Glamp­ing: from sky domes to sea yurts

Places to try when you want to stay some­where com­pletely dif­fer­ent . . . but with all the com­forts of home, writes Joan Scales

The Irish Times Magazine - - IN­SIDE -

From sky domes to sea yurts: places to try when you want to stay some­where com­pletely dif­fer­ent

The re­cent good weather has us giddy for the out­doors. But not so giddy that we want to aban­don our home com­forts. Glamp­ing – or “glam­orous camp­ing” – con­tin­ues to climb in pop­u­lar­ity, with a choice of te­pees, tree houses, air­craft, buses, gypsy car­a­vans, sheds, London taxis and more. We take a whis­tle- stop tour of the coun­try to check out what’s avail­able.

Wood­lands and walled gar­dens

Set in the rolling east Cork coun­try­side and sur­rounded by 80 acres of gar­dens and farm­land dot­ted with cows and rare- breed pigs, Bal­lyvolane House offers fully- catered glamp­ing, with the main house of­fer­ing din­ner and break­fast op­tions. Peace­ful and invit­ing, you can ram­ble through the wood­lands and beau­ti­ful walled gar­dens. You can help to feed the pigs and col­lect the eggs for break­fast ev­ery morn­ing, and try the lo­cally dis­tilled Bertha’s Re­venge gin. Prices from ¤ 150 per tent per night ( for four peo­ple). Break­fast in the hotel in­cluded. bal­lyvolane­

An­cient for­est

The newly opened glamp­ing site at the Pow­er­scourt Es­tate in Co Wick­low is in the mid­dle of an an­cient for­est. Sa­fari tents are well spaced, with some sleep­ing up to eight peo­ple. They in­clude ac­cess to a pri­vate decked out­door bar­be­cue area and equipped kitchen, plus a pri­vate tented bath­room with in­ter­nal cast- iron stoves. Chil­dren will love the out­door cinema, or there’s Lego for rainy days. Min­i­mum two- night stay in peak sea­son when prices start at ¤ 165pp shar­ing.

Sleep in an air­craft

The own­ers of Quirky Nights caused quite a stir last year when they floated a Boeing 767 jet by boat along the Ir­ish coast­line from Shan­non Air­port to the glamp­ing site in En­nis­crone, Co Mayo. The air­craft will house eight ac­com­mo­da­tion units when it opens later this sum­mer. In the mean­time, Quirky Nights also has a Hob­bit Vil­lage, a London dou­ble- decker bus, London taxis and a train car­riage, where four peo­ple can stay for ¤ 120 per night. quirkyglamp­

Wick­low Moun­tain views

Set on a rolling Wick­low farm in Ti­nakilly, the Old Forge has spec­tac­u­lar view of the Wick­low Moun­tains. You can stay in yurts or bell tents and you can even bring your horses on hol­i­days here. Prices are ¤ 120-¤ 200 per night for four. the­old­forgeglamp­

Yoga and kayak­ing

Pure­camp­ing, which sits on the Wild At­lantic Way on the Loop Head Penin­sula, offers stan­dard camp­ing, along with bell tents and eco wooden cab­ins. With a fo­cus on un­wind­ing from daily life, the site has yoga classes, a pizza oven and events through the sum­mer. There’s lots for the fam­ily to do like kayak­ing, hik­ing and roar­ing camp­fires. Overnights from ¤ 120 for four, in­clud­ing bed­ding and fire­wood. pure­camp­

Wooden pods

East Coast Ad­ven­ture, in Co Down has wooden pods that are great value at just £ 20/¤ 24 per night and sleep up to four. Plus, it’s open all year round for the hardi­est glam­pers. Ex­plore Game of Thrones coun­try in the Mourne Moun­tains, or take a visit to Ballintoy Har­bour, the set­ting for fa­mous scenes from the TV show. east­coas­tad­ven­

Lux­ury tents

The lux­ury Hide­away at Dromquinna Manor just out­side Ken­mare, Co Kerry is as close to sleep­ing in­doors as you can get in a tent. On the banks of the Ken­mare River, a sa­fari tent sits in a pri­vate wood­land set­ting with lux­ury bed, high an­tique fur­nish­ings, qual­ity linens and en suite fa­cil­i­ties. Break­fast is de­liv­ered to you each morn­ing. For din­ner, you can cook un­der the stars or visit the on site Boathouse Res­tau­rant. Prices are ¤ 350 per night for two. Or take one of the equally lux­u­ri­ous tents in the main camp­site from ¤ 150 for two. dromquin­na­

For star- gaz­ers

If look­ing at the stars is your idea of heaven, then check out the bub­ble domes at Finn Lough, Fer­managh. These are the only domes of their kind in Ire­land or the UK, and are lo­cated in the for­est and well spaced out for pri­vacy. Each dome has a en suite bath­room and four- poster bed, from £ 195/¤ 240.

