry and spend the night there. bearatourism.com
Glenbarrow is one of the most scenic parts of Slieve Bloom, with its dramatic valley and waterfalls. This wild camping spot is situated just a short walk from the Slieve Blooms Way, about 400 metres downstream from the first bridge on the river Barrow. It offers a flat, sunny spot which is sheltered from the wind by a large stone wall, making it the ideal place to pitch a tent. There are four waymarked trails surrounding the site, the most strenuous of which is the 10km Eco Walk. Be sure not to miss the Clamp Hole Waterfall. coillte.ie
The Barrow towpath stretches from Lowtown in Co Kildare to St Mullins in Co Carlow, and is the perfect setting for walkers, cyclists and kayakers. You can pitch your tent next to one of the loughs, or alternatively head for the old quarry at Clashganny near Borris, which the local community have turned into a wild camping spot. Those interested in multi-day kayaking trips should check out Kilkenny-based company, Go With the Flow (gowiththeflow.ie), who can provide you with kayaks, camping equipment and a wealth of local knowledge. There is also a small campsite at St Mullins at the end of the towpath. Set right beside the water, the site is basic but has everything you need including a hot shower, toilets and outdoor seating area, all in a beautiful setting. discoverireland.ie
The Nephins are often described as the wildest place in Ireland. There is not a hint of civilisation as far as the eye can see, which has resulted in one of the top stargazing spots in the world. Located on the 24km Bangor Trail, the Lough Aroher Hut is an Adirondack shelter which has been built by volunteers, and is totally open on one side. The shelter sleeps up to five people on a sleeping platform, so a space is not guaranteed. nationalparks.ie
Stretching 5km northwards into the Atlantic off the Dingle Peninsula, the Maharees is a magical peninsula which separates Brandon Bay from Tralee Bay. The environment here, especially the sand dunes, is incredibly delicate so wild camping is completely banned. The bay is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) as well as a Special Protection Area (SPA). But, there is one locally grown solution in Bridge Field beside Trench Bridge in Castlegregory. For the princely sum of €10, which goes into an honesty box, you can park up your campervan or pitch a tent. The only service available is water and you will need to practice Leave No Trace. This location is a joy for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike as the Maharees also boasts stunning blue-flag beaches, as well as world-renowned windsurfing and surfing.
from www.irishtimes.com Source link