Ask Joan: Your travel dilemmas solved

Country house comfort in Ireland, honeymooning in January, and can we combine Istanbul with a beach holiday in April

 Istanbul in April, with a beach holiday add-on

Istanbul in April, with a beach holiday add-on


We are sixtysomethings of varying degrees of sprightliness, and want to find a comfortable holiday home in Ireland for a week in June. We’re looking for a house with at least four bedrooms and preferably four bathrooms. However, there has to be one disabled access ground floor en-suite for the least perky of us.

No sites we’ve found seem to offer any help in respect to this. In the last resort, I know, we could stay in a hotel, but want to avoid this because of the greater expense and lack of flexibility. EH, Dublin.
One of the spin-offs of the Celtic tiger years was the vast improvement in holiday homes to rent around the country. There are plenty of lovely, modern, high-quality homes to rent, but it can be a little difficult to find them.

I have a few suggestions for you. These are all four bedrooms houses with four bathrooms, with at least one en-suite bedroom downstairs. Tí Aine is outside Cornamona, Co Galway, and you have the playground of Lough Corrib and Connemara on the doorstep, the local pub is a short stroll away and it costs from €450 for a week in June,; 087-2228602.

With views over Lough Eske on the outskirts of Donegal town, Brachan Brae is a modern house on a hillside. It is between both Harvey’s Point Hotel and the Solis Lough Eske Castle, both lovely places for eating out. It is ideal for exploring south Donegal, and from €725 per week,; 087-7941234.

In the south-west, Fuchsia Lodge near Waterville overlooking the Skelligs is the height of luxury with beautiful furniture and fittings, including a sauna. It is a great location for discovering the stunning south Kerry area. Prices are from €1,150 in June,; 087-6600042.

Rosslare Strand is a popular place for holidays and this house has the advantage of being only five minutes from Kelly’s Hotel, the perfect place for afternoon tea. Bearlough House has everything you would expect from a five-star holiday home with free wifi and Sky TV and costs from €1,250 in June.

My partner and I are considering taking a trip to Istanbul in April but would like to combine a number of days in the city with perhaps four or five days at a beach resort nearby. Can you recommend some resorts that would not involve too much travel from Istanbul? Also, any advice on where to stay when in Istanbul? GB , Dublin.
Istanbul is so easy to get to from Ireland and there are a number of companies that do packages to the city, such as and Expect to pay about €550pps including four-star hotel accommodation. The added bonus from the Travel Department is two guided tours.

If you book the flights and hotel separately you would be looking at paying about €360 each for flights and between €90 and €170 per night for a decent four-star hotel in Taksim Square or Beyoglu areas.

April is probably a bit too early for seaside resorts in Turkey, the temperatures will be about 15 or 16 degrees and can go as high as 20 degrees. Not really very hot yet. If you did want to travel to the seaside, the resort area of Izmir on the Mediterranean coast would be ideal. Train travel is cheap in Turkey and you can take a ferry and train from Istanbul for about €20 – it takes about six hours. See for details of how to book train travel in Turkey, and for ferry details.

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