Dreaming of a Christmas luxury let? Here are five fantasy homes to rent
A majestic castle, a cosy cottage by the sea, an ultra-modern mansion and more
Tinakilly Lodge, Co Wicklow: this stunning property has movie star good looks more typically found in the Hollywood Hills than just outside Wicklow Town. Available from €5,900 a week
Capture a castle
Lisheen Castle near Thurles, in Co Tipperary, comes straight from central casting, with all the towers, turrets and crenellations you need to star in your own period drama. Built in the 1800s, it was razed in the Civil War and restored by the Everard family, on whose lush Tipperary farm it sits.
Guests often opt for the full “Downton” experience, says owner Zane Everard, which means dressing for a dinner and plumping for a fully catered stay. That way you can ignore both of the castle’s two kitchens, helpful for ensuring food stays piping hot on its travels.
Forget draughty old piles however, this one is fully centrally heated and has wifi too, should you be nuts enough to keep in touch with the real world while stepping so determinedly – and luxuriously – back in time. Think chandeliers, frescoes, four poster beds and open fires big enough to roast unwanted Christmas visitors in. The castle sleeps 19 so if you can fill it with friends and family, that works out just €328 each. Too soon? Self gift and keep it all to yourself for €6,240 a week.
Blow off the Christmas cobwebs in Clare with a stay in Inchiquin House, an elegant Georgian house beautifully restored by the Irish Landmark Trust. Wander the Burren, visit the Cliffs of Moher and have a cup of tea at Fr Ted’s parochial house nearby and then retire home to an antique-filled farmhouse surrounded by green outside Corofin.
The house sleeps 10 so is perfect for two families, with a large kitchen at its centre with a huge table and doors to an outside terrace for al fresco dining – westerly weather permitting. Warm scones fresh from the Aga set the tone on arrival and if you don’t feel like cooking for the rest of the stay, there’s a local chef on hand. Bedrooms are large but farmhouse cosy and the entire area so quiet that the only sound by day is the mooing of cows and by night, the crackling of open fires. A week’s stay costs from €2,900.
A wow property in the Garden County simply has to have lovely gardens, and Tinakilly Lodge does, but it’s also got the kind of movie star good looks more typically found in the Hollywood Hills than just outside Wicklow Town.
Tucked away in total seclusion and shielded from the hoi polloi by electric gates, this ranch-style property stretches to 557sq m (6,000sq ft), with seven bedrooms and six bathrooms and under-floor heating to take the chill out of its seaside air.
Outside are ample and fully furnished terraces with a barbecue, while the reception rooms inside are spacious and dramatically furnished with supersized sofas, art works and tapestries. There’s a cavernous white kitchen and a capacious dining table – both of which are needed as the house sleeps a whopping 26 people. And then there’s the bling – enclosed outdoor hot tub, private bar and state of the art cinema.
Available from €5,900 a week, more if you’d like a fully catered option, or you can nip into Tinakilly House Hotel, the country house hotel next door and have its chef rustle up something lovely for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Sumptuous by the sea
What could make for a quainter bolt hole than a thatched country cottage? A large, thatched cottage right on the sea in Connemara. Tir Na nOg ticks all the best boxes and more, being beautifully finished inside with a golden sandy beach at the back door.
Furnished in maritime blue and white, with tweedy throws for snuggling up in front of the fire with, the interiors are a treat. But the big picture windows are the star of the show here, looking out on the wild Atlantic outside. With timber beams and traditional plank doors, antiques and pillowed sofas, it has everything a weary soul could wish for – and a sauna too.
Tir na nOg sleeps nine, with four bathrooms, a spacious sitting room with a piano and an open-plan kitchen/dining area. Upstairs there’s a well stocked library and comfy rocking chairs in which to nod off while pretending to read. The cottage is surrounded by wooden decking and sits on three acres, including private access to the beach for your morning dip. Yours from €4,750 a week; €5,750 in summer.
If the sleek lines and floor to ceiling glazing of modernist architecture is more your thing, Moonstone in Bushypark, Galway, might be just the ticket. Like something straight off TV’s Grand Designs, it has gleaming white walls and polished black floors, a garden roof terrace overlooking Lough Corrib in one direction and Galway city in the other.
All the required mod cons are here, and then some, including underfloor heating, remote control mood lighting, high-speed internet and Miele appliances. It also has a private gym, sauna and large jacuzzi, plus wraparound tanning sunbed if you arrive feeling not just weary but pasty too.
Outside you’ll find heaters to ensure you can stay toasty whatever the weather and the city itself is just a five-minute drive away. Moonstone has one very swish bedroom and two bathrooms, making it not just a great getaway for two but the perfect pad for one. Available from €700 a night.
How about a little White Star line luxury in an Edwardian mansion near Rossaveal in Connemara? Costellow Lodge was originally designed by Edwin Lutjens for Joseph Ismay, the chairman of the famous cruise line company. White Star was, of course, the owner of the Titanic, and this is the spot Ismay chose as his retreat following that disaster.
The house is a treat both inside and out, with 4.5 hectares (just over 11 acres) of stunning landscaped gardens designed by Gertrude Jekyll with flora specially chosen to complement the coastline’s natural beauty – the perfect balm for any addled soul. The eight-bedroom, eight-bathroom house, which sleeps 16, has bay windows and balconies throughout to make the most of the panoramic views out to Galway Bay and the Twelve Pins mountains.
The supersized property spans 929sq m (10,000sq ft) with large, well-appointed reception rooms as well as a sunroom and games room. Available from ¤4,900 a week.