Honestly, I love nature. The trees, the beaches, the butterflies. Some teeny things bug me about nature however… such as the bugs. And the risk of sunburn/rain/wind chill (all in one day – this is Ireland after all).
Nature would be perfect, I think, if you could just put a roof on it. Now you can.
Glamping, the holy alliance of glamour, camping and pampering, has saved the [holi]day. These ingenious eco-dwellings offer the surround sound of nature with the luxury standard. Forget Airbnb, this is the most exciting off-beat accommodation euros can buy. Here are some of the best.
Chléire Haven, County Cork
Cape Clear is the most southerly inhabited land in Ireland. It’s 3 by 1 miles wide but packed with interesting sights including a Napoleonic signaling tower, 5000 year-old passage grave, a 14th century castle and historic lighthouse. The island has less than 200 residents, so accommodation options (and many other facilities) are limited. Many visitors are day-trippers but if you want to wake up on the island, which we highly recommend, Chléire Haven is the place to do it.
The belltents and yurts offer cosy tranquillity without sacrificing the in-nature experience. Luxury yurts include beanbags, real beds, scatter cushions around a log-burning stove. On clear nights you can star-gaze through the hole at the centre. The tipi-inspired belltents offer sturdy camping and make for an environmentally friendly holiday. The cliff-teetering setting offers edge-of-the-world views. It’s probably the closest to the Lord of the Rings set you’ll get in this hemisphere.
Teapot Lane, County Leitrim
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to walk up anywhere that calls itself Teapot Lane.
Lucky, then, that at the end of this lane are button-cute yurts; hand-crafted with king-size beds, wood-burning stoves, rugs and lanterns. Now that’s what I call a tent.
Oh yes, the nature part: five acres of woodland in the shadow of epic Ben Bulben mountain. There’s a fairy fort in the garden, an organic farm on the doorstep, and sandy beaches a walk away. Ask for the marshmallow and chocolate skewers for a romantic weekend, or book out the whole space on a hen party.
Dromquinna Manor, County Kerry
“Welcome to something completely different” promises the Dromquinna Manor website. They’re right to be confident, with tents specially designed by safari tent experts in India that put the rolling ‘r’ in luxury. Double skin roofs mean you won’t even hear the rain. Each tent has a private veranda and deck, but are designed so you don’t actually have to get out of bed to take in the bay views. In the morning, a hamper with freshly brewed tea or coffee, yogurt, croissants and juice is delivered to your door.
Boutique camping, Westmeath
Importing yurts from Mongolia reveals a person as pretty serious about their yurts. And these Mount Druid guys are. Roomy but cosy, lantern-lit but eco-friendly, this accommodation truly ticks the ‘luxurious camping ‘ box.
They have the surroundings to back up their nature claim; there’s a walled garden, lake and boat house, even a crannog to smother you in mother-naturely love. Originally hosting small boutique festivals, Mount Druid have since pivoted to ‘alternative wedding venue‘ and the bookings are coming faster than you can say ‘humanist love knot ceremony’.
A version of this article first appeared on the Discover Ireland blog