Six months in the waiting and a series of stop and starts over the last 18 months, we know hospitality has been hit hard. But thankfully, it is a celebratory time as the industry fully reopens to the public as of June 2nd with a bated sigh of relief from all concerned.
And, although we may have had one of the wettest May's in recent years and may wish to be basking in the continuous summer rays that our continental sisters offer, 2021 is another summer to stay home. Not just because we are not allowed to travel further afield as of yet, but because we should, to support our industry and ensure we still have one to escape to in coming months and years.
Let’s also not forget, Ireland is one of the most sought-after countries to visit among international travelers and if it were not for the unpredictability of the weather, we would never leave. But we have lived an outdoor life for over 18 months, we have not only acclimatised but grown to love it - come rain or shine. So, this summer, let’s embrace it once again and soak up everything it has to offer.
This list features 10 staycation types to suit all tastes, from family getaways to romantic interludes and adventure seekers looking for a unique experience.
Imagine being the captain of your own boat, well the Catherina Dutch sailing barge on the banks of Lough Atalia in Galway Bay allows you to be just that. This historical barge has been tastefully redecorated to the highest standards offering guests the unique opportunity to sleep on the water in the most luxurious of surroundings. Featuring a large kitchen, stylish open living room with underfloor heating, a bar, stove and giant TV, this is a unique space made for Instagram.
For more information: www.airbnb.ie
The Bridgerton Effect
The minute you step inside of Tankardstown House you immediately feel like you have been transported onto the set of Bridgerton as its 18th Century Manor House & Orangery are breathtakingly beautiful with authentic historic charm.
Situated on the outskirts of Slane in the heart of the Boyne Valley, Co. Meath, the estate has been lovingly redecorated over the years to provide all mod cons you would expect in a five star establishment, but the real heart of this venue is its attention to detail - sumptuous materials, features and wallpapers that respect its authentic heritage.
The house itself comprises of a selection of rooms and suites or choose from one of their quant courtyard cottages that cater for larger parties complete with walled gardens and hot tub. This summer they are also launching a brand new selection of tasting menus in their award winning Brabazon Restaurant. Diners will have the choice of a ten or seven-course tasting menu, based seasonal and local produce.
For more information: www.tankardstown.ie
The Kids Are Alright
There is no doubt about it, entertaining the kids during your staycation is a job in itself, which is why it is so important to make sure they have enough activities to keep them happy, but without sacrificing your joy either. Let’s not forget it is your holiday too! Hodson Bay, situated on the shores of Lough Ree, Athlone has this firmly in mind with enough activities both on site and locally to keep both kids and adults laughing and having fun.
If your children are the right age, they can join their Kids Adventure Club that hosts a selection of activities such as treasure hunts, cooking, music and dance, and most importantly, they also offer a babysitting service at night so you can have a romantic dinner to yourselves. One of the real highlights of the hotel is the Lough which is home to one of the biggest draws from a child’s perspective (maybe adult’s too), a giant outdoor inflatable water park with the world’s largest inflatable slide.
Alternatively, stay on water and opt for their choice of kayaking, stand up paddle boats, pedal boats or Chinese dragon boats. The activities don’t stop there as the Hotel is primely placed to explore the Old Rail Trail Greenway by bike or take sail on a Viking boat that sails from Hodson Bay to Clonmacnoise and the centre of Athlone town.
For more information: www.hodsonbayhotel.com
I’m Camping, but I’m Not Really Camping!
Set on the grounds of Tinakilly House, Knockrobin Glamping is a new luxury camping site that features ten bell tents complete with king sized beds (extra single beds available upon request), private bathrooms and verandas to soak up the stunning surrounding sea and bay views.
Mod cons you can enjoy as standard include USB plugs, hairdryers and the very appreciated added bonus of having an on-site restaurant, and fresh linen and towels. This new glamping site is the perfect choice for novice campers looking to try outdoor sleeping but without the full camping experience.
For more information: www.knockrobinglamping.com
What better way to listen to the sound of summer rain (hopefully not too much) then from the comfort of your intimate and cosy unique surroundings with indoor fireplace and fully equipped amenities. Kiltanon Stables in Tulla, Co. Clare has luxuriously converted three Victorian stable on the grounds of Kiltanon House to give guests the most romantic and bespoke experience.
Original features of bricks walls and wooden beams are complemented by sumptuous warm interiors making this an ideal romantic escape for couples looking to retreat from the outside world and lap all this beautiful cottage and neighouring scenic hotspots such as the Cliffs of Moher and the Wild Atlantic Way have to offer. That is if you choose to leave at all, of course.
For more information: www.airbnb.com
There is no doubt, thanks to COVID19, we have a newfound love for nature and we have rediscovered just how beautiful our country really is. However, for most of the year we have not been able to wander beyond our 5km radius so the lust to explore further afield has reached fever pitch. If you are looking to continue with your love affair with nature, then this traditional thatch Irish cottage based overlooking Traighenna Bay in Donegal is made for you.
This contemporary yet rustic cottage sleeps four with an open fire to huddle down to in the cooler evenings after a day exploring their many beaches and open wildernesses. This is a perfect place for families and friends to take advantage of all that nature offers, enjoy the traditional music of nearby village bars or simply put on Netflix and chillax.
For more information: www.underthethatch.co.uk/gatehouse
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For sports enthusiasts what better way to unwind after a morning of surfing in the neighbouring Lahinch than a session of restorative yoga? The Cliffs of Moher Retreat is renowned as one of the best luxury yoga retreats in Ireland.
Set on the captivating backdrop of the Cliffs of Moher, it focuses on deep healing and reconnecting the body and mind through a series of guided workshops led by expert teachers. Its geographical location is primed for anyone who is looking to find the perfect balance of sea and land through a series of mind and body activities.
For more information: www.cliffsofmoherretreat.com
For budding amateur chefs with one eye on MasterChef, make your staycation one that combines cooking and hospitality in Kevin Dundun’s Dunbrody House. Choose from their Cookery School B&B that runs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights only or simply lap up the best of Irish cookery and indulge yourself in with their "Live Like a Lord and Lady’ package that offers guests two nights in a luxury room or suite, champagne afternoon tea on the day of your choice and dinner in their award winning restaurant, The Harvest Room.
For more information: www.irelands-blue-book.ie
All the Trimmings
For anyone who is looking to have the most luxurious of escapes, you can’t do much better than Sheen Falls in Kenmare, Co. Kerry. It uniquely offers the atmosphere and the attention-to-detail that you expect from a boutique hotel, with the very best of interior design that focuses on Irish artisans, making its five-star status all the more worthy.
The surrounding scenery and waterfall outside offers the perfect oasis of tranquility, but for anyone looking to take advantage of their activities they offer clay pigeon shooting, horse riding, bicycle hire, kayaking and falconry. This is Irish hospitality at it’s very best.
For more information: www.sheenfallslodge.ie
For all those special birthdays that couldn’t be celebrated during lockdown with your nearest and dearest, the Queenie’s Lodge is the ideal location to splash out and reunite in the most stunning of settings. Located 20kms from Kilkenny city in the picturesque village of Windgap lies the stunningly converted 19th century barn.
It features three bedrooms, one en suite, a large open plan kitchen styled with granite worktops and wood burning stove, original stone walls and handmade wood carve interiors produced by local artisans. For additional brownie points, it comes with a games room and outdoor patio and pizza oven, making this the ideal destination for sharing some private and special overdue celebrations.
For more information: www.airbnb.ie
These venues are available at time of writing but may be snapped up fast! Please contact the venues for more information and keep an eye on gov.ie for any COVID guideline updates.