For October bank holiday and beyond.
The pandemic was an eyeopener for many Irish people in terms of the idyllic travel destinations right on our grassy, cliffside doorsteps, and the inspiration for holidaying closer to home isn't diminishing.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic treehouse with incredible city views, a private castle all to yourself or a bubble that allows you to sleep under the stars, we’ve got you covered with this list of unique staycation spots for every county in Ireland. Strap in, we’re going on an adventure.
First up is Antrim and this incredible artist’s studio with views of Lough Neagh. Beautiful stone features, your own patio and garden and surroundings that inspired the work of Irish artist Basil Blackshaw, you’ll be living your absolute best barn life with this one.
Bluebell Lane Glamping
Staying north for now with Armagh we have Bluebell Lane, a scenic glamping spot nestled at the foot of Slieve Gullion. There’s a choice of shepherd’s huts, safari tents and cottage accommodation, all more instagrammable than the next. Steeped in myth and legends, this picturesque spot has lots to discover and will have you feeling like Fionn MacCumhaill on the brink of the lake in no time.
Black Stairs Eco Trails
Guided hikes, foraging workshops and stargazing, Black Stairs has it all. Set up camp in one of the colourful shepherd’s huts and get straight to exploring with canoeing, a garden maze and forest trails all on site.
Cabu by the Lakes
The post-pandemic rise of staycationing thrust these lakeside log cabins in Cavan into the spotlight, and they remain a firm favourite for a weekend break in Ireland. With a similar facility in Kent in the UK, Cabu offers eco-conscious dwellings with forest views, outdoor hot tubs and woodland relaxation rooms. Crucially, it's dog friendly so no man gets left behind.
It was hard to narrow it down to just one spot in the banner county, but we’ve gone for this slick bungalow with panoramic views of Liscannor Bay. Located on a quiet country lane but still just five minutes’ drive from lively Lahinch, this place has the best of both worlds. You might also recognise it as one of the locations from RTÉ’s Smother.
If you’re spending the night in a secluded treehouse, you’re probably thinking you’ll be pretty far from the closest city right? You obviously haven’t heard of this gem nestled high in the leafy tree tops that’s just a five minute walk (albeit up a fairly steep hill) from Cork City. The outdoor deck is a serious spot to sit back and take in the views from, and you can even get a breakfast basket delivered up via pulley system from the ground.
The Oat Box
This immaculately decorated tiny house inside a converted horsebox (not just for cafes) has become a go-to spot for romantic getaways and even a proposal or two! It’s easy to see why, it’s absolutely stunning and also ideally located as a base for exploring the scenic north coast of Ireland. Possibly one of the most beautifully decorated spots on the list, you can really tell how much love and care has gone into the Oat Box.
Frame cabin on its own island, anyone? These beautiful lodges are located on the grounds of a 180 year old farm house on Inch Island, a wildlife sanctuary nestled between Derry city and the town of Buncrana. The island also has a private pub, covered outdoor fire pit and veg garden.
Quarry Hill Church
Awarded ‘Best Rescue of an Historic Building' in the prestigious Heritage Angel Awards 2019, this converted church is really something special. Lovingly restored by local villagers Marty and Melanie, the church has a great feel of its former working life while also having all the modern comforts you could need. The award-winning, baby blue conversion has five bedrooms and sleeps ten, making it ideal for a group trip away.
Converted stable with its own swimming pool
When the restrictions changed to allow travel within your own county back in the depths of the pandemic, every Dubliner probably looked up this amazing stable near Phoenix Park with its own swimming pool. Ideally located in the middle of the city but still maintaining an idyllic country feel, this is a seriously boujie base for a bit of exploring.
Finn Lough Bubble Domes
You’ve probably come across these before, but we couldn’t not include these incredible pods tucked away in their own private forest on the list. These transparent domes allow for 180 degree views of the stars and surrounding nature from a comfy four-poster bed. With spa facilities, bike hire and a jetty to jump into the lake, your trip can be as leisurely or action-filled as you fancy.
Wild Atlantic Bus
Ideally located on the shores of the Corrib, the Wild Atlantic Bus the dream base for those looking to explore Connemara. The bus sits on an elevated site with amazing views of the lake and its own garden with a fire pit and private outdoor shower (complete with audience of cattle). The décor inside is also stunning with a wood burning stove and comfy double bed up the front upstairs, which is always the best spot!
Boat House on Valentia Island
This 250 year old natural stone building is located right on the beach and has incredible views of the sea, Valentia Island lighthouse and Beginish Island. It’s also got a sauna for heating up after your morning sea swim, a fairy village and private walk along the rugged coast. Not too shabby.
Glamping at Martinstown House
Goa to Sleep is a private glamping village with ten deluxe bell tents, located on the gorgeous grounds of Martinstown House. There are woods to explore, lots of friendly farm animals and even an open-air bar (The Sipping Container, iconic name).
Connect with your inner monarch in this 600 year old castle, which you’ll have all to yourself. Original features like the amazing stone walls have all been maintained, but you also have all the comforts of modern life like a gorge rain forest shower and superking four poster beds. Go off, queen.
Glamping Under the Stars
Glamping Under the Stars is an award-winning, family-run glampsite with a choice of wood lodge or luxury bell tent accommodation dotted around a cosy campfire. Surrounded by great activity spots like the Rock of Dunamase and the Slieve Bloom Mountains, it’s the perfect base for those looking to discover Ireland’s Ancient East.
