3 weeks ago

Staycation Havens and Hideaways

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Having been cocooned and confined for so long, many of us are more concerned about limiting the amount of interaction with others, so it’s only natural that we want a holiday which offers safety and seclusion. From luxurious exclusive-use rentals to off the beaten track lighthouses, and from new city retreats to cosy country houses, whatever your travel style, all of these properties allow you time and space to reconnect with yourself and appreciate the natural beauty on our own doorstep. I was reminded of Max Ehrmann’s inspirational Desiderata “Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence …” when selecting these glossy getaways …

Clare Island Lighthouse, Co Mayo

I can’t think of a better place for a more mindful holiday than this 200-year-old lighthouse, situated on Clare Island (120 metres above sea level) in Clew Bay, Co Mayo. As an “unplugged” retreat – there is Wifi but no TV – the setting offers endless scope for walking, swimming, hiking, cycling and birdwatching. Alternatively curl up beside a turf fire and catch up on some reading, or writing. Have you finished your pandemic novel yet? This is the place to write a first draft. Inside the completely restored listed building, the decor is understated but very comfortable with five bedrooms, a drawing room, library and kitchen.  In keeping with the overall ethos the food served is wholesome, locally-sourced and complemented by a good international wine list. A two-night stay starts from €500 per person sharing; www.clareislandlighthouse.com

Carrig Country House & Lakeside Restaurant, Killorgin, Co Kerry

On the shores of Caragh Lake, Ring of Kerry, Carrig Country House & Restaurant offers an escape from it all amid beautiful scenery. Do book a room with a lake view – many of the bedrooms have a seating area and decking perfect for taking in the panorama. This is the place to be as lazy or active as you like –  stroll the gardens of this Victorian Manor which boasts over 978 different species of plants – or take in the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks district, hiking, biking, horse riding and touring the attractions of the Dingle Peninsula. Bed and breakfast starts from €75 per person sharing; www.carrighouse.com.

Trinity Townhouse, South Frederick Street, Dublin 2

Trinity Townhouse is a new 31-bedroom boutique hotel enjoying an enviable location, set within three listed Georgian buildings, yet completely isolated from Dublin’s hustle and bustle. The pretty hotel exudes an easy, welcoming charm (bearing all the hallmarks of its sister property, Sheen Falls Lodge in Kenmare, Co Kerry), enhanced by the specially commissioned artworks by Irish artist Christine Bowen. The bedrooms are styled according to size and position in the house with original fireplaces, dado rails, ceiling roses, architraves on windows, and other carefully preserved architectural details. Two colour palettes prevail – sunny golden tones and lavender hues – complemented with natural fabrics and textures for comfort, while tea and Nespresso coffee making machines, smart TVs and air conditioning are just some of the many amenities available. The townhouse is also home to the acclaimed new restaurant Allta, operated by chef Niall Davidson – and guests can enjoy a continental breakfast box delivered to their room each morning. Rooms are graded from Cosy to Superior King and prices start €120 including bed and breakfast in low season and from €180 in high season.Guests can park their car next door in the Setanta Carpark with discounted rates available. As a tranquil haven in the city, this will no doubt become a firm favourite with discerning travellers; www.trinitytownhousehotel.com.

Shelburne Lodge, Kenmare, Co Kerry

Tom and Maura Foley have been welcoming guests to their multi-award winning Georgian country house since the mid-1990s. As a base to explore Kenmore, which is a five minute walk from the guest house, Shelburne Lodge offers comfort and elegance with the decor defined by contemporary Irish art, antiques, individually appointed en suite rooms with restored polished wooden floors and garden views. Breakfast is a particular highlight cooked by Maura. As the creator and cook of restaurants in Kenmare town; The Purple Heather (now managed by Maura’s sister Grainne), The Lime Tree and Packie’s (soon to be a new food venture), Maura has been a pioneer of fresh local quality produce since the early 1960s. Opening to guests on July 22, rates from €130- €150 per room per night including breakfast; www.shelburnelodge.com.

Glin Castle, Co Limerick

Glin Castle was recently featured in The GLOSS Interiors (have you bought your copy on the newsstands?) and is perfectly perched along the Wild Atlantic Way with a fascinating history of colourful characters stretching back to the 9th century. From Edmund, Knight of Glin, whose son was taken hostage and tied to the mouth of a cannon during the famous Siege of Glin in 1601, to the much-loved 25th “Knight of the Women”, who installed mistresses in each of the Gothic lodges; to “Cracked Jack” the 26th knight, who used to ride his horse up the flying staircase to bed. The Castle can be rented via luxury travel specialists Adams & Butler. It offers15 en suite bedrooms, a grand hall, dining room, library, elegant drawing room, and cosy sitting room, all with open fires. As the perfect option for big families (or for weddings) a medieval banquet can also be arranged which is always a hit with guests. As for the surrounding area, for golf fanatics the castle has an amazing golf course near the grounds, while day trips to Dingle, Killarney and Cliffs of Moher are must-dos; www.adamsandbutler.com.

Currarevagh House, Oughterard, Co Galway

Currarevagh is situated on the shores of Lough Corrib in 150 acres of private woodland estate, now a European Special Area of Conservation. It is run as a private country house rather than a hotel, having been built by the present owner’s ancestors in 1842. As such it is full of character – the magical grounds take centre stage as does the exceptional food, cooked by co-owner Lucy with flair, originality and passion. The menus change daily and there’s also Afternoon Tea on offer. Lucy also packs picnics for guests who can take them out on Currarevagh House’s own boats or as a packed lunch while exploring the abundant wildlife and walks on offer. Bed and breakfast rates start from €150 per person sharing; www.currarevagh.com.