Sea­side yurts

The sounds of the sea will lull you to sleep in your com­fort­able yurt on Cape Clear Is­land. Stay be­tween June and the first week

of Septem­ber and spend your days swim­ming, fish­ing, walk­ing and just re­lax­ing. Prices from ¤ 90 per night for four shar­ing. yurt- hol­i­days- ire­land. com

Zorb­ing and zi­plin­ing

Todds Leap, in the Clogher Val­ley near Lough Neagh, Co Down is the ideal place for glamp­ing groups who want to work off some ex­tra en­ergy. Ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude a boot- camp, zi­pline, off- road driving, JCB driving, blind driving, zorb­ing, wall climb­ing and lots more. Ac­com­mo­da­tion is in col- our­ful snooze boxes or log cab­ins, from £ 38/¤ 42pp, with ac­tiv­i­ties ex­tra as cho­sen. toddsleap. com

Vintage car­a­van

The cutely named Teapot Lane in Taw­ley, Co Leitrim has a vintage car­a­van, yurts, a tra­di­tional coun­try cot­tage and a tree house for visi­tors to stay in. From ¤ 120 per night for two peo­ple. It also hosts events and hen par­ties from ¤ 229 per per­son for a week­end, in­clud­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. glampin­gire­land. ie

Ro­man­tic tents

Kil­lar­ney Glamp­ing, at the Grove on the out­skirts of the town, is only for cou­ples, so the em­pha­sis is on ro­mance. The Bell tents have lux­u­ri­ous beds and bed­ding. The A- frame tents are light and spa­cious, with prices from ¤ 308 for two peo­ple for two nights. kil­lar­neyglamp­ing. com

Eco- friendly camp­site

The beau­ti­ful Inch beach in Co Kerry is a big favourite and the Inch Hide­away is just min­utes away. The eco- friendly camp­site is per­fect for en­joy­ing the great out­doors. The yurts here have their own pri­vate space and the largest can ac­com­mo­date up to six peo­ple. En­joy the walks and out­door ac­tiv­i­ties on of­fer or cosy up by the camp­fire be­neath the stars, ¤ 75 per night for two. yurte­co­camp­ing. ie

Out­door hot tubs

Whether you’re a sin­gle trav­eller, a group or a fam­ily, Rock Farm in Slane has lots of sleep­ing op­tions in its ecov­il­lage. One thing is for sure, you cer­tainly won’t be bored as there are plenty of ac­tiv­i­ties in the lo­cal area – from kayak­ing and raft­ing to “recre­ational tree climb­ing”. They host food fes­ti­vals dur­ing the year, as well as wed­dings and events, so there’s al­ways an ex­cuse to visit! Don’t miss the out­door hot tubs. Prices from ¤ 397 for four peo­ple for two nights. rock­farm­slane. ie

Sea­side pods

If you re­ally want to get away from it all, then head to Inis Mór and en­joy a stay at this won­der­ful lit­tle glamp­ing site di­rectly by the sea. The spe­cially- de­signed Clochán na Car­raige pods are dec­o­rated in lovely shades of blue to re­ally in­voke that sea­side feel­ing. And they’re fully heated too, so you know you’ll al­ways have a warm place to re­treat to af­ter a day spent ex­plor­ing the isl and. Do bring rain gear t oo. Prices ¤ 50-¤ 100 per night for two peo­ple. ire­landglamp­ing. ie

Tra­di­tional te­pees

Tepee Val­ley camp­site has a Wan­derly Wagon- es­que car­a­van called Rosie Lee and tra­di­tional na­tive Amer­i­can te­pees. You can also choose from yurts, a log cabin or a ge­o­desic dome out­side the small town of Mar­kethill, in Co Ar­magh. The camp­site has great views over the coun­try­side to the Cusher River and across to Slieve Gul­lion. Here you will ex­pe­ri­ence peace and quiet with the com­forts of home. Nightly rates £ 140-£ 160/¤ 175-¤ 200 for four. te­pee­val­l­ey­camp­site. co. uk

River Val­ley fun

At River Val­ley Park in Round­wood, Co Wick­low you can hire one or two tree houses. Built in beau­ti­ful sur­round­ings, the houses can take two adults and up to four chil­dren. They cost ¤ 150 per night and you need to bring your own bed­ding and sleep­ing bags with you. There’s lots for the kids to do here, in­clud­ing a pet­ting zoo, crazy golf, pool ta­bles and re­mote con­trol cars. river­val­ley­park. ie

The lux­ury Hide­away at Dromquinna Manor just out­side Ken­mare, Co Kerry is as close to sleep­ing in­doors as you can get in a tent

Clock­wise from main: Finn Lough domes in Fer­managh; Ro­man­tic glamp­ing at Kil­lar­ney Glamp­ing; Pow­er­scourt glamp­ing site

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