Pink Apple Orchard
Yurts, hobbit houses and bow topped wagons, there’s something for everyone looking for a unique stay at Pink Apple Orchard. Head out and explore Lough Allen with canoes provided, or just sit back in the peaceful garden watching the birds and butterflies do their thing. If you’re hungry you can build your own pizza (ingredients provided) and cook it in the outdoor wood-fired oven. The dream, really.
Kerrygold Dairy Farm
As established in multiple ad campaigns, the people of Ireland love Kerrygold. And now you can stay on the farm where it’s made! This lodge is ideal for animal lovers with hens, ducks, pigs, dogs and cats all around, and you can even take a tour of the farm to see the cows being milked.
Nanny Murphy’s Cottage
This dotey thatched cottage will transport you straight back to old Ireland thanks to the extensive historical knowledge of owner Michael. He’ll even give you a tour and tell you the history behind all the bits and bobs in this cosy home. You’ll be torn between between a desire to travel back in time and an overwhelming urge to take 100 snaps for insta.
Loughamore Court Beach House
The location of this converted container is hard to beat, perched right on the beach with floor to ceilings all around the living space – it’s like a little bit of Malibu just outside Dundalk. Plonk yourself out on the decking to listen to the waves, like a HBO character having a pensive moment of self reflection during their Hamptons trip (there's always a Hamptons trip).
Make like Kim K and take your closest inner circle to a private island where you can pretend things are normal just for a brief moment in time. You and 22 mates can rent this entire island in beautiful Clew Bay, a 10 minute ferry ride from Westport. There’s a private BYO bar, sauna, hot tub and kayaking/SUP facilities.
Crookedwoodfarm is a beautiful converted stable set in the heart of Boyne Valley. Suitable for couples and families with kids, inside is a bright open studio with instruments and books to keep you entertained, and outside are donkeys, pigs, pups and loads of other farm animals. Some good, wholesome fun with loads to discover nearby.
River Fane Retreat
This private, wood-clad haven is set amidst the babble and flow of the River Fane, and is like your own private wellness retreat with a plunge pool, hot tub and sauna all surrounded by unspoiled nature. Those who've stayed will tell you the impressive snaps and videos shared online don't do this spot justice, and it's ideal if you're worried you'll be bored on a couples retreat - no shortage of activities to plunge in and out of.
Set up camp in the Lodge or Jack Wrights Cottage and familiarise yourself with the herd of friendly alpacas who live on this dreamy farm. Set at the foothills of Slieve Bloom you’ll have your choice of activities, from basket weaving and felting to befriending some beautiful animals.
Set on the banks of the River Lung, Willowbrook Glamping wins the prize for best yurt names in Ireland – will you go for Yurty and the Tramp, Yurt Cobain or the boujie Yurty Ahern with its own outdoor hot tub? A gorge spot with fishing, an art gallery and wellness therapies all on site.
Temple House Estate
Feel your Downton Abbey fantasy with this 7 bedroom mansion set on a 1,000 acre estate. Go boating on the lake, explore native woodland or curl up with a book in your four poster bed. Book the whole house to yourself for a hen party, big birthday or just a Tuesday if you're feeling fancy.
Airbnb in a Pub
You won't find any staycation spot like this converted "pub with no beer" in North Tipp. This old Irish pub has a fully functioning kitchen behind the bar, cute living area in the pub itself and comfy bedrooms in the old barrel store. There's also a fairy garden to explore and loads of workshops for younger visitors.
Loughmacroy Shepherd's Hut
This dotey hut is located at the foot of the Sperrin Mountains with panoramic views of lakes and countryside. Loads of walks nearby with wildlife and wilderness to discover. A great one for anyone looking to get back to nature but also to be warm, cosy and sheltered.
This beach-front barn conversion has featured on the cover of Ireland's Home & Living Interiors Magazine and offers whale watching, unbelievable views and a rain forest shower that opens right onto the beach. She's a little bit stunning and there's even an office nook with broadband for those who can't completely disconnect.
Converted stone barn
If you're looking to explore the midlands this tranquil stone cabin on a working sheep farm surrounded by lakelands and attractions could be just the ticket. The home has two bedrooms and sleeps four, with wellies on request for anyone interested in exploring the farm!
Medieval Ring Fort
Now this one is a serious step back in time, to the 8th century approx. If you ever thought to yourself during primary school history, "I could TOTALLY be a viking", now's your chance! Dress up in the authentic costumes provided and spend a night or two in one of these authentic huts made with wattle walls and a thatched roof. Cook over an open outdoor fire, visit the lake and most importantly, take a million pictures. It's also set on the grounds of the Irish National Heritage Park which you can explore at leisure during your stay.
Wicklow Head Lighthouse
I like to think this is the lighthouse Ferdia took Nell to in Marian Keyes's Grown Ups (if you know, you know). Climb the casual 109 steps and find yourself surrounded by views of the Irish Sea and countryside. Inside, the hexagonal rooms are beautifully decorated and you'll have everything you need. You can bring your pet along for the adventure too.
Aaaand we're done! Believe it or not, these places are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unique stays in Ireland, but sure we had to start somewhere. Get planning, and let us know which spot is top of your list for this summer!
Header image via irishlandmark.com / hostunusual.com