Hotel Westport, Co Mayo

Hotel Westport is a peaceful haven set on the idyllic surrounds of Westport House, the picturesque 400-acre estate set in the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way and overlooked by Ireland’s most famous mountain, Croagh Patrick. Adventure lovers, zen seekers and fun-loving families will all find something to enjoy at this west coast wonder. For example, the hotel’s Family Bush Camp, is a unique outdoor experience which allows families to reconnect with nature through fun crafting and survival activities, while maintaining social distance from other guests. Packages start at €79 per person for bed and breakfast; www.hotelwestport.ie.

The Mustard Seed, Ballingarry, Co Limerick

Sitting on twelve acres of manicured lawns, surrounded by an orchard and a working kitchen garden, The Mustard Seed is an eclectic hideaway, the perfect venue for romantic escapes, special occasions and intimate weddings. Overlooking the village of Ballingarry on the doorstep to Adare, it’s a great base for getting to know the south west better. As for the hospitality – expect a warm welcome and superb food. The restaurant is legendary. Bed and breakfast starts from €70 per person sharing; www.mustardseed.ie.

Blessingbourne Estate, Co Tyrone

The award-winning Blessingbourne Estate offers pet friendly self-catering accommodation, ideal for a whole family getaway, and is situated on a beautiful historic 550-acre country estate, nestled in the heart of woodlands, lakes and wildlife on the edge of the Clogher Valley and within walking distance of Fivemiletown village. Offering a range of accommodation options from one to two bedrooms, top pick is the five-star Gate Lodge which features artwork by Irish artists Marina Hamilton and Barbara Ellison. Available until the autumn, bookings are filling up fast: www.blessingbourne.com.

The Manor House, Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Wicklow 

The 18th-century Manor House at Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort is now available for exclusive hire. With its classic Georgian design, the house has been completely restored to bring it back to its former glory and includes seven luxurious bedrooms. On the ground floor there are two elegant reception rooms, a library and a dining room, which offer relaxed spaces for families and friends to gather. The dining room can seat 14 people for dinner while the various drawing rooms are comfortable spots to enjoy a quiet read, after-dinner drinks, watching a film, or for playing board games. The exclusive hire of the Manor House includes bed and breakfast, private dining in the drawing room, a half a bottle of wine per person and a prosecco reception on arrival. Breakfast is also served in the drawing room so that guests staying at the Manor House do not need to go to the main hotel during their stay, if they so wish. Little touches such as milk and cookies at turndown service, and arts and craft materials for children help make special memories. The exclusive hire is €3,010 per night; www.tulfarris.com.

Crichton Castle, Co Fermanagh

Set in rolling parkland amid the wooded islands of Upper Lough Erne, Crichton Castle has been the historic seat of the Earls of Erne for over 350 years, and enjoys an unrivalled location in the heart of Ireland’s Lake District. The West Wing is available to rent all year round on a weekly or long weekend basis for groups of up to twelve people. With its own entrance and terrace, the West Wing offers privacy and, with superb views of the beautiful landscape from every window, is an ideal retreat, especially for those who are interested in conservation (especially fishing, butterfly spotting and bird watching). Impeccably decorated in warm and inviting colours and period style, the elegant Drawing Room catches the evening sun and opens onto the terrace with access to the lake beyond. The Dining Room is situated in the castle’s former Billiard Room. A stay can be on a self-catering basis, or a chef can be provided; www.adamsandbutler.com.

The Hardiman, Galway City

With amazing views on Eyre Square or towards Galway Bay,  the iconic Galway hotel, is reopening from July 17  with a special package for the over 65s. Offering a retreat away from home, as soon as guests arrive they are welcomed by a valet parking service followed by complimentary tea and scones. Then it’s onto the designated bedroom floor which is on the second floor. There’s also an over 65’s only dining area in the hotel, and of course, room service is also available. Rates for a mid-week offer for two nights bed and breakfast with dinner on each evening from July to September costs €198 per person sharing. As plans and life can change, there is a flexible cancellation policy too. Bookings are from July 20. www.thehardiman.ie

The Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel and Lodges, Co Fermanagh

This is the perfect base to explore Fermanagh Lakelands, with stunning views overlooking scenic Lough Erne. There is a choice of accommodation – the  Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel offers 71 spacious rooms including interconnecting family rooms, or for those preferring the freedom of a self-catering break why not stay in one the hotel’s self-catering Lakeside Lodges. For families, there is a new on-site Play Park, while the hotel also has an indoor swimming pool opening on August  7. In the meantime, Kalm Spa is opening on July 17 with plenty of Elemis treatments for some pampering. www.killyhevlin.com

Stauntons on the Green, Dublin 2

The best of both worlds unites at Stauntons on the Green – a central location with views of both Iveagh Gardens and St Stephen’s Green – and a cosy sanctuary. Character permeates every inch of the townhouse which has been called home by some of Ireland’s most famous movers and shakers for the last 250 years. As the base for culture vultures, this provides value for money and free admission for guests to MoLi, (Museum of Literature Ireland), which will reopen on July 20. Stauntons on the Green is currently offering a three-night stay for the price of two, from €232 per stay including glass of prosecco on arrival; www.stauntonsonthegreen.ie.

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